Top 5: Foods Best Found in Houston

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kshilcutt
Fung's Kitchen.
Travel & Leisure recently named Houston as America's Best Burger City. But as many Houstonians would tell the nation, Houston is known for much more than just burgers. It's a melting pot of culture and cuisine, and thus offers awesome dishes beyond the typical burger, steak and barbecue. Here are the Top 5 foods best found in Houston.

5. Dim sum

With Houston holding two Chinatowns--the original in eastern downtown and the current on the southwest side--it is not a surprise that this city is home to some of the best Chinese food in the nation. And one of the best ways to sample Chinese (Cantonese, to be specific) food is through dim sum, ordering numerous small dishes from food carts that roam the restaurant aisles. Because I love to sample a variety and because my palate gets bored easily, dim sum is my preferred method of dining --I can taste eight different dishes and not feel overstuffed at the end of my meal.

Some of my favorite dim sum places are Fung's Kitchen or Golden Palace, both located on the outskirts of the "new" Chinatown in southwest Houston. Dim sum is typically served from morning until mid-afternoon, but if you're hankering for dim sum outside of those hours, venture to Dim Sum King (located in the heart of "new" Chinatown), where you check your desired dishes on a clipboard and send your order off to the kitchen. There are no authentic food carts here, but that is the small price you pay to have dim sum for dinner.

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Wenno
Breakfast Klub chicken and waffles.
4. Chicken 'n waffles

Being part of the Deep South where everything can be fried and eaten at even nine o'clock in the morning, I couldn't exclude the sweet and savory combination of fried chicken and syrupy waffles. While many of my friends from elsewhere shudder at the thought of such an odd pair, I tell them it's like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on steroids; that is, you get the best of both salty and sweet in one bite bursting with awesome goodness.

If you're looking for the authentic, greasy, no frills chicken 'n waffles, go to The Breakfast Klub where you'll find true Southern hospitality an accompaniment to your chicken 'n waffles. Or if you'd like a creative, more gourmet version, order the chicken 'n waffles at Zelko Bistro, where the tender chicken breasts come battered in Cap'n Crunch cereal--nothing like that to bring you back to childhood.

Location Info

Fung's Kitchen

7320 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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60 comments
contentryder
contentryder

Pho Dien, the best all the way w/ steak, pho

ddt
ddt

New Orleans is not "Cajun." 

Annie Mitchell
Annie Mitchell

Excellent article, Christine. I enjoyed every word. Thank you for your recommendations.

Daniel Kim
Daniel Kim

Give me a break.  Your top 5 list is crap. 

SirRon
SirRon

The title of the article is "Top 5: Foods Best Found in Houston."

Foods BEST FOUND in Houston. What does the title mean? Maybe we are reading it wrong.

I don't read that as "Top 5 Foods I Like to Eat in Houston* (*That aren't a few of the obvious ones that you guys are thinking of because THAT would be a really crappy Top 5 and we don't like to do that at EOW but it is not like you guys are even capable of understanding that I'm just one person with my own opinions and by the way management is totally OK with this plus if you are so smart then how come my stuff is up here and your trolling ass is down there)

When I read the assertion that Gulf Seafood is best found in Houston, I almost went Fatty Fat Bastard on a chili post.

TLee
TLee

Seriously, all you people need to calm down. It's just food and this is her opinion and she has every right to post whatever she thinks the top 5 foods are in Houston (besides the obvious like TEX MEX and BBQ). I'm sorry, but in response to the dim sum in SF's Chinatown - it was a BIG disappointment for me.  In general, their Chinatown isn't that great.  My sister lives in SF and she agrees that Houston's Chinatown outshines it by far. 

And Bruce R...your taste buds must be jacked up if you think the Pho in Houston tastes like everywhere else. 

Good job Christine on getting everyone riled up!! =)

Ali
Ali

People, people. One person's top 5 is another person's bottom 5. This is her opinion. It's ok to have those. You can also express yours without being condescending assholes. 

Christine, my only criticism is with your New Orleans = Cajun. It doesn't. New Orleans is creole and very different than Cajun. Cajun is the Acadiana area - Lafayette and the South Central/West area of Louisiana. It's a different culture, different ethnic lineage and different style of cooking. Quite frankly, no one does great Cajun here. You really need to go to Louisiana for it.

JJ Monkey
JJ Monkey

Sigh. Always with the nastiness. This Internet stuff has real negatives to go with the positives. Christine, I admire your good naturedness! Thanks for a couple good tips. I love top 5 lists, and I don't expect them to be MY top 5 list or to include an exhaustive review of all possibilities -- that would be the 1000 things to eat in Houston before you die list.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Yawn.....*another* list of bahn mi, pho, crawfish, dim sum.....Puh-lease, how is the different than any other Houston top five list?  

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

Mag & salynch & others who miss Tex-Mex: Your thoughts on Tex-Mex are duly noted.  It actually came down to Tex-Mex or Gulf Coast shellfish for slot #2, but I decided to go with something a little less obvious.  Plus a lot of the Tex-Mex I've had have been at better known establishments, and here, I was trying to give a nod to lesser known businesses or non-chains.  I would appreciate, though, to know where you go for the best Tex-Mex.  I'll be sure to give them a try.  Maybe this should've been a Top 10 post...

