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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Counter service

Tue–Sun 11:00am–9:00pm

Features Kid-friendly, veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards None

Bellaire Chinatown
9938 Bellaire Blvd.
Houston, TX
(713) 988-8802
San Dong Noodle House
The secret at this tiny shop is to only order food with outerwear

When the dreary Santong Snacks, which developed a feverish horde of followers for its exemplary dumplings, moved into brighter, shinier digs and became San Dong Noodle House, there was a severe drop in the near-perfect quality of its prized preparations. Not enough to completely eradicate it from our radar, but it was certainly no longer in the upper echelon of Chinese eateries. But we’ve since seen steady improvement, and things are almost as excellent as they were before the move. We’re not sure what it is about grimy, tiny places—we think of those things as “seasoning”—but they’re usually primo spots for finding the city’s best Chinese food (whatever city, really). That said, San Dong’s nicer, cleaner—but still modest—digs produce pan-seared pork dumplings with that elusive crispy bottom; they’re juicy and bursting with flavor on the inside. Really, they’re some of the best in town. Leeks are assertively funky in that wonderful Chinese leek way. Pan-fried pork with rice is also reliably good, with the flattened, panko-coated pork like an Asian chicken-fried steak; its tangy pickled cabbage brightens it considerably.

Other dishes are serviceable, but not among the best in their class. The key to success here is to order it only if it’s wearing some kind of dough or bread-crumb jacket.

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