Every week we showcase an enterprising Houstonian in “My Top 5” and ask them to share their own favorite ways to enjoy Houston in their downtime. This week we talked to Matthew Pak,who co-owns Houston Hots, which owns and manages four popular Houston food trucks and the soon-to-open in Montrose restaurant The Burger Joint.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Matthew Pak
- Korean Noodle House – Ever since my cousin found this place when he was getting an oil change at Midas across the street, this has been my go to when I’m craving a good home-cooked Korean meal. The Kimchi, in my opinion, is some of the best I’ve had, and I’ve eaten Kimchi since diapers. My favorite dishes are the seafood pancake, Yookajang (spicy beef and clear noodles), Jajamyeon (noodles in a black bean sauce), and Kimchi Jjigae Dubu (Kimchi soup with soft tofu). As a bonus, we have grown closer to the owners, and every time we come in to eat, they take our baby into the kitchen for a tour, so date night it is again!
- Cali Sandwich and Fast Food – This is probably my favorite Vietnamese spot. I will go back and forth between a Bahn Mi with BBQ pork and a fried egg or one of their amazing soups with blood sausage and tripe. A good chef friend of mine and I have become friends with the owner and her son over our many visits through the years. They even helped me out when there was that month long Siracha drought, with a few stashed cases for our food trucks.
- Donovan Park for Family Time – Not very often do I get extra time during the day, but when I do I sometimes go to the park with our one and half year old boy. He loves to swing! This park is always filled with neighborhood families. It’s a small wooden style playground with twirly slides and all the usual fun stuff.
- Local Foods – This is always a top five go-to lunch spot for me and my wife. Fresh and creative sandwiches and sides. I’m still waiting for that duck sandwich to hit the menu again! The line can get a little long at lunch time but i assure you it moves fairly quick and is well worth the short wait. The chefs and staff are very knowledgeable of the local product and menu too.
- Juice Box in Bellaire – My weakness is ice cream, frozen yogurt shops and shaved ice. Now Juice Box is where it’s at for me. My wife took me here when I was new to Houston and I’ve been addicted ever since. I just get the basic Taiwanese-style fruit with shaved ice and sweet and condensed milk; so simple and good.
About Matthew Pak
Matthew Pak is the founding partner of Houston Hots, which owns the food trucks Koagie Hots, Golden Grill, The Burger Joint Truck and Austin-based Coreanos, as well as the soon-to-open brick-and-mortar The Burger Joint restaurant near the corner of Westheimer and Montrose. Originally from Rochester, New York, Pak worked with Chef Robert McGrath and Chef Aaron in Scottsdale, Arizona before meeting his wife in Houston and relocating. He worked under Chef Mike Potowski at Benjy’s on Washington for four years, before be began his food truck collaboration with Houston restauranteur and bar owner Shawn Bermudez.