Matthew
Matthew

Wow, 4 pages for 5 items? You guys must e pretty hard up for page views...

Greg Burland
Greg Burland

Seems kind of petty to go out of your way to trash Les Givrals Kahve, especially when every sandwich shop you name is near or outside the beltway. Les Givrals Kahve makes great Banh Mi & Bun (never tried the Pho).

SirRon
SirRon

Almost every single item on this list can be better found in a city not named Houston. We can enjoy the great Houston food options without having to eat our words, one bizarre Top 5 at a time, can't we?

LW
LW

Do you mean, best compared to the rest of the country (as in best dim sum in the US, because then that would be clearly wrong) or best food out of the rest of the food in Houston (a more acceptable list then, but then one questions why Tex Mex is missing)? 

Eric Henao
Eric Henao

Thinking about this list as something outside of the stereo type, i'm glad you didn't include tex-mex or bbq or burgers. Those are the stereotype of what houston maybe known for. It's for these 5 that you listed, which are like 'duh' to me, but are revelations to others who don't live in houston or who don't follow the foodie circles. Nice article and thanks for the links.

JJ
JJ

And a good top 5 list would be?

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I almost went Fatty Fat Bastard on a chili post.

While I really think that the comments on this post have gotten incredibly mean-spirited and out of hand, this made me laugh so hard I snorted.

Wangster
Wangster

Too much drama. This article just makes me hungry, hungry, hungry. Food = love, not anger. Can't we all just get along and eat more good food? I agree with all the places - super-yummy and cheap w/o the fluff. Gotta love Houston.

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

That's interesting that you pointed out the difference because I was recently trying to figure that out.  While I understand that Creole cooking is more French and Spanish influenced and Cajun is more the descendents of Acadian refugees, I didn't know that mainly Creole existed in New Orleans.  I thought the two were usually served together in the same places, i.e. gumbo, etouffee, etc.  I have no doubt that Louisiana has better Cajun and Creole cooking, but I do think Houston has some great seafood, which was supposed to be more of the focus for #2 rather than the cuisine.  Oops.  But thanks for the note.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Ali, when you call someone a condescending asshole then you're the one being a condescending asshole.  So I am calling you a condescending asshole.  Since I'm calling you that, by the transitive property, I'm now a condescending asshole.  I wear many hats.

And by pointing out ChristineHa's Cajun/creole gaffe, you have humiliated her and made her look foolish.  Condescending assholes do things like that.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

If three of the 5 are going to be Asian dishes, and one of the others is chicken & waffles - which is done all over the country for much much longer, then yes, you should definitely make it a top ten.  I wonder if somewhere in Minneapolis a writer just penned how awesome their Tex Mex is these days...

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

I could've trashed it more, but I didn't.  I was just pointing out that it's not to be mistaken by the tastier Givral since their names are very similar, and I've done that before, thinking the original Givral opened up a spot on Washington.  I've had a friend who said their food has gotten better, so I'd be willing to give it a second try.  For good sandwiches inside the Loop, I'd go for Cali or Thien An.

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

I meant the former, and yes, I did grapple with the dim sum portion of this list.  I discussed it with a friend of mine who is Chinese and has lived in New York, and while she said dim sum in New York is pretty good, it's still pretty darn good here, too.  The only other place I've had better dim sum at is Vancouver, and I didn't count that because, you know, they're Canadian and all.  So that's why dim sum ended up as #5.

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

Thanks for your comment.  And yes, I was trying to think of atypical foods (as exactly stated).  :)

Bruce R
Bruce R

The pho in Houston tastes pretty much the same as the pho anywhere else.  I wouldn't take an out of town guest out for pho (or banh mi) in Houston unless they live in a small town and aren't familiar with it.

It's a stereotype that Houston loves Mexican and Tex-Mex? And BBQ?  And hamburgers?

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!

Ali
Ali

A lot of it is just different versions of the same dish. Creole gumbo, for instance, tends to be thicker, made with a darker roux with chunks of vegetables in it. Sometimes tomatoes are used as well for the gravy. Cajun gumbo is a thinner soup, much lighter in color and really lets the meat be the star with only finely chopped onions and bell peppers. You will never, ever find a tomato in a Cajun gumbo.

Same thing with etouffee. Creole versions tend to be richer, thicker gravies made with a roux where the Cajun version depends more on butter, onions and the fat of the crawfish.

Also, anything "blackened" is usually creole. I've never in my life eaten something blackened, been offered it at any of my friends or families homes, or seen it on a menu in Breaux Bridge or Lafayette. 

Jambalaya is creole. I've eaten it and seen it served all over Louisiana, but it uses tomatoes as a gravy-base and that's more typical in creole cooking. It's also not a typical dish I ever saw served at family/friends dinners.

The only tomato-based dish I know is typically Cajun is a fish coubion. It's a fish and tomato stew. 

