Home Is Where the Heart Is

It has been a few months since I’ve been home to Houston to visit my parents.  I realize as I grow older, the more I begin to appreciate all the things my parents have done for me.  I often feel foolish for the way I acted during my adolescence but being good parents, they handled me with great patience and love.  Every time I leave home, I am always sad to go — granted I only live 4 hours away I miss being able to see my parents whenever I want to.

I had a wonderful time seeing my mom and dad, granted I did not have a traditional Thanksgiving, I had a wonderful one with both of my parents.  In the early afternoon, my father and sister and I along with some family friends went to eat at Kim Son – where they featured a hot pot and Vietnamese/Chinese themed buffet.  I am not a big fan of buffets, only because I tend to always over eat at them.  And this time was no different…

Where to begin?  There were so many buffet lines that I felt a little overwhelemd — a few for Hot Pot, Sushi, Hot Line, Cold Line, and Desserts.  They also had a side station where they served roast duck and soup noodles — that was probably my favorite station.  The Hot Pot selection was fair, they really didn’t have much of a meat selection — I was hoping for a glorious spread of chicken, beef, pork and lamb but all I found was pork.  My father actually asked them “Where is the lamb?”, they claimed it was frozen and after about 35 minutes they brought it out.  After getting an entire plate of lamb for the table, it turns out my dad doesn’t even like to eat it but wanted to get his money’s worth.  :) Asians always love a good deal.  The seafood spread was pretty extensive: shrimp, squid, various types of fish balls, tilapia, fresh crab, etc.

I always enjoy having hot pot during the winter, I have to say though that I think I enjoy having hot pot in the comfort of my own home than in a buffet styled restaurant.  The broth they provided was tasteless, probably because it was just tap water and to me that is one of the most important elements of a good hot pot meal.  I really enjoyed trying all the different Vietnamese dishes they had there — fried rice cakes, spicy beef noodle soup (Bun Bo Hue), Vietnamese Crepe (Bahn Xeo) were some of my absolute favorites!  They also had an impressive spread of some traditional Chinese cuisine but I figured nothing could beat my mother’s cooking so I ate mainly the Vietnamese food :)

They also featured “duck buns” which are pieces of roasted duck with green scallion and hoisin sauce nestled between a steamed sweet bun.  I ate at least three before moving onto the whole fried fish and the sauteed baby clams in black bean sauce.  The clams were so tender and very fresh too, the sauce could’ve used a little more punch but being at a buffet I guess beggars cant be choosers! You could also order plates of roast duck as well as udon noodles, vietnamese soup noodles, etc.

The dessert spread was really good — a lot of traditional Vietnamese desserts like flan, sweet glutinous rice with beans, steamed yam cake, bahn rau cau and other various cakes and confections made from sweet beans and glutinous rice.  In many instances it was like Thanksgiving, a wide variety of comfort foods with friends and family and eating until you couldnt move.  For $14.95/person for lunch it was a pretty good deal, there was definitely enough variety that would suit everyone’s tastes and there were many dishes that I thought were really exceptional.  Be careful, all the popular items like the Duck Buns and Crepes dissappear the minute the kitchen brings them out.   Since I am an intense eater, I waited patiently and then swooped in like an eagle the minute I saw the workers coming — what can I say?  I know what I want :) .

I also thought it was cool how they had an interactive cooking station — here they are making Banh Bot Chien, a fried rice flour cake.  It’s delicious, the rice flour cake is nice and crispy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside.  The batter is egg based and brings out the sweetness of the rice cakes and provides an interesting contrast in textures.   You can dip it in a sweet tangy soy sauce or eat it plain… *siigh* just writing about it makes me hungry for one.

For dinner, my mother took me out to eat lobster.  It was at this Chinese restaurant that I do not know the name of (I need to get it from my mom) but I was definitely skeptical.   I have never been a big fan of lobster, especially for the price.  To me, I’ve always felt like lobster just tasted like a bigger version of shrimp. After going here, I realize I felt this way because I’ve never had good lobster.

This lobster dish was amazing.  It was the only thing my mother and I ordered, Two Lobsters in a Ginger and Scallion Sauce.  I think this is a popular Cantonese dish and this restaurant cooked it perfectly.

The sauce was sensational — rich but not oily, the flavors were so delicate with the ginger and scallion infused into the tender morsels of lobster.  They also cut it in easy to eat pieces, so you are not furiously digging for the meat.  The sweetness of the lobster was incredible, definitely not comparable to shrimp like I thought before.

I loved the light batter that covered the lobster shells, soaking in the delicious sauce while capturing the essence of the sea.  It was honestly one of the best lobster dishes I’ve ever had.  My mother and I finished the entire dish to ourselves, without a single shred of lobster to spare.

Being home has really brought me back to my roots, I realize since launching this site I have not really showcased my original background in food: Chinese Cuisine.  I realized how much I miss the flavors and the wide variety of ingredients used that I immediately became inspired to share my love for Chinese food with my readers.  I’ve mostly shyed away from making Chinese food because the resources for Asian products are quite scarce around Dallas and the selection is not always great.  However, I’ve found a market that I think will be able to provide great ingredients so I am excited to share some Chinese dishes with you so stay tuned!


  1. Posted 30 Nov ’09 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    There’s no place like home and Chinese food will always be a part of your upbringing and glad that you were able to go home and spend time your family and taste some wonderful dishes. I’m looking forward to your next dish.

    • Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      I agree Divina — Chinese food was all I ate until I moved away for college. I guess visiting my mother really renewed my love for Chinese food, I honestly cannot wait to dive into it again. I almost feel guilty for not making it more often :) !

