Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fung's Kitchen - Dim Sum - Houston

Before hitting the road back to Jackson, we knew we had to have one last crack at dim sum. It has become a tradition that every trip to the area ends with dim sum at Fung’s Kitchen.

Off 59 south on the Bellaire exit, it’s pretty easy to miss Fung’s amidst the sportbike and atv dealerships.

However, once you find it, you’re greeted with typical Chinese touches such as the pagoda exterior, the foo dogs, and an abundance of red and gold in the decoration.

Stereotypical Chinese décor aside, you can’t help but notice the tanks of live seafood on the wall, but for that’s for another time. I’m here for the dim sum, the best in Houston.

Just like our meal at Kim Son, we started this dim sum with a nice fried dish.

Tom Chà Gio (crispy shrimp roll) are an auspicious start to a meal. Full of minced shrimp, the crunchy roll are perfect with chili oil and soy sauce. I’m not sure how they got the roll to be so crispy. It’s almost as if they took a spring roll wrapper and dunked it in egg whites and bread crumbs. Either way, they’re just great.

Seen Juk Guen (bean curd rolls), these are quickly becoming my favorite dim sum dish. Even though they are a little greasy, these bean curd sheets have been wrapped around pork, fried and then steamed. Imbued with pork flavor, they’re messy and delicious.

Suòn Háp Tau Xi (steamed pork spare ribs with black bean sauce), always a family favorite, and Fung’s delivers. These little spare ribs meld extremely well with the blacks beans and form that sublime sauce. I did prefer the version at Kim Son if only for the little bit of pepper.

Há Cáo (steamed shrimp dumplings spelled, yet another way) are a shining example why Fung’s Kitchen is the best dim sum in Houston. They may not be as meaty as the version at Kim Son but these have a extremely thin dough that let the tantalizing pink of the shrimp shine through.

Xíu Mai (Fung’s steamed shrimp & pork dumplings) is another shining star for Fung’s. The pork does slightly overshadow the shrimp, but the freshness and resilience of the steamed meat nulls that minor fault.

I decided to take a look at what else was available to the dim sum patrons.

Here at the steamer table, there were a variety of options, from pork blood with chives to fried noodles, clams with black beans, squid, duck’s feet with black bean sauce. I decided to stick to the rather inconspicuous.

Clams with black bean sauce was a nice little side dish. Despite black beans being in the name, this little bivalves were bursting with the flavor of ginger.

The other item I got from the steamer table was squid in spicy salt. I don’t know where the spice was in the salt, but these were well cooked pieces of squid.

Tóm Vién Hap Xói (steamed shrimp balls with sticky rice), or Lion’s mane balls, are not for the dim sum novice. At first bite, you think these are nothing but glutinous rice balls, but one you get past the starchy exterior, there’s a moist, minced shrimp interior. These little balls of shrimp and rice are a real workout for the jaws, but well worth the effort.

I have no idea what this is actually called; the waitress said something along the lines of duck dessert roll. I’d never seen one before and I was surprised when I took a bite.

Inside this odd roll is a few pieces of roast duck and a spoonful of sweet mayonnaise. An odd combination, it’s not at all what I was expecting. Nevertheless, this is a decent choice, though I’m not too sure I’d repeat.

Bánh Cuón Xá Xíu (steamed bbq pork rice noodle), covered in sweet soy sauce, this is always a challenging dish. It always seems like this dish is your best bet to stain your shirt. All stains aside, this is a classic dish and well worth the difficulty.

I’m not really sure why we ordered two types of shui mai, but this version is completely shrimp and features a much more delicate flavor than the pork & shrimp combo. I prefer this all shrimp version; the sweetness of the shrimp is a dynamite companion to my plate of soy sauce and chilis.

Bánh Xép Thit Chién (pan fried pork dumpling) was a great way to finish out the meal. Potstickers are always a treat and these are no exception.

Fung’s Kitchen has been consistently rated as the best dim sum in Houston, and there’s a reason for it. The restaurant is small enough to maintain a high standard of quality and an amazing flavor to all their dishes. In fact, the only complaint I’ve ever heard about Fung’s is that parking can be a real pain in the ass. Regardless of the parking problem and the potential wait, Fung’s is a worthwhile endeavor and a guaranteed part of every one of my trips to Houston.

For Fung's Kitchen - Dim Sum part 2, please click here

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Dalton said...

The restaurant is NOT on 610 South, it's on 59 South. I live behind it. Check a Google map if you don't believe me.

Cynical Cook said...


-Thanks for the correction