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Visit Asiatown for some of the best restaurants Houston has to offer.
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21 Essential Restaurants in Houston’s Asiatown

Malaysian cuisine, dim sum, all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue, and so much more abound in Asiatown

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Visit Asiatown for some of the best restaurants Houston has to offer.
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There’s no denying it: Houston’s Asiatown is one of the best (and largest) in the country. What started out as a thriving community near East Downtown has blossomed into a pillar of Southwest Houston found on and around Bellaire Boulevard. The evolved and bustling neighborhood is home to a diverse population of residents and a dizzying array of Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, and Vietnamese restaurants.

As such, there are plenty of places to eat during your visit. But where do you start in one of Houston’s best dining areas? This map of the area’s 21 essential restaurants combines neighborhood favorites, chef-approved picks, and newcomers that are poised to continue Asiatown’s reign as one of the top places to dine in Houston.

This map has been updated to remove Honey Pig, Banana Leaf, and Pho Binh, and have added newer additions, including Thiên Thanh, Pagolac, Bún Nhân Quán-Phá Lấu Houston, XiaoLongKan, PappaRich, and Pho Dien.

Don’t see your favorite Asiatown restaurant on the list? Shout it in the comments.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Bún Nhân Quán-Phá Lấu Houston

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Further down the stretch of Bellaire Boulevard, in the My Hoa Food Market strip center, this modest restaurant serves a variety of traditional, lesser-known Vietnamese dishes. Start off with the banh khot — mini crunchy and savory pancakes topped with shrimp, then opt for a bowl of robust and pungent bun mam, a fermented fish noodle soup. For something even more adventurous, try the signature Pha Lau Houston, a rich and herbal pork meat and offal stew served with French bread for dipping.

Pho Dien

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Ordering is easy here, as this Asiatown staple serves one thing — aromatic pho. Diners choose from three available sizes and different combinations of beef cuts or chicken for their pho, which is eaten at all hours of the day, starting at 8:30 a.m. daily. Add more rich flavor to the broth with a side order of bone marrow and egg.

Hai Cang Harbor

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Since 2013, this Asiatown establishment has been cooking up its take on Chinese and Vietnamese seafood, with dishes like peppercorn Dungeness crab, which is as visually appealing as it is flavorful. The black pepper lobster, crab fried rice, king crab, and walnut shrimp are more than enough to satisfy a seafood lover, but if looking for a different form of protein, try the Beijing duck with a side of snow peas.

Crawfish & Noodles

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Viet-Cajun crawfish is a Houston staple, and this Asiatown restaurant offers up one of the city’s best takes. Mudbugs are big and juicy, the seasoning is spicy, and there’s plenty of beer to cool down with. If crustaceans aren’t your thing, there are a variety of noodle and rice dishes, plus hot pots and curried goat on offer.

Three silver bowls filled of steamy crawfish and boiled corn on the cob at Crawfish & Noodles.
Crawfish & Noodles is not only an Asiatown favorite — it’s an essential Houston restaurant.
Ellie Sharp

Ocean Palace

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For traditional pull cart service and delicate dumplings, head to this dim sum haven known for its truffle shu mai, tofu pork rolls with oyster sauce, and toothsome steamed mushroom and chicken bao. Be warned — this place gets packed with lines winding outside of the building, but service is usually swift.

fried crab claws, har gow, egg tarts, stuffed rice noodles and more on a table at Ocean Palace.
Fill up on tender dumplings at Ocean Palace.
Mai Pham

Alpha Bakery & Deli

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Arguably the most popular banh mi spot in Hong Kong Mall 4, Alpha Bakery is a budget-friendly lunch destination. Traditional oblong bread rolls are smeared with house-made pate and mayo, filled to the brim with proteins like grilled pork or shu mai meatballs, then topped with pickled carrots, daikon, jalapeno, cucumber, cilantro, and a few dashes of Maggi. Try the thit nguoi cold cut, one of the most popular items on the menu.

