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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.