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Here are the 10 best ways to support Houston’s Chinatown

Boba, Xiao Long Bao and Bingsu are just a few of the treats you can find in Houston's bustling Chinatown.
Boba, Xiao Long Bao and Bingsu are just a few of the treats you can find in Houston's bustling Chinatown.

HOUSTON – When people think of Chinatown, cities like New York City or San Francisco might be the first to come to mind. Houston, as usual, seems to fly under the radar, but that shouldn’t be the case with such a diverse community. The bustling neighborhood tucked in the southwest side of town is teeming with different shops, cafes and restaurants with far-eastern roots. Drive down Bellaire Blvd. and pretend like you’ve been transported to another country. And hey, it’s way cheaper than booking a flight.

If you’re not sure where to start, let us be your guide. We’ve planned a full itinerary to help you get better acquainted with Houston’s Chinatown.

*Reviews have been edited for content and length.

1. BAKERIES

Start your day off right with warm baked breads and beautiful goodies for breakfast. Traditional and trendy Asian pastries are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. Questioning whether or not it’s a good idea to have cake for breakfast? Trust us, you’ll burn off those calories with everything on the agenda.

85°C Bakery

Helpful review: “I love this bakery! The pastries here are so DELICIOUS!! Pastries are made fresh daily, and there are so so so many to choose from (sweet or savory)! They have a large selection of beverages as well (I haven’t tried, but will next time). All are at a reasonable price. The whole bakery is modern, bright, clean, and very organized. Almost everything here is self serve; you grab a tray and a pair of tongs and just pick whatever your heart desires. By the way, my favorite is their popular one, the milk bun! Once done, you just check out at the register, and the cashier will wrap up the pastries individually. The customer service here was very friendly and quick. I highly recommend.” Cindy B.

Address: 9750 Bellaire Blvd. #168, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.85cbakerycafe.com

Six Ping

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It's someone's birthday somewhere 🎂

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Helpful review: “Do not miss this bakery! Tastiest treats with a wide variety. Light delicately sweet sponge cakes, traditional breads and beautiful mango cakes. My husband and I went late in the day the first time and the selection was limited, but we went again mid afternoon and the shelves were fully stocked with more treats coming fresh out of the back. Highly recommend.” Marie T.

Address: Dun Huang Plaza, 9889 Bellaire Blvd. #D246, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.sixping.com

Kamalan Bakery

Helpful review: “I love the wide selections they carry from savory to sweet. I always go crazy and get a bunch because you never know what new pastry you might love! My personal favorite is the sweet potato bread! Not sure if they discontinued it or if they rotate through them weekly or seasonally. You can’t go wrong with any of their pastries they carry, all are delicious...You won’t be disappointed if you check out this bakery! It is tucked in the corner next to Jungle Cafe and parking could be a pain during certain hours.” Blair V.

Address: 9889 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.kamalanbakery.com

2. GROCERIES

This might seem like an odd adventure, but one of the best ways to be immersed in a foreign culture is grocery shopping. From exotic fruits and produce, to scintillating spices and some of the freshest seafood in town, you’ll be amazed by what you can find in these supermarkets.

H Mart

Helpful review: “Loved this market!! It has a variety of Asian products, produce and other kitchen items. They have all sort of teas and other beverages you can try a different one every time you go there. They also have fresh meat, fish and shell fish. The small bakery is so cute but full of assorted sweet and savory treats. I recommend the Kimchi Croquet - it is delicious. And they have a Korean beauty section and a fan K-pop section that is adorable but a bit expensive for the merchandise. But understandable, I guess. It is all imported from Korea. Highly recommend market!!” DM 974

Address: 9896 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.hmart.com

Jusgo Supermarket

Helpful review: “This is definitely not your traditional super market. In the heart of Chinatown...They own the shopping center that they locate in, so the parking is a non-issue. I mean there is plenty. The selection of the groceries is exotic to put it mildly. No, they don’t have pre-made sweet and sour pork or pre-made egg rolls in nice vacuum [sealed] packages. But if you want Asian spices, fresh Asian produce and fresh cut meat this is the place for it. And here we go into the their famous sea food department. I mean fresh not only crabs and fish, but live turtles and frogs. Not for faint of heart that’s for sure. They will butcher and clean for you also. They carry one of a kind stuff that many Asian markets do not carry.” Derrick C.

