Stuff You Should Know About

The 10 Best Snacks in Chinatown

Egg custard tarts from ECK.
Egg custard tarts from ECK. Photo by Melody Yip

When you're running errands around Bellaire and don't have time for a full meal, but just need a little nibble on the go, here are ten irresistible snacks to pick up. Alternatively, if you want to spend the day going on a food crawl through Chinatown with a few of your best foodie friends, these are some top destinations to visit and we would fully support your use of time.

click to enlarge Leek fried buns from San Dong Noodle House. - PHOTO BY MARCI JIMENEZ
Leek fried buns from San Dong Noodle House.
Photo by Marci Jimenez

Leek fried bun from San Dong Noodle House: Filled with glass noodles and sautéed leeks, these fried buns are kind of like giant dumplings with a thick, doughy skin that's fried to a golden crisp on the bottom. Hearty, salty and extremely filling for just a few dollars.

Bird's nest at HK dim sum. - PHOTO BY ANNA NGUYEN
Bird's nest at HK dim sum.
Photo by Anna Nguyen

10. Bird's nest shrimp ball from HK Dim Sum, 9889 Bellaire

Ah, dim sum, the ultimate snack food. The crispy bird's nest shrimp ball is a savory shrimp ball wrapped in a mass of flat rice noodles that are fried until they're so crisp they nearly shatter upon consumption. They're messy, but a perennial dim sum favorite if you're just going to choose a couple of bites. The best part about HK Dim Sum is that dim sum is served all day on most days (though minus the classic dim sum carts), until 10 p.m. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the restaurant closes at 5 p.m.


click to enlarge Lu dou dan bing is a mung bean crepe wrapped around egg (and optionally comes with a savory fried Chinese doughnut). - PHOTO BY CHELSEA YOU
Lu dou dan bing is a mung bean crepe wrapped around egg (and optionally comes with a savory fried Chinese doughnut).
Photo by Chelsea You

9. Lu dou dan bing (mung bean crepe with egg) from Classic Kitchen, 9888 Bellaire, Suite 108

You can get this with or without youtiao (a long, crispy-soft fried Chinese doughnut) stuffed in the middle. Of course, we recommend it stuffed. Although we once received a "mung bean crepe" wrap that looked more like a tortilla, the combination of crepe, egg and fried dough is delectable any way it looks. If you're there around breakfast time, definitely try the fresh youtiao on their own with a side of soy milk for dipping.

click to enlarge Garlic cheese stick from 85°C Bakery. - PHOTO BY ERIKA KWEE
Garlic cheese stick from 85°C Bakery.
Photo by Erika Kwee

8. Garlic cheese stick from 85°C Bakery, 9750 Bellaire

After tasting all the pastries at 85°C we could get our hands on, the garlic cheese stick rose to the top as one of the best breads we tried. The salty, cheesy topping melds into the slightly sweet, fluffy white bread for a super-addictive snack.


click to enlarge The hot buffet line at San San Tofu is utterly economical and delicious. - PHOTO BY ERIKA KWEE
The hot buffet line at San San Tofu is utterly economical and delicious.
Photo by Erika Kwee

7. Dumplings and more from San San Tofu, 6445 Wilcrest

Aside from the plentiful buffet line, the store side of San San Tofu is littered with interesting food finds that you'll want to grab to snack on later — homemade soy milk, freshly made tofu, deep-fried tofu, vegan dumplings and a huge array of packaged snacks. At the hot food line, you can grab takeaway congee, vegetarian hu tieu (rice noodle soup), a vegetarian version of bun bo hue (vermicelli and beef soup), dumplings, sweet sticky rice, tofu pudding and more. Dishes are mostly vegetarian or vegan.


click to enlarge Egg custard tarts from ECK. - PHOTO BY MELODY YIP
Egg custard tarts from ECK.

6. Egg custard tarts
from ECK, 6918 Wilcrest, Suite A

ECK stands for Egg Custard King, and this place is indeed the king of really excellent egg tarts. With inimitably flaky crusts and a silky, nearly translucent custard filling, they're just $1 each and super-satisfying little bites.


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Erika Kwee is a freelance food writer, photographer and contributor to the Houston Press who particularly enjoys exploring the many unique sweet spots around Houston. She is constantly on the hunt for exceptional pad thai, vegetarian dumplings and pancakes.