It's Sunday morning, and you're craving dumplings. Maybe you want the steamed kind like dim sum har gow. Maybe slurp-licious soup dumplings are more your cup of tea. Or perhaps the pan-fried kind get your taste-buds all twisted in a tizzy. If you love dumplings, this guide's for you.
Benjys in the village is my go-to happy hour spot. Excellent drinks and great food specials for just $6. Get the blood orange margarita, the pork dumplings over tangy cabbage slaw, a gourmet truffle and pine nut pizza. Snag a seat on the outside deck before the sun goes down with a friend or girlfriend, and go to town.
I'm surprised at the horrible reviews preceding mine because in my experience Fung's Kitchen is the one Chinese restaurant I can rely on for great food all the time. The Peking duck is second to none, and the orange ribs are finger licking good. Fung's is by far my favorite dim sum place in Houston. Always packed to the hilt on weekends with a wait, they have some of the best variety of dishes on their dim sum menu as well as the best tasting. Most restaurants have their staple steamed dumplings and fried items, but Fung's goes step further and has some unusual dishes flying that I don't see at other restaurants. Don't believe all the bad reviews, the food here really IS good.
I come to Ocean Palace on the weekend afternoon for dim sum. The very large room on the upstairs level, which doubles as a banquet hall for weddings at night, is spacious enough to accommodate large parties (think large Asian families) and small. The dim sum is pretty good but on the expensive side. The har gow (shrimp dumplings) are $4.95 and the chinese broccolli is also $4.95, a bit high in my opinion. But their staple Xiu Mai dumpling, my fave, is only $2.95 and they taste just like in Hong Kong.
San San Tofu prepares Vietnamese vegetarian like you could only get at a Buddhist temple. From tofu you get veggie chicken, fish, beef, and a wonderful variety of other "veggie" foods. They have a food to go counter where you can order a 3-course rice of noodle plate for about $5-6. They also have vegetarian dim-sum - steaming har gow, crispy egg rolls, turnip cakes and many other little temptations. Their vegetarian noodle soups taste so similar to the non-veggie version, you have to marvel at how they do it. My favorite, "Bun Rieu," is a tomato, tofu, and mushroom rice vermicelli noodle soup, costs about $6.
Arirang recently merged with next-door-neighbor Dumpling King, and is the best place in town to get pan-fried dumplings, 10 for $4.95. Their icy cold naeng-myun noodles are also a perfect foil for our humid weather. Cash only.
Arguably one of the most beautiful restaurants in the city, don't let the smallish mall facade deter you from stepping into a truly unique dining experience. Gigi Huang's family have been doing Chinese for years. Her orange beef lunch is legendary, and all-you-can-eat dumpling saturday and sunday afternoons (11am-2pm, $16pp) are a must-not-miss.
Love Chef Jett Hurapan's Asian and Thai-inspired global street food, which include items like his Indonesian Massaman short ribs, dim sum like edamame har gow, and his Thai-influenced dishes, like the whole fried tamarind fish. But go early: on the weekends, restaurant turns into a club/bar around 1030pm.
A fave of local chefs, the red oil wontons (not to be confused with red oil dumplings) are to die for. Other faves include arctic surf clams, mala beef jerky, garlic bacon, water boiled fish (spicy), the dan dan noodles or cold sesame noodles. Beware of things marked extra spicy. Byob. 5% off if u pay cash.
With just two small rows of tables, Fu Fu Cafe is that hole in the wall Chinese eatery you can visit as often as you like. It won't break the bank (dishes are extremely reasonable). There's an extensive menu (I haven't made a dent in the long list of food choices). Great for takeout or dine-in, Fu Fu Cafe does great soup dumplings & pan fried dumplings, they also have awesome pan fried noodles and a kickin' $4.99 lunch special. Chefs love this place. You'll find them noshing on grub there late nights after service.
The name of the game here are the soup dumplings. Get #1-2. Shanghai noodles are very good too. Friendly service.
This small hole in the wall offers a point-and-order pictorial menu that helps non-Chinese patrons order dim sum, all day long. Faves are the deep fried stuffed tofu, xiao long bao, har gow dumplings, xiu mai dumplings. With limited seating, prepare to wait during lunch.
This is my go-to place for soup dumplings, or xiao long bao, in Houston. Located in Galleria 2nd floor outside of Nordstrom, the dim sum is excellent, if a bit pricey. Xiu mai are delicious, crab fried rice very good. On Saturday nights, be on the lookout for fresh char siu pork and other daily specials like Macau pig.
This cheap-eats location is famous for its beef noodle and pan-fried dumplings, all for about $6. Food to-go items, like their pork and leek bao, are also very good. Cash only.