A chef assembles banh mi with meats and veggies.
Stop by this bakery for your banh mi fix.
Mai Pham

Thiên Thanh

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One of the original businesses on Bellaire Boulevard, this mom-and-pop restaurant opened almost 30 years ago, introducing the strip mall and its visitors to Bánh cuốn. The steamed and rolled thin sheets of rice flour are traditionally filled with minced pork and wood ear mushrooms or eaten plain with toppings such as fried shallot and fresh herbs and drizzled with nuoc cham, a Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Nam Giao

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This modest family-run restaurant that specializes in Central Vietnamese cuisine garnered nationwide attention when chef and owner Ai Le became a James Beard semi-finalist this year, proof that some of the most exceptional food is also the most humble in delivery. People fall head over heels for the steamed rice cake saucers, or banh beo chen, and the chewy glutinous shrimp dumplings (banh quai vac). Regional specialties like bun bo hue (spicy lemongrass beef noodle soup) and mi quang (turmeric noodles with pork and shrimp) are also solid picks.

A plate of steamed rice cake saucers, or banh beo chen
Nam Giao continues to be an Asiatown staple.
Mai Pham

Kim Son

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Known for its iconic all-you-can-eat buffet, Kim Son is one of the city’s essential Vietnamese restaurants and should be on every Houstonian’s dining bucket list. Find an array of dim sum, grilled meats, fried foods, noodle bowls, jelly drinks, teas, desserts, and more. Come hungry — going back for seconds (and thirds) is encouraged.

Sinh Sinh

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This beloved OG Asiatown restaurant does a little bit of everything, which is perfect considering dishes are best-enjoyed family-style. Want Chinese barbecue? Roast duck, roast pork, soy sauce chicken, and char siu can be eaten in or taken to go. But if you’re craving seafood, look no further than the tanks, which house live king crab, spot prawns, and fresh fish. Hot pot and stir fry, fried rice, and noodles are also on offer.

Fried crab with veggies on a plate.
Family-style dishes make Sinh Sinh a restaurant perfect for groups.
Mai Pham

Hongdae 33 Korean BBQ

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The owners of Duck N Bao opened this all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant in Asiatown’s Dun Huang Plaza. Priced at $33 per guest, guests are welcome to enjoy their choice of meats and seafood — all grilled in the center of the table — along with banchan during a 90-minute window. As a bonus, the restaurant features a menu of South Korean spirits like soju and makgeolli.

The vibrant, neon-lit dining room at newly opened Hongdae 33.
The vibrant dining room at newly opened Hongdae 33.
Jenn Duncan

The first American location of this international Korean buffet chain opened this year, adding a unique concept to Houston’s Asiatown. Dookki specializes in tteokbokki, a dish featuring rice cakes and fish cakes in a rich sauce that can be customized with a combination of sauces, meats, vegetables, and fried finger foods. The name Dookki also translates to “two meals,” so leave room for the second part of the meal, which uses the leftover ingredients from the tteokbokki to whip up a traditional Korean kimchi fried rice. The belt-busting buffet also includes stations for ramen, bulgogi, hot foods, and ice cream. Come ready to feast and get your fill for the allotted 90 minutes.

A person stirs fried rice on a bowl atop a table burner at Bellaire’s Dookki Tteokbokki.
Cooking up your own kimchi fried rice is only one part of Dookki’s multi-part dining experience.
Brittany Britto Garley

House of Bowls

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Indulge in Hong Kong-style Chinese cuisine at this popular Asiatown spot, where comforting bowls of congee and plates of beef chow fun are choice go-tos. Other highlights include the crispy fried chicken wings and dangerously decadent French toast, served with your choice of peanut butter and a sweetened condensed milk drizzle.

Saigon Pagolac

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Tucked into a corner behind Dynasty Mall, this Vietnamese restaurant has become a Houston staple for its Bo 7 Mon, a seven-course beef experience, plus its nuong vi or tableside barbecue. Both offer an interactive, family-style experience where diners cook their own meats on a sizzling grill at the table. The meat, accompanied by vegetables and herbs, is rolled up and enjoyed with dipping sauce.

XiaoLongKan

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Although in a nondescript location, step behind the wooden doors at this Sichuan hot pot spot and you’re surrounded by the beautiful and elaborate decor. Each table is equipped with a stove for heating the broth and ample space for all the ingredients that accompany it. Choose up to 3 broths, including the signature ”spicy and numbing” mala.

