Houston is home to the largest Asian population in the state of Texas, and it’s a diverse one at that: the largest share of Asian Houstonians hail from Vietnam, followed by those from India, China and the Philippines, as well as a significant number from Pakistan and Korea. This creates an Asian restaurant mix that’s different from what you’ll find in other cities – for one thing, you’ll find that places serving Chinese or Korean food often translate their menus into Vietnamese.
Houston’s unofficial “Chinatown”, is clustered around Bellaire Boulevard. As in other U.S. cities, like, say Honolulu, the term “Chinatown” is something of a misnomer, as the metropolitan area is actually not dominated by Chinese Americans -- it's more of a cross-section of Houston’s aforementioned Asian diversity. But unlike other cities, where “Chinatowns” are an urban phenomenon, Bellaire is a Houston suburb, which means that its restaurants are in strip malls. So while you won’t find dramatic green-tiled pagoda-topped gates, you will find intensely delicious food.
Check out Saigon Pagolac (9600 Bellaire Blvd Ste 119), a restaurant that more than makes up for its lack of ambience with its hard-to-stop eating Vietnamese food, especially masterful presentation of beef seven ways and shrimp on sugar cane. For Chinese food, hit Fufu Café (9889 Bellaire Blvd) for exquisite xiao long bao dumplings, also known as soup dumplings, and spicy ma po tofu, pictured here.