The best way to experience authentic Asian anywhere in the world is to ask the locals where they go. With the help of the Asian Moms Facebook group of DFW, I’ve rounded up some of the most authentic places to experience Asian culture and food in DFW, so you too can celebrate the coming Lunar New Year and Year of the Pig with style and flavor.
All year round, you can experience the heart of Asia at the Hong Kong Market Place in Asia Times Square Grand Prairie. There are over 80 vendors selling fare from every country in the far east from Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Thailand and more! During the Lunar New Year Festival, you’ll be able to experience cultural festivities too, including martial arts performances, Dragon and Lion Dances, singing and dancing and lantern lighting. If you’re looking at cooking up an Asian feast yourself, some other go-to Asian grocery stores are Jugso Supermarket and Mitsuwa Marketplace in Plano.
If you’ve never experienced the benefits and relaxation of an Asian day spa, you’re seriously missing out on one of the world’s most relaxing spa experiences! While there are only a few in DFW, the best by far is this Korean Day Spa. I found it to be a little more Americanized than ones I’ve experienced in Korea, but saying that, it still has plenty of authentic Asian traditions and services to keep you well detoxified, relaxed and glowing.
There are three levels with an assortment of hydrotherapy pools, aqua swim up-bars, different kinds of saunas, a Korean and Japanese restaurant, massage treatment rooms and so much more. For around $35-$45 you can spend the entire day blissfully soaking and rejuvenating the body and mind.
When you first experience bubble tea, it can be a little intriguing. It comes in a wide variety of fruit, or milk teas served ice-cold or piping hot with chewy tapioca balls that you suck up with a big fat straw. Fruitealicious (in Frisco, Carrollton and Fort Worth) has a large variety of teas on their menu and also serves smoothies and slushies. If you’re opting for a bubble tea and trying to watch your weight, ask for one low in sugar as they can be super sweet! Another local go-to for these delicious drinks is Fat Straws Bubble Tea Co., located in Dallas and Plano.
One of the new kids on the block making headlines for all the right reasons (including their delicious chicken nuoc mam wings—one of my favorites) is the newly opened Four Sisters Vietnamese Restaurant in Fort Worth. Chef Tuan Pham and his four sisters have been regulars in DFW with appearances at local festivals and Asian Night Markets at the Bomb Factory in Deep Ellum. Now, they have their new store, where they can impress newcomers with their family recipes.
For Shanghainese xiao long bao (soup dumplings), you have to go somewhere where you can see them being freshly made behind a glass window. You’ll find this at Fortune House in Irving! Besides the dumplings, they also have a range of other Shanghainese deliciousness on the menu. You’ll also be served a fortune cookie at the end of your meal—a fun way to end your visit on a fortuitous highlight.
6. ROYAL CHINA
This is one of the best known places to get Chinese food in Dallas! It’s had a loyal following with regulars since 1974, when founder Buck Kao immigrated to Dallas with his family and started the business. The family-run restaurant specialises in authentic hand-pulled noodles and a dumpling bar run by the ‘dumpling ladies’, where you can watch them make xiao long bao from scratch. Apart from the delicious dumplings, you can’t beat the scallion pancakes and their wide range of Chinese tea selections.
This Carrollton favorite gets a big nod of approval for bringing a sense of Bangkok’s street vendor and night markets scene to DFW. Too Thai Street Eats serves a little bit of everything, and within seconds you feel like you could be at a street food market in Thailand. While they do serve the traditional Thai dishes that you’ll be familiar with, they also have excellent shareable hot pot soups and appetizers like moo ping (pork skewers) with sticky rice and three different varieties of papaya salad. Yum!
For Beijing-style Peking Duck, you can’t go past this restaurant in Coppell. While they don’t bring the whole duck to the table and slice it in front of you as they do in China, they do roast the duck themselves fresh on-site, rather than have it trucked in frozen as other establishments do. For the record, it’s the best roast duck I’ve had anywhere outside of China. You can also get a host of other Chinese dishes on the menu, but it’s the duck which sets this place apart from the rest!
From Sushi to Udon and Japanese BBQ, we have a large variety of Japanese cuisines to choose from, and it seems everyone has their favorites. Fort Worth‘s Shinjuku Station is one of mine not only because it’s a neat way to experience Japanese food with Izakaya tapas-style dishes (perfect for sharing with a few friends), but also because the design inspiration of the restaurant is based on the actual Shinjuku Train Station in Tokyo! Anyone who has been here will know just what an experience this famous train station is with all the hustle and bustle. Eating here brings a touch of this authentic atmosphere and makes for a very memorable meal.
10. CRIS AND JOHN
For those of you that really love Asian food but are still so Texan at heart you can’t resist your Tex-Mex on a regular basis, you’ll love Chris and Johns in Dallas. The internet famous fusion restaurant revolutionised the combination of Vietnamese and Tex-Mex and came up with the phorrito, (a pho and burrito in one) and ramenrrito (ramen in a burrito). It takes fusion street food to the next level!
- Ly Food Store in Oak Cliff is known for their mini-grocery market and traditional Laotian staples.
- Irving’s Nalinh Market (half-grocery store, half-restaurant) has some of the best Laotian food in the city.
- Sweet Rice in Frisco is known for their Thai/Lao authentic combinations.
- Head to Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in Plano for Hot Pot.
- Ikigai Udon, also in Plano, has a solid reputation for their freshly made Udon.
- Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ in Addison is what you want if you’re looking for an all-you-can-eat meat options.
- Teppo in Dallas is the go-to for Yakitori.
- Nobu in Dallas for fine-dining upmarket Japanese fare.
What are some of your favorites? Send me a message on Instagram and let me know!
Featured Image Courtesy: Too Thai Street Eats