When it comes to finding Asian restaurants in Houston, there are more than enough to choose from, but this begs the question, which ones serve the most authentic style of food, and which ones give that true Asian experience?
I have put together this guide so you can get the whole experience of Asian dining without having to leave Houston.
Where to Find The Most Authentic Asian Food in Houston?
If, like me, you get fed up with the same dishes every time you visit your local Thai, Indian or Chinese restaurant, this will help you broaden your choice.
Throughout this guide, I will be looking beyond the typical Asian restaurants you tend to find on every corner of Houston and instead looking for the places which give you the true experience of Asian dining.
I will be looking at the general atmosphere of the restaurants, the dishes they serve, the service they provide, and the cost of a meal out. I will also look at what they provide in terms of vegetarian, vegan, and other specialized diets. I will also give you a brief idea of how much you can expect to spend on your meal so there are no nasty surprises when you get the check.
So, on that note, in no particular order, here are what I deemed to be the most authentic Asian restaurants in Houston.
|Address||904 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77006|
|Food||Sashimi, bluefin tuna, nigiri, freshwater eel, short rib, salmon|
|Our Recommendation||Soft Shell Crab Maki|
This place has a lot to offer in terms of food, service, authenticity, and presentation. I would say they have got just about everything absolutely spot on.
Firstly, the service was fantastic; we were greeted warmly and seated within minutes despite not having a booking. (We visited around 4 pm when they first opened, and it was mid-week) Also, if you go early, you can take advantage of their Happy Hour menu.
They offer a dining style called omakase, which basically means a selection of small plates selected by the chef on the day, so you get a total surprise and a great combination of flavors. If you want to make the most of this experience, I recommend trying the 10-course tasting menu. It gives you a great variety and means you can try more dishes.
However, if you’re really hungry, you might want to opt for one of the larger main courses, as they tend to be more filling. I opted for the soft shell crab, which wasn’t a massive portion, but still, filling enough and plentiful for $17.00.
They have a fantastic sushi selection and the luxurious option of caviar if you feel like splashing out.
All of the seafood was incredibly fresh, well prepared, and beautifully presented. It was a truly fine dining experience.
There are plenty of options for vegetarians, too, so nobody will feel restricted about what they can eat.
Overall, the prices are pretty steep, but only what’s expected for seafood at such high quality, so it is probably somewhere you want to visit for a special occasion and a memorable dining experience.
Oh, and be sure to order the sake with your meal too.
2. Mala Sichuan Bistro
|Address||9348 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036-4504|
|Food||Fresh seafood, soup, noodles, beef, pork belly|
|Our Recommendation||Water Boiled Fish Filet|
As you have probably guessed by the name, Mala Sichuan specializes in Sichuan food, which is known for its spicy, mouth-numbing flavors. This place is absolutely on point when it comes to delivering authenticity.
They offer a great selection of dishes, some of which are aimed at Sichuan’s well-known flavors and some tailored more towards the general American palette. So, if you’re dining with someone who’s not brave enough to take the heat, there will be something for them too.
Some menu options include plum spare ribs, garlic cordyceps, red oil dumplings, crab meat, asparagus soup, and basil crispy chicken.
I decided to go for the water-boiled fish filet, which was bass that had been braised in a spiced bean curd sauce, and poured over steamed napa cabbage with leeks, garnished with boiling oil, fresh garlic, and ginger and chili powder. The fish literally melted in your mouth, and the flavor combination was outstanding.
There is an abundance of choices, so whether you’re a meat eater, pescatarian, veggie, or vegan, you won’t be short of options.
Although I felt like I was getting an authentic experience, there wasn’t much in terms of atmosphere. The walls are brightly decorated, but I felt the overall vibe fell slightly flat. However, the service was excellent, the staff was friendly, and the prices were good at around $15.00 – $17.00 for a good-sized main course, so all in all, still a great experience.
Also Read:- 7 Best Places Serving Halal Food in Houston, TX
|Address||1802 W 18th St, Houston, TX 77008-1204|
|Food||Vermicelli, rice platters, fried rice, shaking beef, spring rolls|
|Our Recommendation||The shaking beef|
Hughes is an authentic American/Vietnamese restaurant situated in Timbergrove, a neighborhood just 5 minutes from Downtown Houston. It used to be a restaurant called “Queen Burger,” so when the owner decided to change it to Hughes, they opted to keep some of the old traditions from the old place, which is where the fusion comes from.
From the minute you walk in here, you can feel the love and the work they put into making every customer have a brilliant experience. They really strive to bring you the best of their cultures and traditions.
The dining style is pretty casual, so there is no need to get your glad rags on. It’s the perfect spot if you want to pop in for a sandwich or bowl of noodles, and I think it’s great that there is a place like this where you have both options of good quality.