  2. Posted 30 Nov ’09 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Come back to HTown!!You can’t get Kim Son in Dallas, Houston is truly one of a kind. I am happy to hear you had a good time w/your family. We love going to Dim Sum for buffet, they have such a wide variety and the hot pot is awesome too.

    • Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Houston really is one of a kind — I am always so amazed every time I go back at how fast Chinatown has grown. The restaurants down there are absolutely AWESOME. I will definitely work on coming back to the H!

    • Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      lol I made zero sense when I said “We love to go to dim sum for the buffet” I meant to say we love going to Kim Son for the buffet. Oh yeah Bellaire just keeps on growing I love it. We’ll pop a few bottles for you when you make it back to the H.

    • Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Hahaha I giggled when I read it because I call Kim Son, dim sum a lot THEY SOUND SO MUCH A LIKE!!! And my family actually use to eat dimsum at kim son all the time — whew say that ten times fast hahaha

  3. Posted 30 Nov ’09 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    There’s no place like home, even if that home for me is Dallas ;) And all the food you enjoyed looks fantastic.

    • Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Thank you Natalie! I agree there really is no place like home!

  4. Posted 30 Nov ’09 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I think this is the best moment with the loves one. All food looks fantastic.

    • Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Thank you anncoo — friends and family definitely renew the soul!

  5. Posted 30 Nov ’09 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Hehe, Kim Son. Is it pathetic that I felt a strong sense of HOME from looking at your first photo? :P

    • Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      HAHA I totally feel you, they need to open a Kim Son in Dallas and I really wish there was a Chinatown to that magnitude here. I miss Houston fa sho :(

  6. Posted 30 Nov ’09 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Great to hear you had a wonderful time with your parents. I always have a great time with my in-laws on Thanksgiving, but I do miss my parents who live thousands miles away. Anyway, all the foods look so delicious! The lobster dish looks unbelievably amazing!!

    • Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your kind words Reiko! I bet it is hard to have your parents live far away but it is great that you have wonderful in-laws to keep you company. I always feel fortunate to have a second family away from home :)

  7. Posted 30 Nov ’09 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    hi, i come over to visit u…the food looks so tempting and fresh!!
    may u hv the greatest time wif ur dearest family.

    • Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Sherleen, it is nice to meet you. Thank you for your kind words :)

  8. Posted 30 Nov ’09 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    What a feast! I would go back home as often as I can if I were you. :)

    • Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Christine I agree hahaha those were my exact thoughts upon leaving :)

  9. Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    my chinese cooking sucks! but going home and enjoy our weekly family dinner with my mom-in-law’s chinese food is such a weekly treat!
    dining-out is also one of our options too! you lobster dish totally got me drooling!

    • Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Oh man you are so lucky! I’d love weekly chinese dinners fa sho :) !

  10. Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    What a small world!? As soon as I saw the Kim Son photo I knew you were in Houston. That’s right by where I work… Bellaire passed Rogerdale right?

    • Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      YES Gelareh!! Haha how funny, I think anyone from houston recognizes Kim Son i love it :) If only there were one in Dallas…

  11. dhaleb
    Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    OMG you just made me super hungry! I think my tummy just growled… time to feed the beast!

    • Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      LOL!!!!! I like that, I think I may start using the phrase ” time to feed the beast” hee hee

  12. Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Sounds like you had a wonderful visit home! And some delicious eats there! The lobster sounds amazing!

    • Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Thank you Natasha! The lobster was pretty awesome mmmm

  13. Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 4:00 am | Permalink

    Compare to the past, I think now you could easily get Chinese food and ingredients almost everywhere in US! Right? It’s always wonderful to be home! Btw, I’ve an award for you. Please feel free to stop by my blog to collect it. Thank you! Have a wonderful time. Cheers.

    • Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Kristy I definitely agree — I think I am just spoiled because Houston’s chinatown is absolutely MASSIVE. I am heading over right now for the award thank you so much you are awesome!!!

  14. Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    You are absolutely correct about family – they are where the home is and where/with whom you can enjoy some of the best tasting food on the planet! Your photos make my mouth water…need to see about visiting a buffet this weekend.

    • Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Haha thank you for your kind words Patty! Yes it really is the best tasting food in the planet, especially when my mom cooks her specialties and stuffs me silly :) life is good!

  15. Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Wow, how could you not overeat at such a wonderful buffet. I’m a sucker for duck too, I can’t pass it up and your duck buns sound amazing.

    Thanks for sharing your family experience, I really enjoyed it, and it is OK to overeat at a buffet, I think it is actually expected?

    • Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Haha okay *phew* I don’t feel too bad about over eating then because I definitely had to readjust my pants after eating. :)

  16. Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    wow……such good food…really makes me drool. I think I’ll move and stay next to the restaurant :) You are so lucky.

  17. Julie
    Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Oooh, please make some Chinese dishes, I need to learn more. :) YUMM! And OMG that lobster looked divine and so good!

    Oh yah, not sure which store you’re going to, but there’s a Hong Kong Market on Walnut in Dallas. It’s near the 635 & 75 interchange (maybe 5 minutes away). And if you’re looking for good sushi items, not sure if you’ve been to Kazy’s yet.

    • Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      THERES A HONG KONG MARKET?! I’ve been going to the Chinatown on greensville this whole time and recently found H mart in carrolton i never knew that there was a hong kong market I will definitely check that out. Where is Kazy’s? I love sushi!

  18. Posted 6 Dec ’09 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    Give me lobsters and crabs anytime.. I can eat them every day:D Those lobsters in your pics sure looks good.

    • Posted 7 Dec ’09 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Jeannie!! I am such a fan of crabs too MMMmmmm

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