Mein Restaurant

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Mein is one of the city’s best spots for Cantonese cuisine. The housemade noodles, made from scratch daily, are the star of the show — tossed in its special XO sauce or served with a variety of meats, veggies, garnishes, and broth on the side. The crispy duck leg, served with tender pancakes, is also a must, but no meal is complete here without an order of the decadent lava toast, with salted egg custard and maple syrup.

PappaRich

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Options for Malaysian food in Houston aren’t as prevalent as other types of Asian cuisine. Located in the Bellaire Food Street Plaza, Papparich is the second US location of the Halal global chain. Malaysian food has a unique and vibrant combination of flavors influenced by many different cultures reflected in must-try dishes such as roti canai, Hainan chicken, and curry laksa.

Mala Sichuan Bistro

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Bring a crowd and order one of the excellently-priced group meals at this James Beard-nominated Sichuan restaurant, which comes with a variety of house favorites like water-boiled fish, cumin beef, pot-roasted tilapia, and a selection of appetizers. For solo diners, the mapo tofu and red oil dumplings are not to be missed. Beyond its Asiatown outpost, Mala has four other locations around the Houston area.

Mala Sichuan Bistro fish.
Mala Sichuan is a go-to for Sichuan cuisine.
Julie Soefer

One Dragon Restaurant

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For the best soup dumplings and crispy-bottomed bao in Asiatown, no place holds a candle to One Dragon Restaurant. A mom-and-pop shop with just 10 tables, the husband is the cook, while the wife runs the front of the house. Staff are friendly, and there’s always a wait during peak hours. Beyond the dumplings, highlights on this Shanghainese menu include braised pork belly, seasonal vegetable plates, and the crispy red bean dessert.

Northern Pasta

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One of the go-to places in the city for hand-pulled noodles, Northern Pasta places special care on the flavor and texture of its many dishes which include its oil-splashed noodles, Liang Pi cold noodles, and a variety of dumplings. The Chinese hamburger, made with seasoned pork and and crisp vegetables, is a crowd-pleaser.

Dim Sum King

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Dim Sum King has been in operation for over a decade and continues to provide Houstonians with dim sum dishes galore. While there aren’t the ubiquitous push carts dim sum is known for you’ll find the essentials, whether it's the steamed shrimp dumplings, rice soup with pork blood, spareribs, chicken feet, or king crab shu mai, Dim Sum King offers an array of flavors and dumplings that don’t disappoint.

tins of steamed bao buns, shu mai, har gow, and a plate of crispy shrimp balls at Dim Sum King.
If seeking all-day dim sum, head to Dim Sum King.
Mai Pham

Bún Nhân Quán-Phá Lấu Houston

Further down the stretch of Bellaire Boulevard, in the My Hoa Food Market strip center, this modest restaurant serves a variety of traditional, lesser-known Vietnamese dishes. Start off with the banh khot — mini crunchy and savory pancakes topped with shrimp, then opt for a bowl of robust and pungent bun mam, a fermented fish noodle soup. For something even more adventurous, try the signature Pha Lau Houston, a rich and herbal pork meat and offal stew served with French bread for dipping.

Pho Dien

Ordering is easy here, as this Asiatown staple serves one thing — aromatic pho. Diners choose from three available sizes and different combinations of beef cuts or chicken for their pho, which is eaten at all hours of the day, starting at 8:30 a.m. daily. Add more rich flavor to the broth with a side order of bone marrow and egg.

Hai Cang Harbor

Since 2013, this Asiatown establishment has been cooking up its take on Chinese and Vietnamese seafood, with dishes like peppercorn Dungeness crab, which is as visually appealing as it is flavorful. The black pepper lobster, crab fried rice, king crab, and walnut shrimp are more than enough to satisfy a seafood lover, but if looking for a different form of protein, try the Beijing duck with a side of snow peas.

Crawfish & Noodles

Viet-Cajun crawfish is a Houston staple, and this Asiatown restaurant offers up one of the city’s best takes. Mudbugs are big and juicy, the seasoning is spicy, and there’s plenty of beer to cool down with. If crustaceans aren’t your thing, there are a variety of noodle and rice dishes, plus hot pots and curried goat on offer.

Three silver bowls filled of steamy crawfish and boiled corn on the cob at Crawfish & Noodles.
Crawfish & Noodles is not only an Asiatown favorite — it’s an essential Houston restaurant.
Ellie Sharp

Ocean Palace

For traditional pull cart service and delicate dumplings, head to this dim sum haven known for its truffle shu mai, tofu pork rolls with oyster sauce, and toothsome steamed mushroom and chicken bao. Be warned — this place gets packed with lines winding outside of the building, but service is usually swift.

fried crab claws, har gow, egg tarts, stuffed rice noodles and more on a table at Ocean Palace.
Fill up on tender dumplings at Ocean Palace.
Mai Pham

Alpha Bakery & Deli

Arguably the most popular banh mi spot in Hong Kong Mall 4, Alpha Bakery is a budget-friendly lunch destination. Traditional oblong bread rolls are smeared with house-made pate and mayo, filled to the brim with proteins like grilled pork or shu mai meatballs, then topped with pickled carrots, daikon, jalapeno, cucumber, cilantro, and a few dashes of Maggi. Try the thit nguoi cold cut, one of the most popular items on the menu.

A chef assembles banh mi with meats and veggies.
Stop by this bakery for your banh mi fix.
Mai Pham

Thiên Thanh

One of the original businesses on Bellaire Boulevard, this mom-and-pop restaurant opened almost 30 years ago, introducing the strip mall and its visitors to Bánh cuốn. The steamed and rolled thin sheets of rice flour are traditionally filled with minced pork and wood ear mushrooms or eaten plain with toppings such as fried shallot and fresh herbs and drizzled with nuoc cham, a Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Nam Giao

This modest family-run restaurant that specializes in Central Vietnamese cuisine garnered nationwide attention when chef and owner Ai Le became a James Beard semi-finalist this year, proof that some of the most exceptional food is also the most humble in delivery. People fall head over heels for the steamed rice cake saucers, or banh beo chen, and the chewy glutinous shrimp dumplings (banh quai vac). Regional specialties like bun bo hue (spicy lemongrass beef noodle soup) and mi quang (turmeric noodles with pork and shrimp) are also solid picks.

A plate of steamed rice cake saucers, or banh beo chen
Nam Giao continues to be an Asiatown staple.
Mai Pham

Kim Son

Known for its iconic all-you-can-eat buffet, Kim Son is one of the city’s essential Vietnamese restaurants and should be on every Houstonian’s dining bucket list. Find an array of dim sum, grilled meats, fried foods, noodle bowls, jelly drinks, teas, desserts, and more. Come hungry — going back for seconds (and thirds) is encouraged.

Sinh Sinh

This beloved OG Asiatown restaurant does a little bit of everything, which is perfect considering dishes are best-enjoyed family-style. Want Chinese barbecue? Roast duck, roast pork, soy sauce chicken, and char siu can be eaten in or taken to go. But if you’re craving seafood, look no further than the tanks, which house live king crab, spot prawns, and fresh fish. Hot pot and stir fry, fried rice, and noodles are also on offer.

Fried crab with veggies on a plate.
Family-style dishes make Sinh Sinh a restaurant perfect for groups.
Mai Pham

Hongdae 33 Korean BBQ

The owners of Duck N Bao opened this all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant in Asiatown’s Dun Huang Plaza. Priced at $33 per guest, guests are welcome to enjoy their choice of meats and seafood — all grilled in the center of the table — along with banchan during a 90-minute window. As a bonus, the restaurant features a menu of South Korean spirits like soju and makgeolli.

The vibrant, neon-lit dining room at newly opened Hongdae 33.
The vibrant dining room at newly opened Hongdae 33.
Jenn Duncan

Dookki

The first American location of this international Korean buffet chain opened this year, adding a unique concept to Houston’s Asiatown. Dookki specializes in tteokbokki, a dish featuring rice cakes and fish cakes in a rich sauce that can be customized with a combination of sauces, meats, vegetables, and fried finger foods. The name Dookki also translates to “two meals,” so leave room for the second part of the meal, which uses the leftover ingredients from the tteokbokki to whip up a traditional Korean kimchi fried rice. The belt-busting buffet also includes stations for ramen, bulgogi, hot foods, and ice cream. Come ready to feast and get your fill for the allotted 90 minutes.

A person stirs fried rice on a bowl atop a table burner at Bellaire’s Dookki Tteokbokki.
Cooking up your own kimchi fried rice is only one part of Dookki’s multi-part dining experience.
Brittany Britto Garley

House of Bowls

Indulge in Hong Kong-style Chinese cuisine at this popular Asiatown spot, where comforting bowls of congee and plates of beef chow fun are choice go-tos. Other highlights include the crispy fried chicken wings and dangerously decadent French toast, served with your choice of peanut butter and a sweetened condensed milk drizzle.

Saigon Pagolac

Tucked into a corner behind Dynasty Mall, this Vietnamese restaurant has become a Houston staple for its Bo 7 Mon, a seven-course beef experience, plus its nuong vi or tableside barbecue. Both offer an interactive, family-style experience where diners cook their own meats on a sizzling grill at the table. The meat, accompanied by vegetables and herbs, is rolled up and enjoyed with dipping sauce.

XiaoLongKan

Although in a nondescript location, step behind the wooden doors at this Sichuan hot pot spot and you’re surrounded by the beautiful and elaborate decor. Each table is equipped with a stove for heating the broth and ample space for all the ingredients that accompany it. Choose up to 3 broths, including the signature ”spicy and numbing” mala.

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Mein Restaurant

Mein is one of the city’s best spots for Cantonese cuisine. The housemade noodles, made from scratch daily, are the star of the show — tossed in its special XO sauce or served with a variety of meats, veggies, garnishes, and broth on the side. The crispy duck leg, served with tender pancakes, is also a must, but no meal is complete here without an order of the decadent lava toast, with salted egg custard and maple syrup.

PappaRich

Options for Malaysian food in Houston aren’t as prevalent as other types of Asian cuisine. Located in the Bellaire Food Street Plaza, Papparich is the second US location of the Halal global chain. Malaysian food has a unique and vibrant combination of flavors influenced by many different cultures reflected in must-try dishes such as roti canai, Hainan chicken, and curry laksa.

Mala Sichuan Bistro

Bring a crowd and order one of the excellently-priced group meals at this James Beard-nominated Sichuan restaurant, which comes with a variety of house favorites like water-boiled fish, cumin beef, pot-roasted tilapia, and a selection of appetizers. For solo diners, the mapo tofu and red oil dumplings are not to be missed. Beyond its Asiatown outpost, Mala has four other locations around the Houston area.

Mala Sichuan Bistro fish.
Mala Sichuan is a go-to for Sichuan cuisine.
Julie Soefer

One Dragon Restaurant

For the best soup dumplings and crispy-bottomed bao in Asiatown, no place holds a candle to One Dragon Restaurant. A mom-and-pop shop with just 10 tables, the husband is the cook, while the wife runs the front of the house. Staff are friendly, and there’s always a wait during peak hours. Beyond the dumplings, highlights on this Shanghainese menu include braised pork belly, seasonal vegetable plates, and the crispy red bean dessert.

Northern Pasta

One of the go-to places in the city for hand-pulled noodles, Northern Pasta places special care on the flavor and texture of its many dishes which include its oil-splashed noodles, Liang Pi cold noodles, and a variety of dumplings. The Chinese hamburger, made with seasoned pork and and crisp vegetables, is a crowd-pleaser.

Dim Sum King

Dim Sum King has been in operation for over a decade and continues to provide Houstonians with dim sum dishes galore. While there aren’t the ubiquitous push carts dim sum is known for you’ll find the essentials, whether it's the steamed shrimp dumplings, rice soup with pork blood, spareribs, chicken feet, or king crab shu mai, Dim Sum King offers an array of flavors and dumplings that don’t disappoint.

tins of steamed bao buns, shu mai, har gow, and a plate of crispy shrimp balls at Dim Sum King.
If seeking all-day dim sum, head to Dim Sum King.
Mai Pham

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