All across Houston, families with gather to celebrate Christmas by going to church, opening presents under the tree, and dining on a home cooked meal. To them, we say "Merry Christmas!"
This list is not for you.
Other people, for any number of reasons, will not celebrate a traditional Christmas. Whether travel is too expensive or too inconvenient, whether someone isn't a Christian, or whether family gatherings just aren't fun, we propose celebrating Jewish Christmas instead.
The program is simple. Take advantage of a day off in the middle of the week by sleeping in, watching a movie (at home or in a theater), and then eating Chinese food. Or eat the Chinese food and then watch a movie.
While it should be noted that many restaurants in Chinatown will be open, we've selected a few favorites as a starting point for anyone contemplating a meal along Bellaire Boulevard. In addition, we've mixed in some other options from various parts of the Houston area.
Bamboo House: Both locations of the restaurant that serves Houston's best Peking duck will be open their normal hours. We recommend calling the day before to reserve one.
Cafe East 3: The buffet restaurant in Mission Bend will be open regular hours (11 am to 9:30 pm). The price is just $11.50 for an all-you-can-eat spread of over 100 items.
China Garden: Although the Rockets are on the road, this Houston classic will still be serving Houston's best egg rolls. Hours are 12 to 9 pm.
Chow Wok: The fast casual restaurant in west Houston will be open on Christmas. We recommend the cheese puffs and shrimp egg rolls.
Hai Cang Seafood Restaurant: Make it a Christmas to remember with ginger-scallion lobster and sizzling short ribs at this Chinatown favorite that came in at number 58 on CultureMap's list of Houston's top 100 restaurants.
Hu's Cooking: This newcomer in the West U/Medical Center area has been generating serious buzz for its Sichuan cuisine. The restaurant will be open from 11:30 am to 3 pm for lunch and from 5 to 9 pm for dinner.
Hunan Garden: The Kingwood location of this family-owned restaurant serves up all the classic dishes, but the chicken wings, beef and shrimp in sa tsa sauce, and Phoenix chicken are particularly noteworthy. Opens at 11 am. Last seating 8 pm (expect a wait for a table by 6 pm).
Kim Son: All three locations of the popular Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant will be open, but we recommend the Stafford location, which will be rolling out the dim sum carts starting at 10 am.
Ocean Palace: The massive restaurant will serve its dim sum menu from 10 am to 3 pm and dinner starting at 4 pm.
One Dim Sum: Midtown's new destination for shu mai, hai gow, barbecue pork buns, and more opens at 11 am.
Shanghai River: Located in River Oaks, this restaurant has a sign on its wall testifying to its high quality: A picture of legendary Houston broadcaster Marvin Zindler. Fried dumplings, hot and sour soup and Mr. Dan's chicken are all can't miss.