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Epic late night on a Tuesday at Fu Fu Café.
Epic late night on a Tuesday at Fu Fu Café.
Photo by Kate McLean

Late Night: Fu Fu Café

“How are you, long time no see you.” One of the two waitstaff at Fu Fu Café greets a regular—at 11 p.m. Flavor, consistency, accessibility; on paper, an establishment can do everything right, but it’s the genuine exchange of hospitality that turns a good restaurant into a great one. Because people really only need two things in order to thrive: they need to be fed and they need to be loved. That being said, Fu Fu deals in smiles—the real kind.

Open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., this Chinatown joint is a great option to have in your back pocket whether for group Hot Pot or a single lady lobster feast.

Both market priced, on this occasion, one lobster went for $26 and one Dungeness $45.  Apparently the Dungeness was a beast as confirmed by the server's eye-gesture. Both can be prepared in two different styles: ginger scallion or black pepper. The lobster is cut into pieces, shell intact, and then dusted in a slightly sweet rice flour cornstarch mix (shot in the dark.) The dry mix only really grips the meat though a few nibbly bits cling to the shell which make for fun bites too. Before hitting the table, the lobster is tossed in sautéed garlic, black pepper and julienne leeks. It's easy to get lost in this dish picking through the different parts of meat, shell, and nibbly bits. The prized head piece has it all: fun-to-eat flavorful meat, crispy whiskers, meaningful eye contact. This dish is money in the bank—without breaking it.

A belly full of pork buns is a happy belly indeed. Steamed to order, all buns take about 15 minutes and are worth the wait. There are a handful of options, but the Pan-Fried Pork Buns with a crispy seared bottom and airy steamed exterior is the best of both worlds—a carb cloud delight. The pork filling is freshly cooked juicy because it’s steamed in a little safe zone with nowhere to escape. Muwahahaha. $8 for six is a total steal. Pro-tip: bring a Ziploc bag for purse leftovers.

The Fried Pork Intestines—it is what it is—make for a tasty beer-drinking snack. Crisp, musty entrail tubes followed by gulp, gulp, anything to wash it down are worth a try for the adventurous. Or just order it, say it’s a rare form of New Zealand long-squid, and tell people later.

Crisps and crunches are the hallmark of late night dining, and one of the most creative menu items in this category is the “Pan Fried Noodles (Crispy).” Blanched, oil-crisped noodles are served as a crunchy bed that hosts bedmates like shrimp, lobster and squid, or shredded pork or a combination of all.

Bon jour Vegetarians, go for the snow pea leaves sautéed in garlic sauce, it's absolutely mouthwatering. Other vegetable sautés can be made with oyster sauce or bean sauce.

With more than 100 menu items to choose from, Fu Fu satisfies the adventurous and squeamish alike—it’s loaded with pictures too. What’s salt toasted squid? Well, it appears to be lightly tempura dusted and served with sliced Thai chilies. Nice, I’ll take it.

Fu Fu Café

9889 Bellaire
Fu Fu Café is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
713-981-8818
fufucafe.com

Open until 2 a.m. every day of the week.
Open until 2 a.m. every day of the week.
Photo by Kate McLean

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