Where to Brunch in Chinatown

Photo courtesy of Fung's Kitchen

In our Where to Brunch series, we search Houston’s vast array of neighborhoods for the very best brunch offerings.

With the second-largest Indochinese population in the country (outside of LA), it’s no surprise that Houston’s Chinatown is pretty, well, large. Though the neighborhood was first established on the eastside of Downtown, the cultural epicenter made its way to Southwest Houston in the 1980s and ‘90s. This expansive ‘hood, also referred to as Asiatown, is home to a thriving community, filled with a density of shops, local businesses, and places to brunch.

Note: For the purposes of this list, Chinatown is bounded by Hillcroft to the east, Dairy Ashford to the west, the Westpark Tollway to the north and Beechnut to the south. It includes the neighboring areas covering Greater Sharpstown as well as Alief.

Where to Brunch in Chinatown

  • 85°C Bakery Cafe – Dubbed the “Starbucks on Asia,” this bright and shiny newcomer is a super popular pastry chain from Taiwan. With a self-serve experience and outdoor patio, it’s a choice spot for an easy-going, casual brunch with friends. Sip taro lattes and iced boba milk and feast on deliciousness in the form of coffee or bacon-and-cheese bread, cheese dogs wrapped in pastry, Danish kissed with taro, caramel, and cream, flaky chocolate croissants and buttery brioche, cinnamon and custard rolls, coconut twists, almond half moons, egg tarts, cream puffs, mango cake, and chocolate chip cookies. Monday through Saturday opens at 7am; Sunday opens at 8am. Click here for directions.
  • Fung’s Kitchen – Be prepared to wait in a line to even enter the parking lot, this cult favorite dim sum palace packs its colossal dining room with hungry patrons each and every weekend. Be seated and you’ll find yourself picking off a steady stream of Hong Kong-style eats—steamed dumplings and buns plump with shrimp, pork, red bean and custard, sticky rice and crispy noodles, fried egg rolls, tofu and chicken feet, and all kinds of sweet puffs, cakes, and desserts. Fill up, sip some tea, and fill up some more. Saturday and Sunday 10am to 3pm. Click here for directions.
  • Golden Dim Sum – It’s dim sum all day every day at this Bellaire Boulevard staple, where the plates are just as cheap as they are tasty. You’ll likely encounter a wait for a table during typical weekend brunch hours, but that just gives you more time to peruse the menu (there are pictures to help). Will it be shrimp and pork shiu mai, scallop dumpling, pork ribs in black bean sauce, deep-fried taro puffs and sticky chicken feet in oyster sauce? Perhaps you’ll indulge in Chinese sausage rolls, steamed egg custard buns, shrimp-stuffed eggplant, Malaysian sponge cake, and crispy fried crab claws. Or maybe you’ll just get all of the above. Whatever you choose, come hungry. Monday through Friday opens at 10am; Saturday and Sunday opens at 9am. Click here for directions.
  • Fu Fu Café – Brunch at Fu Fu means you’re eating things like pork buns and green onion pancakes, fried Chinese doughnuts and sweet potato cakes, hot pots and soybean soup. Be sure to get the xiaolongbao, or soup dumplings, a house specialty. Daily opens at 11am. Click here for directions.
  • Hong Kong’s Café – Early risers can start with breakfast at this Cantonese eatery, though those looking for something later can hit tea time in the afternoon. Get traditional milk tea; breakfast platters with eggs, toast with sausage, ham or spam; Hong Kong-style French toast and egg tarts; noodle soup with pickled cabbage; and barbecue pork, chicken, and duck with rice. Cash only. Wednesday through Monday opens at 10am. Click here for directions.
  • Other great options  Hit Six Ping Bakery for traditional Taiwanese and Chinese breakfast, Bo Ne for Vietnamese steak and eggs, and House of Bowls for one of the city’s best versions of Hong Kong French toast; get your hands dirty with boldly-spiced Asian-Cajun-style crawfish at fan-favorite spots Crawfish Cafe, Crawfish & Noodles, and Cajun Kitchen; detox with bone marrow pho at Pho Binh; wake up with fiery Malaysian at Banana Leaf and Mamak; eat all the dumplings at Golden Dumpling House; and sip mango shakes alongside goat masala at Himalaya or fresh carrot and pomegranate juice along with 10-spice chicken pizza at Bismillah Cafe.
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Brooke Viggiano is a food and lifestyle writer residing in Houston. When she's not contributing to publications like 365 Things to Do in Houston, Thrillist Houston and the Houston Press, she's on the hunt for the coolest happenings in the city. You can follow her musings on Twitter @BrookeViggiano .