The Five Best Hidden Restaurant Gems in Chinatown in Houston

croakerfish.jpg
Photo by Robb Walsh
Fish in brown sauce at Lucky Pot.
2. Lucky Pot
Lucky Pot has only ten tables, and if the place is open, chances are every table is full. The noodle soups made Lucky Pot famous, but the small restaurant also serves great whole fish in spicy garlic sauce and ma po tofu (two similar dishes are available at another often-full restaurant in Chinatown with a little more press coverage, Mala Sichuan). Many of my friends swear by the Peking duck and wings at Lucky Pot, which are highlights of any meal there, but I remain loyal to the simple and hearty noodle soups, like the house special with bacon, mushrooms and dried tofu. For the best experience, bring a crowd and eat family style.

amgiao.jpg
Photo by Minh T. Truong
A delectable combo platter at Nam Giao.
1. Nam Giao
When I texted a friend earlier to ask him if he thought Nam Giao was fairly unknown, he replied simply "CRYSTAL DUMPLINGS." Another friend to whom I presented the same query also failed to answer my question. He responded, "If you eat there without me, I will not speak to you again." Nam Giao serves traditional Vietnamese food in a sophisticated space, which sets it apart from other dingier spots in town. The bánh nam, steamed flat rice dumplings wrapped in banana leaves, are addictively good, and the bánh bột lọc, boiled crystal dumplings with transparent wrappers hiding pink shrimp and crispy pork, are unusual but divine.

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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