Slurp Up Soup Dumplings and Indulge in Peking Duck at New Rice Village Restaurant

Jenn Duncan
Slurp Up Soup Dumplings and Indulge in Peking Duck at New Rice Village Restaurant

Shrimp and Pork Shu Mai

HUSBAND-WIFE RESTAURATEUR duo Leo and Grace Xia recently opened a stylish third location of their Peking-lacquered-duck and dim sum concept, Duck N Bao. The opening comes just over a year after launching Hongdae 33, the all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue hot spot in Houston’s Asiatown.

The newly renovated West University restaurant joins Duck N Bao’s Cypress and Memorial locations, offering Sichuan specialties, including nostalgic favorites from their childhoods in China. The Rice Village location has been a long-time goal for the Xias. They’ve curated a spacious and light-filled dining room with a shaded patio and updated the menu with new food offerings, luxe upgrades, and inventive cocktails.

“We look forward to meeting our new neighbors and introducing our menus to them,” says Grace. “We have a bit of everything — dumplings from middle China, Sichuan dishes, our delicious roast duck that’s beloved in Beijing —so you can travel around China through the menu without leaving Houston.” Grace encourages cocktail lovers to try the new drinks, admitting she sometimes “saves her calories for the cocktails because they are so yummy.” However, teetotalers have plenty of fine hot teas to sip here.

At the entrance, witness noodles and dumplings being prepared behind a window, a testimony to their freshness. We dove into the new menu and shumai (steamed pork and shrimp dumplings) were a superb beginning – make sure to ask for chili oil! Lightly fried Kung Pao Brussels sprouts bathed in a sweet and spicy sauce and garnished with a shower of chopped peanuts also impressed.

Moving on, we were tempted by lo mein with options for add-ins, but our server steered us toward stir-fried flat noodles with beef, which was a rib-sticking option. Speaking of! New to the menu are the tea leaf smoked pork ribs — definitely worth sinking your teeth into, and ample enough to share. Ditto the steamed whole fresh seabass with ginger sauce, fresh ginger and scallions. Portioned out and easy to serve, it’s a beautiful sight to see.

Next time: lobster two ways!

Leo and Grace Xia

Magic Potion cocktail

Angus ribeye

Mapo tofu with lobster tail

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