Houston is not known for good Chinese food. Partially this is the result of having a relatively small Chinese community, however its also partially due to the local perspective on what constitutes good Chinese food. Sorry, Houstonians, but Pei Wei does not make the cut for me.
Luckily our work-lunch crew has several Chinese and Taiwanese natives, which has afforded us access to the best Chinese food Houston has to offer. While the selection of restaurants is small, if you have been spoiled by great Chinese in places like NYC and San Francisco, there is hope for you in Houston.
Saying goodbye to a co-worker is a good reason for a lunch outing. While we will miss her, we were excited for her new work adventure and to try Fu Fu, her favourite restaurant. As our expert for 12 Fu Fu virgins, we were grateful to have her order everything for us. In Chinese.
Fu Fu is located waay out near Beltway 8 in what is known as Chinatown-West, a sparkly, new development where you can find just about anything Chinese, Vietnamese and other Asian flavour. You’ll notice in the area, that even the apartment complexes have signage in Chinese. Fu Fu is a small restaurant catering mostly to the Chinese community. Its well-appointed, clean and very busy but quite relaxing. No musical distractions. No hurry up and out. Plenty of patience when answering questions.
All wins. I wont go over each of the 14 dishes our large group consumed but the highlights for me were
Salt Shrimp. Whole shrimp coated in a very light casing dusted with salt then flash fried. Pick off the head, grab the tail then enjoy, shell and all. I liked the simplicity of flavours, no need to disguise the shrimp, they were fresh, juicy and cooked to perfection.
Sizzling Chicken. I’m not exactly sure how this is made but it seems thin strips of chicken mixed with a batter similar to that used in General Tso’s, fried, placed on a hot plate then drizzled with a sauce that was initially hot (jalapeno) then faded to garlic and soy. I was a little reluctant to try this dish since it resembled General Tso’s and I’m not a fan of the sickly sweet sauce that accompanies that dish, but, pleasantly, that was not the case.
Service is very professional and efficient. Since Fu Fu is a more authentic Chinese restaurant their offerings differ from other Chinese venues in Houston, which prompted many questions. They answered them all very patiently. Our order for 14 people – 14 family style dishes with a few green onion pancakes and egg rolls was up in 25 minutes. All apps came out at once. A 15-minute pause. Then all dishes came out at once.
7 apps, 14 dishes, 8 hot teas – $17 a person, tip included. This is actually very reasonable considering we had many seafood options including Lobster Fried Rice.
While I’m not a fan of driving waay out to the Beltway for anything, I will definitely make a trip back to Fu Fu. And I’ll probably spend some time investigating the many grocery and specialty stores I noted in the area.
Lunch: 17 January 2014
Fu Fu Restaurant | 9889 Bellaire Blvd. | HTX 77036