The Five Best Hidden Restaurant Gems in Chinatown in Houston

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Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Can you guess where this little spot is? Hint: It's No. 5 on the list!
I spend a lot of time in Chinatown. Between shopping for squid fryers at Japanese import store Fit, getting foot reflexology at Lucky Feet and eating my way through hundreds of restaurants, I could pretty much never leave if I didn't have to, you know, go to work and feed my cat and whatnot.

Whilst roaming Bellaire Boulevard, I'm constantly surprised to see a new hole-in-the-wall restaurant I've never before noticed, the meaning behind its Chinese characters a complete mystery to me. There is so much to see and do and so many places to eat that it would take years to visit them all.

Fortunately, I know people who've been hitting up these small joints in Chinatown long before I moved here last July. I've managed to find several places on my own, and with the help of my intrepid foodie friends, we've compiled quite the list of places not-to-be missed.

Here's where you should be eating in Chinatown that you probably aren't.

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Photo by Greenway Barista
The barbecue window at Long Sing Supermarket will make you drool.
Honorable Mention: Long Sing Supermarket
OK, so Long Sing Market isn't in Chinatown as we know it today. It's just east of Downtown next to the BBVA Compass Stadium in the area that used to be Chinatown before mass waves of immigrants moved to the suburbs out west of the Loop in the 1980s and '90s. But because I didn't specify which Chinatown I'd be discussing in the intro to this article, I'm gonna tack Long Sing Supermarket onto the list. The Chinese barbecue here is some of the best in town, and you know it's fresh because you can see the meat hanging on the other side of a glass window. Glistening red ducks and chickens are chopped up and served atop a bed of rice with stir fried broccoli and onions for only $5.50 at lunch time. The décor leaves a little to be desired (I mean, it's a supermarket), but the deals are not to be missed.

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Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Dim sum to-go inside of Welcome Food Center.
5. Welcome Food Center
Like Long Sing, Welcome Food Center is a grocery store with a few different deli areas. If Long Sing has the best Chinese barbecue in Old Chinatown, Welcome Food Center has some of the best in "new" Chinatown. In addition to duck and chicken, the barbecue deli inside Welcome Food Center serves barbecued pork that's carved off a large hanging shoulder, belly and loin as you order it. On the other side of the supermarket is a dim-sum-to-go counter. All the dim sum is made by the little old man in the back (you can see him in the photo above), and for pre-packaged dim sum, it's pretty darn good. That fella clearly knows what he's doing.

This story continues on the next page.

Location Info

Golden Dim Sum Restaurant

10600 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Saigon Pagolac

9600 Bellaire, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Lucky Pot

9888 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Long Sing Supermarket

2017 Walker St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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33 comments
AJGutz
AJGutz

Saigon pagolac was a terrible food experience, ordered the beef seven ways. Over cooked and underseasoned mystery meat. Worst lunch ever! Don't waste your time or money!

Leoo
Leoo

So I'm assuming you've tried EVERY marketplace that sells roast pork/roast duck from behind a glass window? Sinh Sinh, HK Food Street, Dynasty Supermarket, etc.


And my personal opinion, there are too many good, hole-in-the-wall/hidden spots in chinatown to have a top five lol.

James Hoang
James Hoang

Best Chinese my personal fave is golden cafe in heights on 19th. Best Thai go to Tony Thai's.

James Hoang
James Hoang

Best noodles in loop go to thien an or simply pho. Must try the bun bo hue, pho, mi wonton.

James Hoang
James Hoang

Outside loop; sinh sinh, Giao bites, vibe lounge, crawfish & noodle, harbor seafood/ hai cang, vinh hoa, com tam kieu giang. All authentic and very good

James Hoang
James Hoang

Casual viet restaurants in loop I enjoy; thien an, simply pho, Kim son

Claudio Lerma
Claudio Lerma

Ura Nahar, Michelle Lafuente. Korina Mitchell we have to try all of them!

Ping Patpailin
Ping Patpailin

Brent Featherston Absolutely!!!! Those BBQ look so good.

Donnol Hem
Donnol Hem

They're only hidden gems to anyone not Asian

Kevin Lacobie
Kevin Lacobie

Dumpling King, next to Arirang? Owned by the same folks, they merged their operations into Arirang, then a nephew took over.

Andrew Hernandez
Andrew Hernandez

Whatever happened to dumpling king on belaire? Used to love that place.

apricot
apricot

If any of you think that PETA is a bunch of mindless do-gooders, I suggest you stroll through some of the Asian meat markets and butcher shops there in Chinatown. Not that they are doing anything wrong (actually, more right than most anglos by consuming all parts of the creature) but it really is a wake-up call to carnivores, of which I'm one, just not with eyes wide shut.

del.martinis
del.martinis topcommenter

I'm so Pinteresting this, thanks!

Irene Ali
Irene Ali

Friday night china town date night Shazad Ali!

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Aww don't tell people about my hidden gem Long Sing; but since the duck is out of the bag might as well mention they sell whole ducks, ready to grill for $13.. You can't beat that, but there is a 50 cent credit card charge. 

Douglas Marquez
Douglas Marquez

Anyone know where is the best place to buy some marinated Korean short ribs? I'm going camping this Friday and I feel like buying some to grill :)

Claudio Lerma
Claudio Lerma

Ura Nahar, Michelle Lafuente, Korina Mitchell

Ernest Chou
Ernest Chou

I would also suggest the following: Village Cafe, One Dragon, Lucky Dragon, Yantze, Phat Ky, Yellow River, E Cafe, Guanddong and Yuen Ten.

texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

@apricot  PETA is still a bunch of idiots, no matter how you slice it....

largemarge
largemarge

@texmex01 @apricot  

but a visit to a local slaughterhouse would be eye-opening!

there's a chicken processing plant downtown. and a place in alief that sells goats, chickens, sheep etc. It's all rather frightful stuff what we eat unthinkingly

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