Meat, Rice, and Everything Nice

Our 10 Favorite Korean Spots in Houston

From barbecue to noodles to extra-crispy fried chicken, here are our recommendations across the city.

By Timothy Malcolm

Look at the curry fried chicken from Choong Man glisten!

A 2019 Yelp study found that Korean food has been in high demand across America for nearly a decade. Plus, much like the phenomenon of K-Pop reaching the United States over the past 15 years, the food of Korea—like bulgogi (meat cooked over a fire), hearty bowls of bibimbap, and double-cooked fried chicken—is only becoming more ubiquitous in our country.

In Houston the Korean food landscape is ever shifting, but it is definitely growing. From old-school haunts with tabletop grills to newer spots fusing Korean food with other cultural styles, there's a lot to go around. Here are our favorite places to get Korean (all takeout friendly, too):


It's challenging for a Korean barbecue restaurant to stand out in bulgogi-rich Spring Branch, but relative newcomer Bori manages to be a cut above the rest because of its deep bar offerings including a fine roster of soju and Korean wine; its efficient grilling system (vents are so close to the heat that the smoke never gets close to you); and its snappy and friendly service. While none of those things factor in if you're ordering takeout, take heart that a variety of well-sourced beef cuts like short rib, ribeye, a prime cut, and dry-aged ribeye doesn't hurt either. For more fun, be sure to order kimchi pancakes and japchae (glass noodles with pork and vegetables); also, those forgoing the 'cue should look into the sunny-side egg-topped and surprisingly cheesy kimchi fried rice. 1453 Witte Rd

Choong Man Chicken

Out in Spring Branch is the first Texas location of this wildly popular South Korean fried chicken chain (that also has locations in the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia corridor). Choong Man does that seriously crispy, double-fried bird just right. Inside a relatively unassuming space in a Spring Branch strip mall, I tried the garlic soy and curry fried chicken; both were deeply satisfying and served with a bowl of pickled daikon radish to cool down the numbing heat. Other flavors include red hot pepper, spicy garlic, and chicken topped with “snow” (raw onions covered in sweet aioli). 1927 Gessner Rd

Dak & Bop

The happening Korean fried chicken and fusion-friendly restaurant started in Midtown and expanded to the Heights in early 2020, but during Covid-19 the original closed permanently. So go to the 18th Street location for group-friendly plates of ultra-crispy chicken, plus wildly fun dishes like toowoomba pasta (topped with everything from shrimp and crawfish to a Pontchartrain Alfredo sauce to wonton noodles and red chili flakes) and chicken Parmesan made with fried cheese curds and "Canadian" wonton noodles. 1805 W 18th St

Beef bulgogi Korean barbecue from Korea Garden.

Korea Garden

While you won't be grilling your own meats at the table if ordering takeout from Korea Garden, know that the always-reliable barbecue restaurant has you well covered for the home dining room experience. Bulgogi beef resting on a blanket of sautéed onions maintains juiciness during transport, and additions like bean sprouts, cucumbers, sticky rice, and spinach are plentiful and packed with flavor (plus, this joint has some of the best kimchi in the city). Round out your meal with the steamed egg appetizer and the popular haemul pahjeon (pancake with seafood and scallions). 9501 Long Point Rd

Lucky Palace Korean Restaurant

If you're wanting Korean barbecue in Asiantown, Lucky Palace is as good as it gets. If feeding a family (with plenty of leftovers), you can't go wrong with either of the three barbecue combos, which offer meats like Prime-cut beef brisket, pork belly, marinated short rib, and a Kobe-like beef cut. Traditional appetizers like corn cheese and vegetable pancakes are worth the extra couple bucks. 8508 Bellaire Blvd

Manna Noodle House

This brightly appointed space in Spring Branch with friendly service is the place to visit for Korean noodle dishes like nicely salted jajangmyeon (noodles in black bean sauce) and jjamppong (spicy seafood noodles). Manna is also one of the few spots—if not the only one—in Houston to enjoy the refreshingly milky and cold soybean noodle soup kongguksu. You might want to also order some tangsuyuk (sweet and sour beef or pork mixed with peppers, onions, and pineapples) to counter the endless slurping. 9887 Long Point Rd

Oh My Gogi

Imbuing stalwart American and Mexican comfort foods with Korean flavors is something of a genius move, and that's made Oh My Gogi one of Houston's most ubiquitous fusion outfits. Head to the Katy Asian Town H Mart for the gooey Gogi Melt or Gogi Burger, and don't skip the OMG! Fries, the eatery's loaded take on kimchi-and-beef-topped fries with spicy mayo and melted jack cheese. 23119 Colonial Pkwy, Bldg B-25

Seoul Garden

Like at other barbecue restaurants, you can order takeout cuts of pork belly and short rib here, but I recommend trying Seoul Garden for pickup lunch. Bento boxes range from bulgogi (barbecue, beef, pork, chicken) to seafood and tofu, and all of them are paired with rice and savory sides. Alternatively, you can get an individual lunch order of grill-ready meat with sides, or there's hot stone bibimbop (featuring beef, shrimp, tofu, or kimchi). Nearly everything is less than $15, making for a solid lunch deal. 9446 Long Point Rd

The bulgogi cheese fries from Soho Chicken.

Soho Chicken

The bird from this Bellaire Food Street Korean chicken hang comes either fried or brushed in one of three flavors: spicy, soy garlic, and a special that claims both sweet and sour properties. I ordered the special, but it didn’t seem to be all that tart; nonetheless, it was delicious. The bulgogi cheese fries were a beefy, gluttonous textural masterwork that didn’t benefit as a takeout item since the fries got a little soggy. Finally, the mandu—meat-filled dumplings (in my case, beef)—were crispy, warm, and filling. 9393 Bellaire Blvd, Ste A3

The ToreOre

The ToreOre, which specializes in double-dropped Korean fried chicken, is one of several vendors inside the produce-facing food court at the Super H Mart on Blalock Road. It sells an “original” chicken without sauce, so you can really appreciate the textured golden skin and taste the light salty finish. But those demanding a challenge should attempt a seven-piece Hot & Spicy. It's coated in a thick chili sauce, sweet and flavorful in one small end of the taste spectrum, but mostly hellishly fierce. 1302 Blalock Rd