Keep Cool at These Four Popular Asian Sweet Spots in Houston's Chinatown

Located in the Dun Huang Plaza at Bellaire and the Sam Houston Tollway are four dessert joints that should be added to this summer's stay-cool hit list. On the menu are the more traditional sweet treats like ice cream and gelato, but jump outside of the box and go for one of the refreshing tapioca teas or better yet, dip your spoon into a big bowl of mixed fruit and coconut sago.

Asians love to use beans and jellies in desserts. At Star Snow Ice, the menu is extensive.  Both savory and sweet dishes are offered, and the clientele are going for both.  There are multiple locations in Chinatown, but the one in Dun Huang Plaza is the newest addition.  Inside, it bustles with the young and old, slurping boba tea or a bowl of ramen, playing cards or sharing a gigantic serving of fruit and ice cream.

Before Class 502 came to Houston showcasing the Thai rolled ice cream trend, the strangest form of ice cream came in ribbons. "Ribbon ice" is the most popular item at Nu Cafe, a Taiwanese dessert shop. A small mountain of ice cream is shaved onto a plate and presented with your choice of exotic fruits and toppings.

Right next door is Juice Box, another Taiwanese sweet shop. Juice Box offers more dessert beverages than the others on this strip. The interior is bright and bubbly and full of young people playing board games and chatting with friends. Enjoy the shop's special offer on fruit teas: Buy three, get one free.

At Gelato Cup, there is a lingering sweet smell in the air. More than two dozen house-made gelato flavors ranging from favorites like pistachio and tiramisu to exotic fruits like lychee and durian are on display. The best-seller, however, is not a gelato.  Bite-size pieces of kiwi, strawberry, mango and pineapple, topped with milk, coconut milk and sago pearls come together to create mixed fruit sago. Sweet, creamy, crunchy and cold — the combination is perfect for cooling off on a Houston summer day.
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Cuc Lam is a freelance food writer for the Houston Press and local pop-up chef. She enjoys teaching cooking classes and hosting dinner parties when she is not writing.