Image: Marco Torres

Saigon Pagolac  

 One of the joys of this homestyle Vietnamese staple is its warmth—from both the steaming hot pots and the friendly staff—but you can recreate such hospitality at home with its DIY dishes. The ca nuong mo hanh (grilled fish) comes fully cooked, so your job is to reheat it—spread on the butter, and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes with the onions and pork belly scattered on top. Then mix it with the included vegetables before rolling the whole concoction up in rice paper (also included) to make savory spring rolls. For adventurous cooks, the popular seven courses of beef includes sheets of raw tenderloin you can simmer in an accompanying vinegar broth before tearing into charcoal-grilled, sausage-like bo cuon mo chai and skewered bo sateand the rest of the dishes included in that takeout package.

Blood Bros BBQ 

Arguably some of the most beloved “brothers” in Houston food, the crew at this Bellaire pit serve up some of the boldest ’cue in town. Reach for the peppery pork ribs and pork belly burnt ends, and don’t forget sides like the ingeniously fatty brisket fried rice and the gouda macaroni and cheese, because both are incredible. On Saturday the pit also breaks out loads of fusion-y specials like bulgogi beef cheek on scallion pancake, smoked turkey banh mi, and jerk-pulled pork tacos.

Golden Dumpling House 

713-270-9996

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

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