Address: 9280 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.jusgosupermarket.com

Viet Hoa International Foods

Helpful review: “Love the fresh inexpensive produce. All the rice crackers and snacks- my mom is gluten free. Great Sake selection that is very inexpensive. The hot food and prepped food is great. The whole place is very inexpensive. I usually come to stock up on dumplings and sauce for parties- I CAN make my own and much cheaper, but theirs are so easy. I like their household products area too - things I didn’t know existed, and I certainly need! Their fresh seafood prices can’t be beat either - you know that when my mom has me buy up things for her to cart all the way to Florida when I visit.” Don C.

Address: 8300 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. S. #100, Houston, TX 77072

Website: www.viethoa.com

3. DUMPLINGS

If you haven’t noticed, almost all of this itinerary revolves around eating, as food is such a major part of Asian culture. For brunch, you can never go wrong with dim sum. Dumplings are little pockets of glutinous joy that are best shared with loved ones. They can be prepared many ways with a variety of delicious fillings. Bring your stretchy pants and try one (or two) of everything.

Fung’s Kitchen

Helpful review: “By far one of the best Chinese dim sum restaurants in Houston, Texas! They have fresh and very large variety, with high quality, excellent flavors and great service. We enjoyed and highly recommend. Best Sunday brunch in town! Only problem was the parking. We almost didn’t try the restaurant because of the parking issues, so come early and good luck.” Ajaan H.

Address: 7320 Southwest Fwy. #115, Houston, TX 77074

Website: www.eatatfungs.com

Golden Dumpling House

Helpful review: “These dumplings were absolutely some of the best I’ve had in my life. Friend got the soup dumplings and said they were delicious. Food was so fresh - we could see the dumplings being made in the back, which was also a really cool experience. Pan fried dumplings filled with chicken were excellent. Will definitely be back.” Maya P.

Address: 9896 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Golden-Dumpling-House

Ocean Palace Restaurant

Our Sunday dim sum spread. Bring your friends and family in for a taste of your favorites! ☺️

Posted by Ocean Palace Restaurant on Sunday, February 23, 2020

Helpful review: “I’d heard that this was the go-to for a lot of locals for dim sum, and now I know why; the service is pretty prompt, the menu variety is large (and carts have a great selection too), food was still steaming hot when it arrived at our table, and the food is pretty inexpensive compared to other dim sum places. The dining area is super spacious, so it can accommodate a lot of people and is an excellent place for large groups.” Etta B.

Address: 11215 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77072

Website: www.oceanpalacehouston.com

One Dragon Restaurant

So yummy! The Xiao Long Baos here are really good! The wrappers are nice and tender and they are filled with a generous...

Posted by James T on Friday, January 3, 2020

Helpful review: “Yes!! Finally a place in Houston with juicy soup dumplings!!! We came on a Sunday morning right when they opened, and it was already half packed! Even from my photos you can see how juicy these soup dumplings were! So juicy and jiggly that I was scared they would break when I picked them up! Yummy!! The broth was flavorful and fantastic, and the crispy bottom pork buns were fantastic as well! I almost liked these more than the soup dumplings!” Caroline M.

Address: 9310 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.facebook.com/pages/One-Dragon-Restaurant

4. BOBA/TAPIOCA/BUBBLE TEA

If that food coma is hitting you hard, perk up with some bubble tea. Often called boba or tapioca, the refreshing beverages are a popular way to fight off fatigue. Offerings vary widely, with flavors like Thai tea and honeydew. A range of toppings like tapioca pearls or lychee jelly are common but optional additions. Many cafes also allow you to customize everything from sugar levels to the amount of ice. Happy sipping!