Houston definately has great seafood. I've just never really found outstanding Cajun. I'm sure it's me being a snob because it's a "my people" kind of thing, but I'd rather just cook it myself than eat it out. I reserve that for pretty much everything else. And, as pointed out below, I wasn't trying to come off as a condescending asshole. Apologies if I did.

Ali
Ali

It's a common misconception that creole and cajun are the same thing. I really wasn't trying be a superbitch about it. If I wanted that, I'd gone on some stupid hell-bent rant like others have below. I'm also extra-aware of it because I happen to be Cajun.

But hey, I'll wear the condescending asshole hat. I'm not too proud.

Jaredrf
Jaredrf

Bruce,You are by far the biggest asshole on here and that seems to be your only hat. When a person points out that someone is being condescending, it does not make that person condescending. Get over yourself, trolling this blog comments page and riding everyone's ass is weak and childish. I've been all over the world and Houston is home to some of the best food anywhere. The writer here is simply highlighting "some" of the popular dishes, everyone's top 5 will be different genius. You and everyone else are entitled to an opinion, but instead of having one, you just try to criticize everyone....and your not even smart or funny about it, your just annoying.

ShitThowingMonkey
ShitThowingMonkey

You're "pointing out" the difference in the two restaurants despite similar names includes a potshot...just an observation.

TQro
TQro

Christine, You don't really need recs for SF.  When you get to SF, head to Chinatown then proceed to walk, eat, repeat.  Literally.  The best Chinese food I've ever had, dim sum included, was in SF. 

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

Christine, this is a great list, but I also must respectfully disagree. 

If you meant the former (compared to the rest of the country) then San Francisco and the greater Los Angeles definitely have Houston topped for dim sum (and it's cheaper there too). New York is not known for their dim sum even though it's a melting pot. San Francisco and LA both have huge Chinese communities; their dim sum is really unparalleled.

Same thing with banh mi and pho. The best banh mi and pho are in Orange County in Little Saigon, home to the largest Vietnamese settlement in the US. So while both are very good and readily available here, it's not the best place to find them in the country.I find that tex-mex and barbecue, as well as hamburgers and steaks in Houston far outshine other cities. But then, that's just imho.

LW
LW

I would argue that San Francisco or Southern California would have better dim sum as well, but I do verily agree with you that banh mi is just better OTL (yay for Givral Hoang). 

Colormesilly
Colormesilly

I had pho in NYC and no, it didn't taste like in Houston. What's more, it hadn't even come with all the create-your-own fresh fixins mentioned that usually comes with pho in Houston. That pretty much ruined it for me from the start.

Kylejack
Kylejack

No it doesn't, and there's not many places other than Houston selling a quality banh mi for $3.

Doc
Doc

And rightfully so.

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

You being a condescending asshole was not my opinion, so no worries.  Didn't take it that way at all.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

I've never been a fan of creole, mainly because I don't like tomatoes.  As to Cajun?  Go to BB's immediately.  I've also heard of some new places that opened here right after Katrina, so we're more authentic these days than you think...

Bruce R
Bruce R

 Jaredrf, I am not a troll.  A troll generally posts off-topic comments in an effort to disrupt the discussion.  You will find that my posts are generally on-topic.  I am aware that everyone is entitled to their opinions, as am I.   Also, if you read carefully you will also find that I write both positive and negative comments.

I too have traveled extensively.  Houston does have some very good (and affordable) restaurants.  As I've said before, Houston tends to be overrated by those who live there and underrated by those that don't.

Minh T Truong
Minh T Truong

I agree that SF has far better dim sum than Houston...not to say that Houston's isnt good....but you can pretty much pick any restaurant in SF's china town and the dim sum would be outstanding...I also think that Vietnamese food is definitely better in LA in the sense that it is more similar to the flavors you would actually find in Vietnam...if you compare a bowl pf pho you get here in Houston to one in Little Saigon you'd defintiely taste a difference but not neccesarily think either is bad....I think beef is absolutely something Houston and Texas does best....but I enjoyed your list and top fives really our just one person's opinion and individual preference.

Kylejack
Kylejack

Houston is way behind in the barbecue wars and shouldn't really be listed in any barbecue destinations list.  Central Texas, however...

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

I appreciate your thoughts, Mai.  As I have family in southern Cali and friends in northern Cali, I have been to both places to eat pho and banh mi thit.  Unfortunately, the places they've all taken me too, I found not to be as good as the stuff I've had here.  As for dim sum, I've had it in SoCal but not the Bay area (as far as I can recall), so I could concede to SF having superior dim sum.  But alas, I do not live there and none of the people I know there have taken me to anything great, I'd have to stick with my list.  Many of my friends and family who have lived both here and in California agree that Houston has superior Asian food.  Like with so many things in life, it's all a matter of opinion.  Do you have suggestions for pho, banh mi, or dim sum in California?  I'll try them next time I visit.  Maybe the people I know over there don't have discerning taste buds like the people here...?

Bruce R
Bruce R

I've had pho in several major cities and find it all to be pretty similar, including the sprouts, jalapenos, etc., on the side.  Same for imperial rolls.  There's nothing special about the pho in Houston.  My local pho guy used to own a place in California and moved here.  Just kept doing what he was doing all along.

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