The Five Best Hidden Restaurant Gems in Chinatown in Houston
4. Golden Dim Sum
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg One of my favorite dishes at Golden Dim Sum isn't even dim sum...it's dessert!
Speaking of dim sum, my favorite spot for dim sum (and a whole host of other Chinese delicacies) is Golden Dim Sum. The chef used to be at Golden Palace, but when he moved to Golden Dim Sum, so did his recipes and many of his customers. This is the place where I got the sesame soft balls on my list of 100 favorite dishes, and it's where I've tried everything from chicken feet to salt and pepper chicken wings which, like many chicken wings in Chinatown, have clearly visible MSG crystals dotting the crisp browned skin. No, it's not the best thing for you, but it's certainly authentic. On top of that, the atmosphere--think gaudy Chinese wedding with a McDonald's color scheme--is not to be missed.
3. Saigon Pagolac
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg Saigon Pagolac is located in the back part of a mall.
When GQ food and wine writer Alan Richman came to Houston, this is where Underbelly chef Chris Shepherd took him for an incredible meal. So I guess it's not exactly unknown, but it is more of a Houston chef hangout than an obvious choice for a Chinatown feast for the rest of us. The Vietnamese restaurant celebrated its 25th birthday on April 10, and it's easy to see how it's been in business so long in such a fickle industry. The specialty of the house is beef cooked seven ways: beef fondue (thin slices of beef cooked in a vinegar broth), beef sausage, ground beef wrapped in a Hawaiian leaf and grilled, steamed beef meatballs, sliced beef grilled over charcoal, beef tenderloin salad and beef noodle soup. All seven courses costs just $15.95 per person, and it's fit for a king. Or a nationally recognized visiting food writer.
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10600 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX