This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.
In Houston, you're not going to get much more authentic Hong Kong-style food than at House of Bowls, tucked away off the main Bellaire drag in Chinatown. Inside, the restaurant blazes with color and warmth, a steady array of dishes pumping out of the kitchen and Hong Kong pop stars like Aaron Kwok and Sammi Cheng playing on constant rotation on a big-screen TV.
I once called the French toast here "House of Bowls's crowning glory," and I still crave the dessert every time I so much as set foot in Chinatown. True to Hong Kong's gloriously messy nature of co-opting Western food into their own wonderous new dishes, the French toast here is indeed battered with egg and fried in a pan. But it's also stuffed with peanut butter and topped with sweetened condensed milk in place of syrup.
On the plate, it doesn't look like much. But cut into that eggy bread and watch the hot peanut butter ooze out from inside, mixing and swirling together with the thick, sugary milk and you'll begin to see the appeal. Both salty and sweet, it's a dessert that -- despite its milk topping -- isn't too sweet, but it's as rich and toothsome as the best piece of chocolate cake or tres leches in town.
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The list so far:
No. 100: Dumplings at Heights Asian Cafe No. 99: Mixta Pizza at Friends Pizzeria No. 98: Veggie tacos from Radical Eats No. 97: Bean pie from Conscious Cafe No. 96: Swiss chard crepes from Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 95: Eggs Mia Bella at Mia Bella No. 94: Mulligatawny soup at the Queen Vic No. 93: Helado de Lúcuma from Pollo Bravo No. 92: Black bean burger from Natachee's No. 91: Chupacabra pizza from ERA No. 90: Roast chicken from El Norteño No. 89: Eggs El Salvador from Brasil No. 88: Frank the Pretzel from Eatsie Boys No. 87: Caldo Tlalpeño from Tacos del Julio No. 86: English pea soup at Brasserie 19 No. 85: Falafel from Zabak's No. 84: Buttermilk-fried pork loin with fried eggs at Canopy No. 83: Grillades and grits from BB's Cajun Cafe No. 82: Haemul dolsot from Seoul House No. 81: Pandan waffles at Parisian Bakery III No. 80: Pita bread and hummus at Phoenicia No. 79: Goat pepper soup at Peppersoup Cafe No. 78: Melon and Texas feta salad from Beaver's No. 77: Hot Italian beef from BB's Beef & Hot Dog No. 76: Bacon-avocado burger from Facundo Cafe No. 75: Pancakes from Fountain View Cafe No. 74: Hobnobs from Fluff Bake Bar No. 73: Chu chee eggplant from Nidda Thai No. 72: Sausage sampler from King's Biergarten No. 71: Shawarma from Abdallah's No. 70: Moules-frite at the Broken Spoke