Best Asian Strip Mall (2005)

Diho Square

One of the oldest Asian-oriented strip malls in Houston, Diho Square may not lure you with goldfish or pagodas, but for everything from hot-pot beef to the hottest Pacific Rim fashions, it's still the best. The uber-cute Japanese shop girls in Harajuku Loft sell clothes that look Japanese (but they're made in China and cost, like, $4 for a tank top). Next door, Tapioca House blows the lid off of bubble tea with drinks such as the Plum Snowbubble and Green Apple Jelly Juice. There's a vegetarian restaurant with gluten duck kidney, if that's your thing, and also herbalists who can point you to the best Korean ginseng and Chinese rose petal tea. Shanghai Restaurant serves up plates of meat that you boil yourself in a delicious broth spiked with peppers and star anise. Bodard's Bistro is a perpetually packed pho dive, and Welcome, the supermarket, can sate the most demanding Asian chefs. But the most amazing thing about Diho is that Asian barbers, doctors, bakers, video clerks and travel agents all office here. It's a Chinatown unto itself.


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