While the area surrounding Chinatown’s mile-long stretch of Bellaire is packed with excellent restaurants, many of the best bites in the neighborhood are—conveniently enough—stacked into the five buildings that comprise Dun Huang Plaza, the massive, two-story strip mall on Bellaire Boulevard at Corporate Drive.
Dun Huang Plaza makes an excellent base camp for a dining tour of Chinatown, but don’t get too full here—you’ll also want to explore a few other spots in the six-square-mile area.
Dun Huang Plaza
Late-Night Eats: Café 101
There are times we could all use some Taiwanese junk food to soak up the night’s sins. That’s why this café is open seven days a week, serving hot pot and salt-and-pepper pork chops ($6.95) into the wee hours.
Hand-Pulled Noodles: Strings Noodle
Pick either Lanzhou-style noodle soup ($8.99) or what’s called noodle in gravy ($9.99)—actually a sticky, thick broth. That’s it. The rest of the work falls to the chef, who pulls the noodles by hand to-order and crafts sides including spaghetti-like strands of spicy tofu.
Fusion Pastries: Kamalan Bakery
Neighboring Six Ping’s Hello Kitty and Doraemon cakes get all the attention, but this bakery’s Euro-style, Asian-flavored layer cakes are the best around. The taro cake ($2.75) melts in a purple haze, while a fresh blueberry-filled tiramisu ($3.75) will make you rethink the Italian dessert.
Home-Style Japanese: Café Kubo’s Sushi
The sushi rice is just right and the ramen is rightfully popular, but we find the most comfort in the subtly spicy, $7.99 pork cutlet curry rice.
Elsewhere in Chinatown
Grocery Store Eats: Dynasty Supermarket
Much as we adore the baked goods at Hong Kong Supermarket, if we’re looking to dine by a supermarket check-out, nothing can compete with the ark’s worth of salty animal flesh hanging at Dynasty—especially the crispy pork.
Vietnamese Feast: Saigon Pagolac Restaurant
The bò 7 món (seven courses of beef, served a variety of different ways) rings up at $15.95, but is meant to be shared by two or even three people, leaving you plenty of change to order a silky avocado smoothie on the side.
Comforting Korean: Jang Guem Tofu House & BBQ House
At lunchtime, bento boxes start at $8.99, while a hearty bowl of tofu soup—we like the kimchi best among the restaurant’s 21 tofu soup varieties—is only $7.99 (at dinner, the soup’s only a dollar more). Whatever you order, it comes with a fried mackerel, a hot stone bowl of rice and a slew of banchan.
To-Die-For-Dumplings: One Dragon
The puckered skins of the xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) are nearly transparent, their centers bursting with dark, sticky collagen broth and ground pork that surrenders at first bite. Half a dozen will set you back just $6.99.