Top 10 Restaurants in Chinatown
3. Banana Leaf
Photo by Troy Fields Wok-fired food at Banana Leaf.
Regardless of which location you choose -- the first, smaller one where there's always an hour wait or the new location...where there's still usually a wait -- Banana Leaf is the perfect place to experience Malaysian food for the first time. The friendly service and exciting dishes, such as the sweetly spicy sambal shrimp, chow fun, soft-shell crab and the hand-tossed roti canai, make the restaurant a destination despite its casual atmosphere and low prices. Take advantage of its generous BYOB policy and bring a bottle of Riesling to supplement the savory pan-Asian cuisine.
2. House of Bowls
Photo by Troy Fields Beef chow fun at House of Bowls.
House of Bowls offers perhaps Houston's most authentic Hong Kong-style food experience in a festive, colorful atmosphere. Bring a group and prepare to eat a lot of food (without spending a lot of money). Can't-miss dishes include the pitch-perfect beef chow fun dry-style with fresh noodles and the curried shrimp fried rice. But for something different, indulge in a plate of crunchy, deep-fried chicken wings or House of Bowl's crowning glory: Hong Kong-style French toast stuffed with peanut butter and topped with sweetened condensed milk.
1. Mala Sichuan
Photo by Troy Fields An all-Sichuan team of chefs ensures the food at Mala is extra spicy.
Mala Sichuan represents a new direction for Chinatown, as one of the new "second generation" restaurants that focuses on serving authentic food (Sichuanese cuisine in this case) but with more Western elements like snappy service and an easy-to-decipher menu. Owner Cori Xiong's all-Sichuan team of chefs also ensures that nearly every dish to come out of the kitchen is a winner, from the ginger sauce-braised, softball-size pork meatballs and tea-smoked duck to more exotic foods like the red chile oil-laced Couple's Lung Dish (made mostly with beef tendons, not lungs) or ma po tofu and the ultra-spicy live tilapia dishes that are the restaurant's most popular with Chinese patrons.
Check out our other Top 10 neighborhood lists:
Top 10 in Montrose
Top 10 in the Heights
Top 10 in Rice Village
Top 10 on Washington Avenue
Top 10 in the East End
Top 10 in the Galleria
Top 10 in Midtown
Top 10 in Memorial
Top 10 in Upper Kirby
Top 10 in Greenway Plaza
Top 10 in The Woodlands
Top 10 in Spring Branch
Top 10 in Little India
Top 10 in Far Northwest Houston
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9889 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX