Houston Chinese Restaurants

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Houston has some interesting Chinese restaurants beyond the normal Americanized Chinese restaurant where you order General Tao’s Chicken and etc. In Chinatown area, you can have many different regional cuisines from China such as Sichuan, Hunan, Northern China, Cantonese Cuisine and etc.

Can you recommend your favorites?

For Sichuan Cusine, here is the list:

1, Chef Liu Restaurant - this is one of the most authentic Sichuan restaurants in Houston. Some of its servers cannot speak English well. But the food has very strong taste. It has different spicy tastes: Mala (numbing and spicy), Savory Spicy, Sour Spicy, Pickled Chili and etc,

  1. Chengdu Taste - this just came to town from Los Angeles. Some of its dishes are very good such as Green Pepper Fish.

  2. Mala Sichuan Bistro - this is Americanized Sichuan food, adapt to US market

  3. Pepper Twins - Americanized Sichuan food as well. Generally speaking, less oily and mild taste

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For Hunan Cuisine,

mainly 2 restaurants

  1. Hunan Bistro
  2. Central China

Both feature some very spicy dishes such as Chili Fish Heads and Stir-fry Chili Beef and etc. If you like spicy food, you need to try these two,

For Dumplings,

3 restaurants have good dumplings

  1. Golden Dumpling House
    2, Lailai Dumpling
    3, San Dong Noodle House

Northern China style Dumpling, all good but with variations from these 3

I was the first person to ‘discover’ Mala Sichuan and post about it on Chowhound. I happened to be doing a tour of Sichuan restaurants at the time when all they had for signage was a banner draped over the name of the previous tenant of the space, which as I recall was Taiwanese. I rated in the middle of the pack and was always surprised how it became such a foodie fave. (The ones I thought were better are gone now!)

I ate at Pepper Twins original location when it was still called Cooking Girl. I thought it was much better than Mala. There were two sides to the menu, the well-known Americanized dishes and the less well known, supposedly more authentic ones. I was in a group and we were being treated. We ordered a large number of dishes and were very impressed. I have never had the chance to go back.

There was a time, a few years back, when San Dong was reputed to have the best fried pork dumplings in the city. I never tried to disprove that claim; they were awfully good. I went within the last year for the first time in several years and I thought perhaps they had gone down hill a bit. I think there has been a change of ownership. Certainly there was a different counter person, someone who actually smiled and seemed glad to have a customer.