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A Day in Chinatown

If you live in Houston then a trip to Chinatown is an absolute must. In fact, that's probably the first place I take people when they visit me from abroad.

Chinatown is like a pandora's box, it's endless options of entertainment and dining options calling your name, begging you to get lost. My dear friend Sara introduced me to this Houston gem years ago and I have since relied on its small shops to breathe life back in to me after a hard week. There is a ton of things to do in Chinatown but for this post, I will stick to my top 4.

"The shrimp dumplings at HK Dim Sum may look simple but DAMN they're delicious, especially eaten with their Oyster sauce... Mmmmmm yummy!"

Massage: I would definitely start the day at JK Foot spa. Ya'll... are you ready for this? You can get a 1 hour massage for all of $20! I'm not even kidding. Get their foot massage and don't panic, this option is more of a full body than a "foot" massage. It starts with around 15 minutes of face and head massage while your feet soak in warm water. Calming music will send you to a place far far away from the day's stresses. After spendign a few minutes massaging your arms and hands, your personal massage therapist will spend half an hour on legs and feet, really working those pressure points (beware the toe massage, you will be tickled). Once you think you're done you'll be pleasantly surprised to learn that there is more to come. You will escorted to another room where the massage therapist goes to work on your back for a good 15 minutes. Suffice it to say, you will leave this place feeling euphoric and in a natural high.

Food: Now that you're relaxed you can float downstairs to HK Dim Sum where the shrimp dumplings are just the right texture and the singapore street noodles are to die for. I remember the first time I brought my husband here, he thought I was exaggerating when I told him the host would take one look at us and yell out sternly where we should be seated. This dude is intense and my husband thought it was absolutely hilarious when the host, as soon as we walked through the door, was shouting at us to sit at the corner table. Don't get me wrong, he's not being mean, he just has an always packed restaurant to manage and he will do it without any bullshit. I think it adds to the charm to be honest. Now I'm not the most adventurous eater, even though I am a big time foodie; at this place, I stick to shrimp dumplings, singapore or fried noodles, the eggplant dish and most importantly the red bean sesame balls. I don't share the sesame balls, you will understand why when you try them. Pro tip: you can order a container of the chili oil to use at home, I can smother ANYTHING in that chili oil it is sooo good.

Dessert: I know those sesame balls were borderline sweet but nope, that was NOT dessert. Dessert is next door at Nu Ice. Get ready to try the smoothest and most refreshing shaved ice. This is not your coarse shaved ice with artificial flavoring squeezed on, this takes hours and hours to make and those icy cold ribbons will delight your senses. You get to choose your size (hill or mountain), your flavor (strawberry is my favorite, but you also have to try the salted caramel) and then add a plethora of toppings like matcha, boba, fresh fruit, and nuts. Kids will love this place and if you live closer in town, there's another Nu Ice on Westheimer near Galleria that you can enjoy mid week.

Baked Goods: I know, we've already eaten way too much but listen, across the street is 85 degree bakery and you just CAN'T leave without getting some yummy buns and a coffee from 85 degree bakery, like it's just not ok to do that. Do yourself a favor and cross the street, you will lose yourself in the endless options of stuffed buns, tarts, cakes and puddings. Don't leave without the fluffy cheese cake. I remember once getting one and finishing half of it in the car on the way home. My kids weren't pleased.


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