Navigating San Antonio's Asian Restaurants

Photo by Sarah Flood-Baumann

Ming's Noodle Bar When Ming’s Noodle Bar opened in mid-December, the small shop was taking a gamble on whether diners would latch on to this market staple. Six months later, as we sat slurping spicy coconut noodles in 97-degree temperatures, it’s evident Ming’s Noodle Bar has cemented owner Ming Qian’s grasp on our city.

Qian’s been a favorite since the days of the Quarry Farmers and Ranchers Market with the now-signature Sloopy pulled pork steamed buns. She and husband Hinnerk von Bargen, an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America-San Antonio, eventually added a booth at the Pearl Farmers Market. 

When Qian and co. finally launched Ming’s Noodle Bar in December, some of the menu items were already familiar, but San Antonio was ready for something more.

It’s hard to pass on the Ma La noodles, with sweet potato noodles and a Sichuan-style broth that grows spicier as you slurp. The kitchen achieves the layered broth with a house-made paste of chiles similar to arbol, Sichuan peppers, star anise, coriander, chile bean paste and whole, skin-on peanuts that are slow-roasted before going into the mix. The end result is fragrant, and finding the elusive peanuts adds texture to the bowl that contains broccoli, cilantro, scallions, shredded carrots, and meaty wood ear mushrooms.

The growing list of buns is a telltale sign and the creativity and freshness displayed on the German slaw and Mung Bean noodle bun (which play to Qian and von Bargen’s heritage) will keep us coming back for more. 5249 McCullough Ave., (210) 570-6318,

Kung Fu Noodles, Photo by Dan Payton

Golden Wok Sometimes you want tiny pockets of deliciousness in your mouth. Enter Golden Wok’s extensive dim sum menu, which helped propel it as Best Chinese in several of our Best of San Antonio readers polls. The hargau, tapioca skin stuffed with shrimp, are a staff favorite. Visit the Wurzbach location on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for a dim sum house feel. Pick your poison from carts brought around to each table. Multiple locations,

HuHot Mongolian Grill Create your own stir-fry destiny at HuHot. Choose from seafood and meats, 24 different veggies and 21 house sauces. Feast and repeat as trips to the gill are unlimited. The line-up is flanked by a menu of soups, salads, appetizers and a boatload of dessert options. 12710 I-10 W., Suite 100, (210) 641-1288,

Kim Wah Chinese Barbecue Don’t be fooled by a long line of fan-drying ducks: You must order ahead. The duck is divine, wrapped in a puffy, dim-sum-like bun. As for the rest of dinner — order from the serious Chinese menu and the chalkboard where you’ll find such exotic treats as braised intestine. Yum. 7080 Bandera Road, (210) 520-2200,

Kungfu Noodle The noodles, available in both stretched and thick ribbons, are hand-pulled by a pair of Chinese transplants, hailing from the Anhui province. Go for the spicy lamb noodles, stay for the pork and celery dumplings. 6733 Bandera Road, (210) 451-5586.

click to enlarge JESSICA ELIZARRARAS
Jessica Elizarraras

Lucky Noodle The Kungfu Noodle empire has expanded ever so slightly with the opening of Lucky Noodle, opened by the son of the KFN owners. The new location is almost palatial when compared to its predecessor off Bandera Road and features more than 1,500 square feet of seating and open kitchen area (so you can watch the noodles being pulled and stretched). 8525 Blanco Road, (210) 267-9717.

MJ China Bistro MJ avoids most Chinese décor clichés and tries hard to do the same on the menu — with mixed but promising results. House specialties such as the MJ Steamed Bass typify the approach — try it at lunch. 10103 Huebner Road, (210) 265-5800,

Sichuan Cuisine The OG Sichuan spot in SA is still going strong. Try the challenging sliced pig’s ear or duck tongues with jalapeño before retreating to the likes of the (also very good) stir-fried lamb with cumin. 2347 NW Military Hwy., (210) 525-8118,

Sichuan House Sichuan House delivers regional favorites hailing from Sichuan, found in the southwest of China. The menu is a bit daunting, but go for the handmade dumplings, smashed cucumber salad, tea-smoked duck, or eggplant. Remember to BYOB. 3505 Wurzbach Road, Suite 102, (210) 509-9999,

Tang Street This outpost serves unique northeastern Chinese fare, executed simply but exceptionally. Adventurous diners should look out for sauerkraut braised pork intestine and a cucumber needle mushroom dish. Others may find steamed pork buns, stewed lamb or traditional noodle dishes more their speed. 16111 San Pedro Ave., (210) 490-1788,


Lily’s Philippine Restaurant From whole-cooked fish to fragrant stews to chicken adobo to biko and cassava cake, Lily’s is your go-to for life on the island. 8210 Glider Ave., (210) 674-7007.

My ChockDee Oriental Market Nothing is labeled, so it’s helpful to learn a few of the dishes before visiting (unless surprise stewed blood is your dinner goal), or dive into fried pork belly, kare kare stew, longanisa or lumpia, all found at this buffet. 115 E. Lindbergh Blvd., Universal City, (210) 566-2210.

Sari-Sari Filipino Restaurant Likely one of the few spots in town to offer halo-halo, or Filipino shaved ice, Sari-Sari also offers an extensive list of soups, starters, entrees, all-day breakfast and baked goods. 5700 Wurzbach Road, (210) 647-7274,

Susie’s Lumpia House This buffet-style restaurant in the city’s far west side offers freshness and a rotating list of dishes. Stop in for lunch for under $12. 8923 Culebra Road, Suite 106, (210) 616-4354,

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