The Five Best Hidden Restaurant Gems in Chinatown in Houston

Can you guess where this little spot is? Hint: It's No. 5 on the list!
Can you guess where this little spot is? Hint: It's No. 5 on the list!
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg

I spend a lot of time in Chinatown. Between shopping for squid fryers at Japanese import store Fit, getting foot reflexology at Lucky Feet and eating my way through hundreds of restaurants, I could pretty much never leave if I didn't have to, you know, go to work and feed my cat and whatnot.

Whilst roaming Bellaire Boulevard, I'm constantly surprised to see a new hole-in-the-wall restaurant I've never before noticed, the meaning behind its Chinese characters a complete mystery to me. There is so much to see and do and so many places to eat that it would take years to visit them all.

Fortunately, I know people who've been hitting up these small joints in Chinatown long before I moved here last July. I've managed to find several places on my own, and with the help of my intrepid foodie friends, we've compiled quite the list of places not-to-be missed.

Here's where you should be eating in Chinatown that you probably aren't.

The barbecue window at Long Sing Supermarket will make you drool.
The barbecue window at Long Sing Supermarket will make you drool.
Photo by Greenway Barista

Honorable Mention: Long Sing Supermarket OK, so Long Sing Market isn't in Chinatown as we know it today. It's just east of Downtown next to the BBVA Compass Stadium in the area that used to be Chinatown before mass waves of immigrants moved to the suburbs out west of the Loop in the 1980s and '90s. But because I didn't specify which Chinatown I'd be discussing in the intro to this article, I'm gonna tack Long Sing Supermarket onto the list. The Chinese barbecue here is some of the best in town, and you know it's fresh because you can see the meat hanging on the other side of a glass window. Glistening red ducks and chickens are chopped up and served atop a bed of rice with stir fried broccoli and onions for only $5.50 at lunch time. The décor leaves a little to be desired (I mean, it's a supermarket), but the deals are not to be missed.

Dim sum to-go inside of Welcome Food Center.
Dim sum to-go inside of Welcome Food Center.
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg

5. Welcome Food Center Like Long Sing, Welcome Food Center is a grocery store with a few different deli areas. If Long Sing has the best Chinese barbecue in Old Chinatown, Welcome Food Center has some of the best in "new" Chinatown. In addition to duck and chicken, the barbecue deli inside Welcome Food Center serves barbecued pork that's carved off a large hanging shoulder, belly and loin as you order it. On the other side of the supermarket is a dim-sum-to-go counter. All the dim sum is made by the little old man in the back (you can see him in the photo above), and for pre-packaged dim sum, it's pretty darn good. That fella clearly knows what he's doing.

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