HOUGuide

The Best Dim Sum In Houston

Great restaurants with dumplings, BBQ pork buns, egg custard, and beyond.
The Best Dim Sum In Houston image

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

We assume the reason early every culture, country, and cross section of people on Earth make some form of dumplings might be because food wrapped in another food that then gets steamed or fried is, without question, delicious. And if you love foods wrapped in other foods (who doesn’t?), then you should probably hop on the dim sum train, or, rather cart. Houston’s mix of dim sum spots combine Cantonese and some Vietnamese cuisine into a nonstop parade of shrimp shumai, BBQ pork buns, egg custard, red bean buns, and crystal har gow, to name a few. Houston’s dim sum spots are so great, you might even turn into a dumpling yourself.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

Dim Sum

Sharpstown

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsBrunch
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Fung’s Kitchen in Sharpstown offers the best Cantonese-style dim sum service in Houston. Family owned and operated since the ‘90s, the seafood tank-lined, absolutely massive dining room at Fung’s fills up with dumpling seekers every weekend. Big groups flag down their favorite carts and eagerly watch servers playfully airlift hot stainless steel steamer trays of har gow, shumai, chicken feet, BBQ pork, and steamed buns galore onto massive tables. And while Fung’s is built for special occasions, no matter what, the staff turns dim sum cart service into such joyful entertainment that turning down any dish offered to your table feels wrong somehow. Keep those carts coming, and come up with any reason to visit Fung’s Kitchen.


photo credit: Gianni Greene

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Nestled in Midtown, Taste Of Mulan is where we go for a quiet dim sum meal. Cheers over a few glasses of cold sake, and take down tins of pillowy bao buns stuffed with BBQ pork. Or have a savory turnip cake with crispy edges that could bring us out of the worst moods. The dim sum list comes ready for you to check off to your heart’s content, but you can always add more if you’re like us and didn’t expect the delicate har gow to change the course of your life. And with personal bottles of chili oil on every table, we recommend adding as much spice as you can handle—it’s OK if your eyes water a bit.


photo credit: Quit Nguyen

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsBrunch
RESERVE A TABLE

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Appropriately named, Ocean Palace is a massive fortress at the edge of Chinatown. Surrounded by an actual, questionably blue fountain-moat, the largest dim sum spot in Houston often gets so busy the hosts announce when your table’s ready via microphone. On the weekends, giant groups converge to grab crispy crab croquettes, shrimp har gow, and plates of sauced-up up chicken feet from dim sum carts that may or may not be participating in some version of the Indy 500. Here you have to grab what you can, when you can. Got a group of thirty that need weekend brunch? That’s nothing for Ocean Palace.

photo credit: Gianni Greene

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsBrunch

The Chinatown joint Kim Son has our favorite type of dim sum: unlimited. While the banquet hall isn’t decorated to the tee, it leaves more time to focus on the scores of food to get through. Every day of the week during lunch service, the middle of the massive buffet hall is devoted to steaming tins of dim sum. Swing by before 3pm from crisped turnip cake, delicate har gow, and sizzling shui mai. Get pan-fried noodles made to order, serve yourself decadent pieces of eel rolls, and get fresh pressed sugar cane juice on an unlimited tap. Strategize the rounds of food you’ll go through for brunch, or swing by with a crew and tackle as much of the buffet as humanly possible.


Crammed into the first floor of the Don Huang Plaza of Chinatown, HK Dim Sum serves classic (but cartless) Cantonese-style dim sum. Unlike the other dim sum spots on this list, HK has a small dining room with only a couple group-friendly tables. We like to go here solo or for a quick lunch date, quickly mark choices on the order sheet, and eat mountains of fresh dumplings in near silence. HK serves all the classics: shumai, har gow, various steamed dumplings and buns, but we also like the chicken congee with thick hunks of ginger, especially on Houston’s rare cool and rainy afternoons.


photo credit: Chelsea Thomas

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Golden Dim Sum in Chinatown may be a little worn in—or just waiting to undergo a massive renovation like the shiny new digs at Fung’s and Ocean Palace—but it's the Catonese food at Golden that keeps your attention. Order everything here via the sheet on your table (with help from the full-color picture menus). Everything comes out hot and fresh at a fast clip, with the steam buns, especially the sweet and crushable BBQ pork, as standouts. And snacking on everything in a red and teal dining room straight out of a 1980s imagining of a Cantonese restaurant feels all the more fun, even without the classic cart service. 


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