Tea Top

Helpful review: “Wow wow wow, very impressive milk tea shop. I have to say one of the best in H-town after examining almost every one of them in Houston. They use the mountain tea from Taiwan which gives a very smooth strong flavor. The milk foam topping added an even more smooth taste to it. The chewy textured tapioca shows they know what they are doing, and I think the black sugar boba dominates all. They give you a choice on the sweetness and ice - feels like they tailor to all your special needs. Highly recommended. Worth it to try every single one of the flavors.” Na L.

Address: 9889 Bellaire Blvd. E203, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.facebook.com/teatoptx

7 Leaves

Helpful review: “I hear a lot about this place from my Cali buddies, so I’ve decided to check out the soft opening in Houston. All I can is - I am HOOKED! Tried the Mung Bean, Taro Milk Tea, and House Tea, and I love ‘em all. Warning - the house tea is a bit sweet. The flavor for the mung bean and taro is perfect.” Serey K.

Address: 9798 Bellaire Blvd. Suite B, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.7leavescafe.com

The Teahouse Tapioca & Tea

Helpful review: “This is by far my FAVORITE boba tea and slushie place!! I’ve tried so many, but none can compare to the taste and quality of this place. The Jasmine Milk Tea, green apple ice blend, and peach-mango ice blend (with tapioca!!) are some of my favorites! BTW the rewards program is pretty great too!!” Connie W.

Address: 9198 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.teahousebeverage.com

Sharetea

What drink will you be ordering at Sharetea Houston today?

Posted by Sharetea Houston on Sunday, September 8, 2019

Helpful review: “If you have never been here try Okinawa milk tea, and if you are lactose try their fruit tea. My favorite is honey lemon tea with aloe, or a very different taste but refreshing is wintermelon tea. The best thing about it is most drinks you can choose the sweetness level and ice level for folks that are trying to cut down sugar and/or have phobias of ice.” Karen T.

Address: 9889 Bellaire Blvd. Ste. E213, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.shareteahouston.com

5. SHOPPING

Time to burn those calories. When Houstonians think of shopping in Chinatown, they think Harwin. Well known for its offerings of designer look-alikes, you can find gorgeous jewelry and accessories for shockingly low prices. Another thing you’ll definitely want to pick up when you’re Chinatown: beauty products. Ready, set, shop!

SW Trading Accessory Plaza

This is just a fraction of our huge wall of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets! Check us out in store 💕 You can also...

Posted by SWT.AccessoryPlaza on Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Helpful review: “The one and only place I come to for my jewelry/accessories. I have brought many of my friends here, and they absolutely love it! I even bought my wedding accessories from here, and I got so many compliments! The quality and price of everything is perfect!” Bianca V.

Address: 8000 Harwin Dr. Ste. #410, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.swtrading.net

Harwin Central Mart

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@phikhuu we must have died and went to jewelry heaven :)

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Helpful review: “Tons of different and unique imported items. There is also a jewelry store on the second floor that has been there for years and sells a great variety of gemstone rings and sterling silver jewelry - many of the items appear to be excess wholesale from jewelry departments like JCPenny’s or other department stores. Got some nice things here for my family, and the kids had fun buying themselves some things like jewelry or cheap sunglasses.” Abe F.

Address: 9700 Harwin Dr., Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Harwin-Central-Market

Korean Blooming Cosmetics

Helpful review: “They have every brand I ever wanted on Amazon, and everything has a tester!! The lady was so nice and helpful. She knew about skincare and all the products. She helped me pick a great serum. The deals are amazing too! I got strawberry milk face soap $10 buy one get one free!! Online is $18, so even cheaper plus a free one. Amazing store. The serum was much cheaper too - $54 online I believe and only $39 in store. Lots of cute things to buy.” j m

Address: 9889 Bellaire Blvd. Ste. B24B, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.blooming-cosmetics.com

6. VIET-CAJUN CRAWFISH

It’s time to eat again. A uniquely Houstonian cuisine is Viet-Cajun style crawfish. The dish has garnered lots of attention, with features in shows on Netflix and The Food Network. The hype is worth it. These mudbugs are smothered in butter, garlic and special seasonings for an out of this world flavor that’ll have you ordering at least 10 lbs.

