Nothing says Houston like spicy Viet Cajun-style crawfish, and this Asiatown staple introduced the dish to hungry residents before Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods and David Chang’s Ugly Delicious brought the larger world’s attention to chef Trong Nguyen, who’s earned a James Beard semifinalist nod. During crawfish season, it’s criminal not to order the namesake dish, a stir-fried buttery garlic delicacy with just the right amount of spice. Other worthy dishes include stir-fried blue crab, chicken wings, and bo luc lac, stir-fried beef with rice. No need to dress up for this casual West Houston spot; just take a group for maximum ordering capacity. Oh, and ask for a bib.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the best of the south lies in Tex-Mex restaurants, at least not in Houston, which boasts one of the most exciting culinary scenes in America. The fact is that their restaurant scene is as ethnically diverse as the six million-plus residents that inhabit. Translation: 10,000 restaurants representing more than 70 different cuisines.
Those with an expectation for Tex-Mex and barbecue need not worry. Those mainstays are widely done and done darn well. But did you know that Houston has the second-largest Indochinese population in America, behind Los Angeles? Chinatown ain’t no novelty lil’ town—it’s a thriving district. Add Gulf Coast seafood, decadent European fare, and authentic South-East Asian delights, and well, you’re in foodie heaven…with Texas-sized portions. We’ve plucked our favorites from the mahoosive range of eateries available, so all y’all gotta do is show up hungry and wear loose-fitting pants.