It is a tavern-type establishment, which offers a great selection of craft ales and beers, but it’s totally child and family-friendly, so it’s the perfect spot to take the kids should you wish. They are also open from 11:00 am, so there is no need to wait until dinner time to visit.
They have a lunch menu and a separate dinner menu, but both menus consist of similar items. The variety is excellent; while you can choose something simple like a basket of chicken tenders or a classic cheeseburger, you also have the option of the more authentic dishes, such as shaking beef, Bahn mi, and vermicelli.
I opted for the shaking chicken fried rice with a side of steamed dumplings. The dumplings were steamed perfectly, with plenty of filling, and the fried rice had so much flavor and texture, with pickled vegetables, jalapenos, and fresh coriander to finish it off.
Regarding the prices, I would say it was average, most of the main courses were in the range of $11.00 – $14.00, and you did get quite a lot for your money, the dumplings were $9.00, and there were 8 in a portion, so not bad at all.
There is ample choice when it comes to vegetarian dishes, though they all consist of tofu, such as the lemongrass tofu and tofu spring rolls, and all of the main courses can be ordered with tofu also. Maybe not the best place to go if you’re a veggie who doesn’t enjoy tofu.
They have a small dessert menu consisting of Vietnamese tiramisu and caramel pecan cheesecake and also have a children’s menu.
If you don’t want to try their craft beers, you could opt for something else off their drinks menu, such as Thai tea, Lagunitas happy water, or root beer. They do have a selection of soft drinks like coke and lemonade also.
4. North China Restaurant
|Address||14525 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77079-1324|
|Food||Noodles, soup, scallops, chicken bites, spring rolls, crab puffs, sweet and sour|
|Our Recommendation||Birds Nest Fish Filet|
North China Restaurant is known as being one of the most popular Chinese restaurants in Houston. The style of cuisine is Mandarin. I would say that out of all the Asian restaurants in the area; this one stood out in terms of authenticity, style, and diversity.
What makes these guys so unique is that between them, the chefs have over 100 years of experience, so they really do know their stuff when it comes to Chinese cooking.
They pride themselves on creating distinct and memorable dishes, which are all prepared to appeal to all the senses. From how they present the food to the flavor combinations they use, this is definitely somewhere that delights in serving excellence.
On the menu, expect dishes such as sesame beef, minced garlic fish filet, shrimp in black bean sauce, mandarin hot chicken, and chow ma mian. My choice was the Birds Nest Fish Filet, which was battered fish cooked with garlic, green onions, broccoli, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, napa cabbage, crispy strips of potato, and a white sauce.
I also got myself a side dish of chicken rolls. Everything I had was super vibrant on the plate and presented really well, and regarding flavor, it had everything, sweet, sour, spice, and umami.
When it came to prices, I did think it was slightly higher than expected, but then again, in my head, I was comparing it to your average Chinese meal, which this was far from. The main courses come up around $17.00, and the appetizers are anywhere from $5.50 to $18.99, although I am presuming the highest-priced ones are for sharing.
A vegetarian menu offers dishes such as sweet and sour tofu, veggie hot bean curd, Chinese cabbage, and black mushroom. So plenty of variety.
Overall, this definitely deserves to be mentioned as one of Houston’s most authentic Asian restaurants.
5. Oishii Restaurant
|Address||3764 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77046-3704|
|Food||Handrolls, sashimi, sushi, sunomono, salad, soup, oysters|
|Our Recommendation||Black Dragon Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, Miso Soup|
Lastly is Oishii restaurant, which is located near the Greenway Plaza. This family-owned establishment offers up some of the finest Japanese cuisines in Houston.
Serving dishes such as sushi, tempura, teriyaki, sashimi, saki, fine wines, and lager.
This place is known well by the locals and is often somewhere people return to time and time again because of the unique experience and fresh food.
They offer a lunch and dinner menu, providing an excellent selection for a reasonable price. This would be a great place to come if you were sharing with a group, as everything is in small plate form, you could get a better taste for everything by ordering 10-15 dishes between you. Otherwise, you’re just totally spoiled for choice. I went for a small selection of rolls, a handroll, and a miso soup; everything was seasoned well and prepared fresh.
All the dishes are between $3.00 and $15.00 but keep in mind that these are small plates designed. Still a great price for excellent quality, though.
To Sum Up
So after reading this guide, I hope your eyes are now open to a whole new variety of options when it comes to finding genuinely authentic Asian restaurants. Whichever one you choose for your next meal out is guaranteed to give you a whole new experience.
If you thought this guide was helpful, you might also want to take a look at some of the other informative articles on Houston, such as 10 Best Restaurants in Houston Worth Checking Out and 7 Best Places To Have Thai Food in Houston.