The giant, lucious leek and pork dumplings at San Dong Noodle House, next to Jasmine Vietnamese Restaurant on Bellaire, bring back a lot of memories. When I first arrived in Houston, self-described "Ethnic Food Explorer" Jay Francis volunteered to show me around.

San Dong Noodle House
9938 Bellaire Blvd.
713-988-8802 

Our first meeting was supposed to take place at the tiny noodle shop called San Tong Snacks, which was located in what is now the Metropole Center on Bellaire. When we arrived, a sign on the door said the restaurant was closed for vacation. Jay and I ate Taiwanese food at a restaurant nearby.

But I returned to San Tong Snacks again and again. I was blown away by the dumplings, the springy housemade noodles in dark beef soup, and the noodles in soup with fermented vegetables. In fact, just about everything on the short menu was a hit.

Then the restaurant moved to its current location and changed its name to San Dong Noodle House. The first five times I tried to go there, the doors were locked. I was beginning to think the restaurant had gone out of business. I tried again last week, and lo and behold, everything was exactly like it used to be—the same grouchy lady behind the counter, the same tattered menus, the same get-your-own bowl, spoons, chopsticks, and water arrangement. And, just as before, the soup, noodles, and dumplings were excellent.

I have never been so happy to receive such crappy service.

 

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