Crawfish & Noodles

Helpful review: “Yeah I’m hopping on the band wagon and giving this a solid five. This spot which garnered additional popularity after being featured on “Ugly Delicious” lives up to the well deserved hype. The food came to us quite quickly, and everything was fantastic. The crab battering was so rich in flavor, and the crawfish do perfectly blend Viet and Cajun flavors into well balanced deliciousness. On top of all that, the prices for everything are very affordable. I hope to be back in Houston soon to come here again.” Jack M.

Address: 11360 Bellaire Blvd #990, Houston, TX 77072

Website: www.crawfishandnoodles.com

Crawfish Cafe

Helpful review: “We came late on a Saturday night, and it was so packed that there was a 40 to 45 minute wait even 40 minutes before they closed. This is located in the Hong Kong Asian Food Market on Bellaire. We ordered 4 pounds of crawfish with potatoes and corn. We ordered this on the [spicy side,] and the flavor was Kickin’ Cajun. Even though my lips were on fire, and my nose was running like a marathon runner sprinting in the Houston Chevron Marathon, the taste was amazing and the flavor was on point. $8.99 a pound...not the most ideal but definitely worth it. Prepare to wait!” Erica G.

Address: 11209 Bellaire Blvd. Ste. C-36, Houston, TX 77072

Website: www.crawfishcafe.com

Crawfish & Beignets

This could be you!😝 What are you waiting for🔥

Posted by Crawfish and beignets on Thursday, February 20, 2020

Helpful review: “OMG I have been sleeping on their mix sauce. The mix sauce is like Cajun garlic buttery goodness. The more of my friends I have gotten to try this sauce, the more their perceptions on Crawfish & Beignets has changed. Everyone thought it was good but not life changing UNTIL you get the mix extra wet...Yes pay the extra money because you will not be disappointed. So so good! Also get the garlic butter clams and the beignets are nice, hot fluffy clouds!” Natalie P.

Address: 9600 Bellaire Blvd. Ste. 102, Houston, TX 77072

Website: www.crawfishandbeignets.com

7. REFLEXOLOGY & MASSAGE

Need some time to recuperate? You’re in luck. Chinatown boasts some of the best reflexology and massage spas in town. Sit back, relax and let the experts work their magic on all the right pressure points. Best part? The price! You’ll want to make this a part of your regular routine.

The Imperial Foot Reflexology

After spending much of the day on your feet, they just might need some TLC beyond propping them up on the couch!

Posted by Imperial Foot Reflexology on Friday, June 15, 2012

Helpful review: “One of the best massage places I’ve been in Houston!!! Tom was amazing. My friend and I did the combo (30 minute feet, 30 minute back with hot stones) $30. It was worth every penny and more. He had a great technique and took his time in the spots that I was tight in. I will definitely be coming back!” Tamara J.

Address: 5700 S. Gessner Rd., Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.facebook.com/Imperial-Foot-Reflexology

Oasis Massage Salon

What's your favorite type of massage?

Posted by Oasis Massage and Salon on Sunday, November 17, 2019

Helpful review: “After my first visit, I immediately loved this place! The sanitary environment, the quality of service, and the massage techniques all make for a satisfying and relaxing experience. I’ve been to many massage places before, and I can confidently say this place is the best - it even beats out places that I’ve paid over a $100 for. For the $40 Oasis Special (30 min foot + 30 min body), it was definitely worth it. I’ll be coming back for sure.” Jackie H.

Address: 9889 Bellaire Blvd. #331, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.oasismassagesalon.com

CJ Nature Beauty Foot Massage

Houston's Chinatown district is home to many foot reflexology spas.
Houston's Chinatown district is home to many foot reflexology spas.

