Houston’s Chinatown, primarily located on Bellaire Boulevard bounded by the Westpark Tollway to the north and Beechnut to the south, is an extremely diverse community filled with a variety of interesting shops, restaurants and things to do. Though this neighborhood is best known as “Chinatown”, it is not only limited to Chinese influence. This place has a rich history and cultural impacts from across Asia, including but not limited to Vietnam, India, Pakistan, China, Korea, Malaysia, Japan and more. Here’s a look at some of the great ways you can spend a free day, or night, in this wonderful area.
Just within Dun Huang Plaza, there’s the popular restaurant Tiger Den as well as Banana Leaf that serves authentic Japanese and Malaysian cuisine in a small, family-friendly eatery. A go-to place my friends and I love is Hokkaido, a sushi restaurant you can enjoy at an affordable price. We also recently discovered Okome Don, a poké place that I never knew existed!
If you’re looking for more of a snack than a full meal, Chung Chun Rice Hotdog and Two Hands Seoul Fresh Corndogs provide some of the best Korean hotdogs out there — wonderful, Instagram-worthy corndogs that are way more than your typical hot dog stuck between a piece of sliced bread.
For desserts, if you’re craving something icy on a hot summer day, there’s Aqua S (originally from Australia) and Snowy Village that serve soft-serve ice cream or shaved ice that should satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re more of a pastry shop person, 85 Degrees or Six Ping sell great bread and cakes, and they are perfectly paired with a drink from the nearby Tom N Toms Coffee. Cafe 101 is also in the same plaza if you’re looking for a place with more of a trendy, party vibe instead of a family-friendly restaurant.
And of course, you cannot forget about boba milk tea. There are tons of options you can choose from in Chinatown, but some of my favorite spots to hit are Gong Cha, Kung Fu Tea, Share Tea and Yum Cha.
If you’re just as obsessed with Asian stationery as I am, you will love the following shops I’m about to introduce to you. The first one is Moshi Moshi, a small shop that sells everything from K-pop merch to stationery to accessories. They also have cute Japanese plushie brands such as Line Friends and BT21. If you enjoy cute decorations or cosmetics, there’s also Shibuya as well as Korean Blooming to get your fill with Japanese and Korean accessories.
If you’re looking to bring home something more delicious, aka grocery stores, you can hit up Super H-Mart where they have both Korean and Chinese specialties, so you can get the best of both worlds. If you’re a K-pop fan, they also have Eve Pink within the big supermarket, a small store to sell K-pop albums and merch.
What’s a better way to relieve stress than to sing your heart out at Yes KTV? Yes KTV is a karaoke bar with rooms that can fit up to 24 people that you can rent with your friends. Their system has over 10,000 songs in English as well as songs in Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Thai.
After you get tired of all the shopping and feasting you’ve done, go treat yourself to a reflexology massage. Places such as Oasis Massage & Salon, Lucky Feet and Soul Inn Reflexology will offer a full hour foot massage for only $20. It’s definitely a deal you don’t want to miss.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons