When I started writing about restaurants in Houston that began with the inaugural edition of Houston Dining on the Cheap in 2002, with an easily overlooked exception or two, the only restaurants that were serving dishes beyond the familiar Chinese-American staples in all their gloppiness were in and around Bellaire Boulevard. Now the list of actually Chinese Chinese restaurants inside the Loop includes:
Bao Shi Yi (2) – northern Chinese dumplings and bao
Dumpling Haus – pan-Chinese dumplings
Hu’s Cooking – Sichuan and some Taiwanese
Mala Sichuan – Sichuan
Mama’s Kitchen – Sichuan and some Taiwanese
One Dim Sum – Cantonese
Pepper Twins (2) – Sichuan
Spicy Girl – Sichuan
Siu Lap City – Cantonese barbecue
Trendy Dumpling – Sichuan
Wanna Bao – Shanghai and Sichuan
I quite enjoy Pepper Twins, Wanna Bao, Mala Sichuan and Cooking Girl where I picked up a really enjoyable lunch today. The Bao Shi Yi on Kirby has a drive-thru, so it draws some occasional attention, too. Its dumplings are usually tasty as is the not-sure-it’s-so-authentic deep-fried Popcorn Chicken.
The number of contemporary Chinese restaurants has grown with growth of immigration and migration from China. Along with those working the Medical Center, the number of Chinese in Houston has grown significantly, and it’s often professionals at companies inside the Loop, like my own. It can pay to help feed them. That’s been a boon to Houston diners, regardless of origin, with more good restaurants, an increased diversity in cuisines, and a few really fine values, too.
From Pepper Twins