Image: Alice Levitt

Whether you’ve grown up eating Americanized staples like sesame chicken or dining on dim sum weekly—or both—there’s always more to discover about Houston’s vast Chinese food scene. Here are some of our favorite places for Cantonese, Sichuan, and more.

E-Tao

This sliver of comfort-food magic on Level 2 of the Galleria, outside Nordstrom, has become a staple. We can’t get enough of the spicy Shanghai-style wheat noodles coated in sweet bean sauce and chile-infused hoisin. For an appetizer, try a dim sum favorite: delicious Cantonese-style fried chicken wings stuffed with glutinous rice.

Ginger & Fork

The friendly staffers at this comfortable bistro are always eager to chat about the menu of Cantonese delicacies. The owner herself may applaud your choice of the refreshing jellyfish appetizer, served cold and tossed with pickled vegetables. We also like the tender beef stewed in a steel pot with enoki mushrooms and a sweet and spicy sa cha sauce.

Mala Sichuan Bistro

Beloved for its carefully crafted, spicy Sichuan food, this foodie landmark owned by Cori Xiong and Heng Chen still packs the perfect punch with authentic preparations of mapo tofu, three-pepper duck, and stunning, tongue-tingling beef with fibrous konjac jelly. The service is snappy, too.

Golden Dumpling House

This Asiatown staple is an excellent choice for affordable dumplings by the plateful. Step up to the cash-only counter and get them boiled, steamed, or fried, along with an assortment of noodle dishes and cold appetizers. When they’re on offer, order the pork and leek dumplings, and mix your own vinegar, soy, and chile sauce to go with them.

One Dragon

Tucked inside the same Asiatown plaza as Mala Sichuan, this bare-bones establishment turns out some great xiao long bao. We like to carefully pick up each thinly wrapped soup dumpling, maybe poke a small hole near the top to release the heat, and then let the dumpling explode its flavorful broth. Don’t miss the crispy shrimp-and-pork dumplings or the sweet, salty cold-fried-fish appetizer, either.

Qin’s Noodle Kitchen

Also known as Happy Valley, this super-casual Dun Huang Plaza spot boasts a deep roster of Chinese and Taiwanese dishes, perfect for a family meal. We love the green-onion-pancake-wrapped beef and the house noodle soup packed with scallops and shrimp in a fragrant, light broth. There’s also free hot-and-sour and egg drop soup by the counter.

Image: Alice Levitt

The Rice Box

Feeling nostalgic? This energetic, neon-lit hot spot serves up excellent renditions of Chinese-American classics like General Tso’s and orange chicken, beef with broccoli, chow fun, sesame chicken, and fantastically crispy egg rolls. Remember, your takeout box folds into a plate.

Siu Lap City

The Chinese barbecue counter inside the now-closed Long Sing Supermarket has resurfaced as a brick-and-mortar lunch business, and it’s a must-visit. Get the cha siu special, incredibly juicy barbecue pork with rice and veggies—we like the eggplant and bok choy. Dining with a friend? Start with the enormous chicken wings.

Image: Alice Levitt

Sarah Place

Looking for the best xiao long bao in Houston? You’ve found them. Pour some vinegar and ginger sauce over your dumplings, then nibble on the wrappers to get to the pork broth within. You’ll want to order the smoky, scrambled-egg-filled barbecue-pork-fried rice, too.

Spicy Girl

This laidback Inner Loop Sichuan spot serves up hot-and-spicy dumplings soaked in chile oil and topped with peanuts for a crunchy pop. The vegetable section of the menu is full of great finds such as mapo tofu and a surprisingly light and fresh curry with Singapore-style noodles.

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