July 31, 2022

Exploring Chinatown- A Michael Shum Adventure

“ We decided to have some fun and make it an adventure in Chinatown.

First stop, beverages! We picked up the Soy Bean Milk at Bao Shi Yi  Bun House 包十一i. The menu and its presentation have been reworked. The place is quite lively in the morning I was so happy to see a big Hispanic family enjoying their meal here, eating traditional Chinese breakfast items. I’m calling the Soy Bean Milk here the best I had in Houston. The texture is thick and silky smooth, aromatic, and tasty. We got the no sugar hot option, it’s perfectly sweet already on its own. 

Next stop we got a hot Sea Salt Coffee at 85C Bakery Cafe and picked up Hokkaido Chiffon Cup for dessert later. With 2 types of hot beverages to fuel our morning, we continue on our adventure.

Tous Les Jours is close by, located inside of Hmart Supermarket. This Korean Bakery has some of the best French bread and pastries in Houston, beating some bakeries that specialize in French baked goods. We get a couple of pastries that we can eat right away. The Pain Aux Raisins is the best in Houston. There I go again, boldly making that statement. Very few places make this pastry, Magnol has it on some occasions, but this little Korean bakery with imported ingredients and recipe from their Korean headquarter is better in our opinion. They ran out of Plain Croissant, so I got a Cocoa Hazelnut Croissant instead. Again, I’m gonna call it the best Cocoa Hazelnut Croissant in Houston, because the sweetness is perfect, the Croissant retains its form, and the filling is not overstuffed. I highly recommend Tous Les Jours for French Pastries.

Of course, we have to go to our favorite Chinese bakery in Dun Huang Plaza. King Bakery specializes in Cantonese or Hong Kong-style Pastries. We prefer the Egg Tarts here because the Custard is less runny and less sweet, resembles more of that we find in Asia. The Pineapple Buns, Boh Loh Baau, or Chinese Concha as I call it, are a must here, and also best in town. The reason it’s called Pineapple Buns is the top layer of checkered Sugar Cookie Crust that looks like the epicarp of a Pineapple. They come in 3 versions, plain with no fillings, Milk Powder, and Milk Custard Fillings. If people buy the plain version, they usually split the bun and stuff a thick pad of Butter in the middle, perfect with a cup of hot Yin Yeung, a Cantonese drink composed of a mixture of coffee and milk tea. We get the Pineapple Buns with Milk Powder and Custard fillings, and a Cantonese Pig in a Blanket Bun.

The final stop before picking up father-in-law is to procure our lunch. At the request of the old man, we got Vietnamese Sandwiches, Banh Mi, at yet another of our favorite places, Nguyen Ngo French Cafe. Father-in-law likes the giant Croissant instead of Baguette because it’s easier to chew for him. He got his with Pate and Jambo. Vanessa likes the Baguette, and hers is with Pate and Saucisson. I went with my usual House Special, Dac Biet, with Pate, Shredded Chicken, and Jambon. The secret ingredient here is their Butter and Mayo spread. Any sandwiches are simply elevated with their proprietary blend of Butter and Mayo. 

As many friends have stated, there are so many choices in Houston Chinatown that seems overwhelming at times. I’m sharing our morning adventure here to use a loose guide on what you might like. I don’t know if there’s a motto for Houstonians who love to stay in this city, but I will say, 

“Keep Houston Diverse!”

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