Mention Chinatown to Texans, and many will think first of New York or San Francisco, where traditional Chinese street signs, bumpy durian fruits and bamboo baskets filled with dumplings have inspired countless Instagrams. While the Chinatowns in those cities have long been tourist destinations, a similar corridor in Houston receives less recognition, even from local residents, a surprising fact considering that Houston’s New Chinatown is large—almost six square miles—and centered around a busy stretch of Bellaire Boulevard. “Many people have lived in Houston all of their lives and have never been here,” said Christy Chang, who gives weekly tours of the neighborhood with her company, Asian Heritage Discovery (asianheritagediscovery.com).
The parking lots and pedestrian malls that dominate the area may be aesthetically boring, but the community is culturally rich, thanks to a population made up of Vietnamese, Chinese, Koreans, and other Asians who collectively speak dozens of languages and dialects. (As Chang