Helpful review: “I love this place! Very nice people, and they really go the extra mile no matter which service you choose. The foot reflexology is absolutely fantastic! If they had an extra room I’d move in to have this every day! The body scrub is also very relaxing and makes your skin really soft.” Laura P.

Address: 8512 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.facebook.com/pages/CJ-Nature-Beauty-Foot-Massage

8. DIVERSE ASIAN CUISINE

That massage probably worked up an appetite, so let’s grab some dinner. Did you know Chinatown is also often referred to as Asia Town? That’s because the neighborhood is also home to many businesses with offerings from other Asian countries. Whether you’re craving Japanese street food or authentic Vietnamese dishes, you’re sure to find some of the best bites in town right here.

Vietnamese: Nam Giao Restaurant & Bakery

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i wouldn’t be mad if this was my last meal ever 😛

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Helpful review: “Their menu is very different. You won’t find any pho here if that’s what you’re looking for first off. I ordered the combo platter 1 for appetizers, which came with bahn beo chen, bahn nam, and bahn boc loc la. My favorite was the bahn beo chen. The rice cake batter was tender, and I enjoyed the little crunchy shrimps on top. It had great texture. It feels like something you would eat as a comfort food.” Cindy H.

Address: 6938 Wilcrest Dr., Houston, TX 77072

Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Nam-Giao

Japanese: Tiger Den

Helpful review: “This place seems to be super popular on the weekends, so the only way I had a chance of trying it was on a random weeknight. First of all, this place has a huge variety of skewers and appetizers. Please do yourself a favor and try any of them. I wanted to try a ramen bowl that wasn’t traditionally found at other ramen places I’d been to, so I tried the garlic black bean ramen. It was such a unique ramen, and the black beans and crispy skin that topped the noodles made the dish so flavorful.” Tasfia A.

Address: 9889 Bellaire Blvd. Ste. 230, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.tigerdentx.com

Korean: Jang Guem Tofu and BBQ House

Did you know that the best way to someone's heart is through their stomach?

Posted by Jang Guem Tofu and BBQ House on Friday, February 14, 2020

Helpful review: “One of the best Korean meals I’ve had in Houston. We ordered way too much food but enjoyed trying to eat it all. We had the fried dumpling, seafood pancake, spicy b.b.q pork and the kimchi beef tofu soup (spicy). I would order everything again, but the bbq pork and the sizzling tofu soup were my absolute favorites. Both our server and (I’m assuming) manager behind the counter helped us navigate the menu. I will definitely return to try more of the menu.” Miguel S.

Address: 9896 Bellaire Blvd. Ste. J, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.jangguemtofuandbbqhouse.com

9. DESSERT

Time to satisfy your sweet tooth and your Instagram feed. Chinatown desserts are some of the most picture-worthy sweets in Houston. Often super colorful and always delicious, with unique flavors and offerings from around the globe, be sure your taste buds and your camera are ready.

Aqua S

Helpful review: “This Instagram magnet offers ice cream in unique flavors such as Earl Grey Tea, Sea Salt, Black Sesame Seed, Red Mango, and some combinations thereof. You can get toppings such as cotton candy, pop rocks, toasted marshmallows, etc. They are all pleasing to the palate and eyes, but it gets pricey. We got three cones with a scoop in each and our bill added up to $21!” Jeff L.

Address: 9889 Bellaire Blvd. D232, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.aquas.us.com

Beard Papa’s

Helpful review: “I fell in love with this place as soon as I walked in. The smell of freshly baked puffs envelops you once you step through the door. I got the cookies 'n cream, green tea, and creme brûlée cream puffs. The creme brûlée was absolutely delicious; it was perfectly sweet (not too much). The other two cream puffs were awesome as well. I didn’t try the ice cream filling yet, but I’m looking forward to coming back soon!” Jacqueline D.

