Today I am going to highlight some of my favorite spots to get Korean food in Houston, Texas as well as my go to Korean dishes! After being away from the states for so long it definitely changed my diet and the types of food I crave. Now I frequently find myself craving the food that I used to eat every day like kimchi, rice or bulgogi. However the number one thing I always want is Tuna Kimbap (참치김밥/chamchi kimbap)! Thankfully one of the many benefits of being in a relationship with Sangheon is that he makes me kimbap quite often. His parents actually own and run restaurants in Seoul so of course he’s picked up some cooking skills along the way.
Check out his handy work below:
But when we both don’t feel like cooking and want some Korean cuisine we head to either the Koreatown or Chinatown areas of Houston. Both are located near the H-Mart locations which are popular Asian supermarkets here in the States. Inside H-Mart there are restaurants with plenty of food options. Even if you aren’t familiar with Korean food you can check out the pictures and ask for recommendations. Let’s take a look at some of the things Sangheon and I order the most often.
Bibimbap (비빔밥) is equally delicious as is it simple. This mixed rice dish is perfect to eat for lunch or dinner and a good introductory food for beginners. Personally I love adding the spicy gochujang (red pepper paste) sauce to it. As you can see from the picture this dish consists of a series of finely chopped seasoned vegetables, warm rice, sunny side up egg, and sometimes beef or seafood. You simply mix everything together and enjoy! This dish is normally pretty quite budget friendly too.
Bulgogi (불고기) is essentially marinated thin slices of beef. This dish is not super spicy so if you aren’t a spice lover like myself then this dish would probably be for you. Of course with any Korean meal there are numerous side dishes (반찬) so you will always feel very full after eating at a Korean restaurant.
Sundubu Jjigae (순두부 찌개) or spicy tofu soup. I always get the seafood option myself and this is one of my absolute favorite meals I ate while I lived abroad. They normally add a variety of vegetables to it as well such as shiitake mushrooms. The spicy taste of this soup with the fluffy tofu, egg, and fresh seafood always makes you feel warm inside, which is why friends and I ate it quite frequently during the winter season.
Dakgalbi (닭갈비) is another spicy dish but this time it is marinated stir-fried chicken. Normally this is tossed together with cabbage, tteok, scallions, perilla leaves, and sometimes sweet potato. Normally my favorite part of this dish ends up being the cabbage, because I love how it tastes in gochujang sauce! When I order this in Houston it’s a far cry from the normal preparation you experience in Korea, but it’s still tastes wonderful.
Galbitang (갈비탕) is another soup for those that avoid spicy foods. This hearty soup contains beef short ribs, clear broth, onion, Korean radish, and some starch noodles. I love the mild taste and this broth is to die for.
Korean Sashimi (회) is beyond delicious is you ever get the change to try it! It is normally served with multiple side dishes seen below. We decided to go to Il Me Jung Korean Restaurant also known as Dokdo Restaurant with two of our friends. My friend recommended that people should go with a small group because you will be given a lot of food plus since it’s Houston and not Korea you can expect it to be on the pricey side. While Korean sashimi is thinly slice raw fish it does not taste overly fishy like you might imagine, at least it should not if it’s truly fresh!
Patbingsu or Shaved Ice (팥빙수) is one of my favorite Korean desserts. It’s not like the traditional shaved ice that we have here in America. There are numerous variations with different flavors and toppings such as red bean and fruit. When I go I usually get the coffee bingsu or the traditional patbingsu with red bean, because it’s my favorite. My friends opted for the green tea bingsu which was also tasty. Check out our colorful desserts below, we got these from Koryo Bakery & Cafe next to H-Mart.
There you have it! Those are some of our go-to foods when we order Korean food in Houston. As time passes I am sure we will discover more and more hidden gems, but for now I have listed our favorite Korean restaurants below. If you have any restaurant recommendations then let me know in the comments!
($$) Jang Guem Tofu & BBQ House: 9896 Bellaire Blvd, Ste. J, Houston, TX 77036
($$) Il Me Jung Korean Restaurant (Also called Dokdo Restaurant), 10017 Long Point RdHouston, TX 77055
($$) Myung Dong Restaurant: 6415 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77074 (Warning* this one looks sketchy outside (look for the green windows) but it’s so good and the people are very nice!)
($) Jumma Food (Inside H-Mart): 1302 Blalock Rd, Houston, TX 77055
($) Koryo Bakery & Cafe (This is for baked goods and patbingsu, it’s next to H-Mart): 1304 Blalock Rd, Houston, TX 77055