Taste of Asia in the center of Houston

Taste of Asia in the center of Houston

 

It’s Asian Pacific Heritage Month, a whole month dedicated to celebrating the traditions, culture, and history of Asian Americans in the United States! In honor of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, on today’s foodie adventure I will checked out two prominent Asian restaurants in Midtown Houston.

Mai’s Restaurant

Let’s start with a little history shall we? Mai’s Restaurant, a family business, was founded in the 1970’s. Mai’s was one of the first establishments to introduce Vietnamese cuisine to the Houston community. In 2010, there was a fire that destroyed the building, but Mai’s has recovered beautifully. The restaurant is inspired by touches of the old with a modern, casual dining vibe. With recipes that have been passed down through generations, Mai’s continues to serve tasty and traditional Vietnamese cuisine.
What I ordered! Food that’ll make you go #OhMAIgoodness

 

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​But first, coffee!
​Did you really go to a Vietnamese restaurant if you didn’t order an Iced Vietnamese Drip Coffee (Ca Phe Sua Da)?

 

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Lotus Root Salad (Goi Ngo Sen Tom Thit)

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Catfish Fillets in a Caramelized Fish Sauce (Ca Kho To)

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Viet Style Hot & Sour Soup (Canh Chua)

I ordered some of my favorite Vietnamese dishes! For my appetizer, I opted for a sweet, savory, and spicy Goi Ngo Sen Tom Thit! This salad is so flavorful: it is a mix of pork, shrimp, cucumbers, herbs, red onion, lotus root, and carrots tossed in a fish sauce based dressing.

For my main course I decided on a classic fish dish called Ca Kho To. Ca Kho To is a family-style dish (big portions) and is meant to be eaten with a bowl of rice (not by itself, but you can if you want). The catfish fillets are simmered in a blend of fish sauce and spices until caramelized!
For the last dish I ordered Canh Chua. For all my Vietnamese food lovers out there, you know Ca Kho To and Canh Chua are like yin and yang: they complement each other so well.
Last but not least, DESSERT! (ALWAYS ROOM FOR DESSERT).

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Pictured here is the Vietnamese Coffee Flan!

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Overall, my visit at Mai’s was terrific! I loved how every dish came out, and how great everything tasted. I grew up eating these dishes, and I have to say the flavors were truly on point. The Canh Chua had just the right amount of sweetness from the pineapple, but also just the right amount of sourness and spice. I served myself two bowls of soup! The salad was light and refreshing to eat. The catfish was perfectly braised and caramelized.
Next time you visit, I highly suggest you try ordering something different, such as the dishes I mentioned above! They have other great dishes such as Vermicelli Noodles, and Shaking Beef (Bu Luc Lac), but be a little adventurous!

Siu Lap City

Goodbye Long Sing Supermarket, Hello Siu Lap City!
There used to be a place in Houston called Long Sing Supermarket that sold Chinese BBQ. It was the place to get your Chinese BBQ fix without having to drive all the way to Bellaire Blvd., but unfortunately they closed down a few years ago. Fast forward, they came back from their hiatus and rebranded as Siu Lap City!

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This is what a Chinese BBQ display looks like!
When you first lay your eyes on the display of case of Chinese BBQ, you might be intimidated by its looks. The meats are whole, not chopped, to retain the structure and flavor during the roasting process! Depending on your order, it will be chopped up into smaller portions.
Food siu good, you’ll be wanting more!

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Close-up view of the BBQ pork and Roasted Duck

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Pictured in front: Lunch Special with Duck and BBQ pork

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Side Order of Roasted Pork Belly
Their most popular item is the Roasted Pork Belly. The pork belly is chopped up into bite sized pieces, the skin is roasted to perfection: super crispy and crunchy on the outside with a perfect fat to meat ratio on the inside. The BBQ Pork is glazed in a sweet and savory sauce that is also a fan favorite! The Roasted Duck is roasted with some assorted spices, and is packed with flavor (no gamey taste at all)!

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I am so happy Siu Lap City is in Midtown Houston! The Chinese BBQ tastes amazing, and I love how the cooking process retains the juiciness of the meats without drying it out. This place has great lunch deals and you can easily get a filling meal for around $8. If you’ve never tried Chinese BBQ before, I highly suggest ordering a lunch special with two meats to get a feel of the different protein options. My personal favorites is the Roasted Pork Belly and BBQ Pork!
I hope you enjoyed following along my foodie adventure! I had such a blast visiting Mai’s Restaurant and Siu Lap City! I would like to thank Midtown Houston again for inviting me out to highlight the two prominent Asian restaurants in Midtown Houston. Make sure to check out Midtown Houston and give them a follow! They have the latest Midtown Houston news on food, events, and more!

If you have not seen my Instagram post yet, make sure to check it out and give it a like!