Address: 9393 Bellaire Blvd. Ste. G, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.beardpapas.com

Snowy Village

Taro Tuesday’s should be a thing!😝

Posted by Snowy Village - Houston on Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Helpful review: “I had never heard of bingsu before my friend introduced me to it while in Chinatown, but I’m sure glad I know what it is now. It’s like having shaved ice, but the ice is flavored on its own before even being shaved, and there’s a great assortment of fruit and what I assume to be condensed milk on top. This blew away any other “shaved ice” I’ve ever had - including the ‘hawaiian’ version with ice cream in the center. Give it a try after getting dinner in town!” Jacob C.

Address: 9600 Bellaire Blvd. Ste. 103-A, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.facebook.com/snowyvillagehouston

Nu Cafe

It’s almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.

Posted by Nu Cafe on Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Helpful review: “16 ice flavors: almond, avocado, chocolate, coconut, coffee, durian, green tea, lychee, mango sorbet, milk tea, mixed berry sorbet, peanut butter, sea salt caramel, strawberry, taro, vanilla milk…What sets this place apart? The shaved ice: it takes them 10 hours to make, and they say that all flavors are natural. The ambiance: new, swish booths and tables, very Taiwanese-feeling. Great selection of ice flavors, toppings and syrup flavors.” Sandy C.

Address: 9889 Bellaire Blvd. #112a, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.nucafehouston.com

Popfancy Dessert Bar

Helpful review: “I waited for Popfancy Dessert Bar at Bellaire Food Street to open for months. There are lots of seats and [it’s] well organized. I noticed the pink flamingos standing in the corner. They match with the pink interior. This is a foodie’s heaven. There are perfect photo opportunities on 2 small walls. I drooled on the delicious popsicles on a hot sunny day. I always buy a few to share with friends whenever they are out there. Since it’s still soft opening, I got to try the flurry ice cream and ice pops. I’m waiting for the special drinks.” Luis C.

Address: 9393 Bellaire Blvd. a6, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.popfancypops.com

10. KARAOKE

We couldn’t end the day properly without some karaoke. Take the stage in a private room with your friends where you can sing off key and dance without judgement. When the soju kicks in, many bars also allow patrons to sing in the main area. Expect a variety of K-pop and other popular Asian genres on the menu, in addition to U.S. pop music.

Neway Restaurant and Lounge

Posted by Neway Restaurant & Lounge on Friday, December 21, 2018

Helpful review: “Cool spot for some delicious food and beverages, excellent service, as well as karaoke (main dining area, and private room karaoke available.) Private rooms are $30.00 per hour. Staff is very friendly, hospitable, and accommodating. Food is tasty, and reasonably priced, with good portion size. Cool, casual atmosphere. Located on second level. Open late.” J.M. S.

Address: 9889 Bellaire Blvd suite d239, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.neway239.com

Yes KTV

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The defining decade! #23

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Helpful review: “This is a very intimate place that provides a lively atmosphere and great customer service. They have a very decent selection of songs to sing to, and they keep well up to date with new songs. The price is well worth every cent considering you don’t have to make up for it paying for drinks cause it’s BYOB! The employees don’t interfere with you and your group and are very courteous. Overall if you like to karaoke with friends and don’t want to be on stage with a bunch of strangers looking at you then this is the place to go. It’s also surrounded by plenty of restaurants.” Quintin A.

Address: 9889 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.yesktv.net

Happy Zone KTV

Helpful review: “Happy Zone was a wonderful experience for me. The environment is extremely clean. The bar, Karaoke room, restroom, everything was beyond beautiful. I’ve never been to such a place like this one. Each room has a beautiful theme and cool light up tables and stuffed animals that go with the room. The sound system and mics are also really great. The service there is great. The staff was checking on us, made sure we had our bottles and brought out our food quickly as well. They took really good care of us.” Crystal L.

Address: 9889 Bellaire Blvd. Ste. 207, Houston, TX 77036

Website: www.happyzonekaraoke.com

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