Katy Asian Town Sounds Like It's Going to Rule

Red Oil Dumplings at Mala Sichuan Bistro
Red Oil Dumplings at Mala Sichuan Bistro Photo by Phaedra Cook
Everywhere you look this week, Houston food-obsessives are talking about one thing: Katy. Actually, they're talking specifically about a new nearly 16-acre, three-building Asian shopping and dining compound known as Katy Asian Town that's heading to the northeast corner of Grand Parkway TX-99 and I-10, at 23119 Colonial Parkway, and is set to feature some of the biggest names among Houston's beloved Chinatown dining scene.

Mala Sichuan, whose chef, Jianyun Ye, was a semifinalist for a James Beard this year in the Best Chef: Southwest category, has announced plans to open in the new development,  as first reported by Community Impact. The Houston Chronicle's Alison Cook also noted that Mala Sichuan is expanding to a food court in Sugar Land's upcoming Jusgo Asian Market and potentially into the new Jones on Main food hall heading downtown as well. The restaurant, which specializes in mouth-tingling mala cuisine, already has a second location on Westheimer in Montrose, and to keep consistency among the locations, sauces and certain foods will be prepared at a centralized location and then delivered to the restaurants.

Anchoring Katy's Asian Town will be longtime Korean grocery favorite H-Mart, which will reportedly join boba tea hubs ShareTea and Gong Cha and restaurants Soju 101, Haus 92 and Atami Japanese Restaurant as well. Eater Houston reported that the development will also house another location of 85°C Bakery Cafe, but reps haven't responded to our request for verification yet see update below. The so-called "Taiwan of Starbucks" sent fans of egg custard tarts into a frenzy this summer with the opening of the eatery's 1,000th location, and the first in Houston, on Bellaire. The shop is also known for its sea salt coffee drinks, which are decidedly, deliciously unique.

It's all very exciting news for northwest Houston, an area that is continuing to expand with incredible and diverse dining options, from poke to macaron ice cream sandwiches to South African cuisine and then some.

Update 8/3 at 1:26 p.m.: 85°C Bakery Cafe has released an official statement as follows: “We have intentions of opening a location in Katy, Texas but nothing has been signed or confirmed. We can neither deny or approve the fact that a 85°C Bakery Cafe location will open in that area.”

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.