Population in Houston: 33,000 (the 10th largest Chinese population in the country)
Asia Society Texas
1370 Southmore Blvd., 713-496-9901, asiasociety.org/texas
The celebrated Museum District cultural center hosts events that unpack the entire Asian continent’s rich history and expansive social, political and cultural reaches. From family film nights in summer to performances by renowned visiting artists, to lectures and talks by experts in Asian cultures, to food events that draw massive crowds, the AST is one of the most prodigious cultural institutions in the city.
Chinese Community Center
9800 Town Park, 713-271-6100, ccchouston.org
Since its establishment in 1979 as a Chinese Language School, this community center has expanded to offer cultural and social services, as well as youth camp programs to families throughout Houston. The CCC also holds year-round heritage tours that explore Chinese food, art, history and shopping in the city and teach both calligraphy and tea tasting back at the Center itself, but it’s best known for its annual Lunar New Year festival that attracts over 15,000 locals and out-of-town visitors.
Chopin’s Corner Library
9600 Bellaire Blvd., 713-776-8916
Located inside Chinatown’s Dynasty Mall, this fine arts and literature library opened in 2006 with over 30,000 books in Mandarin, Cantonese and other Chinese languages. Since then, the collection has only grown, adding magazines and newspapers from Taiwan and much more.
7320 Southwest Fwy., Ste. 115, 713-779-2288, eatatfungs.com
All other dim sum joints in Houston are mere practice meals on the way to Fung’s Kitchen, where master chef Hoi Fung has slowly expanded both his menu (from 40 dishes to over 500) and his restaurant (from 3,000 to 25,000 square feet) since opening in 1995. These days, Fung’s is renowned for the freshness of its fish and seafood and its dim sum staples such as fried turnip cakes, steamed pork buns and shrimp xiu mai that you’ll be heaping on your table with every passing cart.
Jade Buddha Temple
6969 Westbranch Dr., 281-498-1616, jadebuddha.org
This elaborate house of worship is the perfect place to strengthen your spiritual state, or to simply take a tour and admire the many religious statues and beautiful decor. Covering 2 ½ acres, the temple features a grand hall, library, youth activity center, dining hall and a Bodhi Choir that welcomes singers of all religious backgrounds. Classes in Vipassana meditation and Buddhism are held throughout the month, and festival celebrations include Buddha’s birthday bathing ceremony.
8332 Southwest Fwy., 713-988-5838, peking-cuisine.com
Specializing in both northern Chinese (call ahead to reserve its famous Peking duck with pancakes) and Sichuan cuisine (don’t miss the chile oil-laced fuqi feipian, refreshing la pi and spicy maoxue wang), this Sharpstown-area restaurant has been a destination for mainland Chinese expats for almost 20 years. Peking Cuisine doesn't do delivery, though it does offer take-out, but let's be honest: you'll want to settle in around one of its big, round tables to really do this meal justice.
Welcome Food Center
9180 Bellaire Blvd., 713-270-7789
Bulging aisles barely contain the wide selection of Asian produce, meat, seafood, snacks and canned goods at this Chinatown supermarket. Feeling lazy? Get the chicken or duck roasted on-site by store chefs. But go early, especially on weekends, when the crowds are big and the poultry goes fast.
9889 Bellaire Blvd. #126, 713-777-003, yesktv.net
This popular karaoke bar and club offers over 150,000 songs in Chinese and a large selection in other languages (English, too). Grab some friends and your favorite beverage (it’s BYOB) for a fun-filled night on the cheap, or splurge on a VIP room for karaoke elegance at its finest.