Houston is right up there with New York as one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the United States! The Asian population is Houston’s fastest growing ethnic group. In fact, it is the fastest growing in America – ahead of Hispanics. The small city of Sugar Land (home to Aling’s Chinese Cuisine) is even 37.5% Asian. China is the most heavily populated country in the world.
So what exactly brought the large Asian community to Houston – more specifically, the Chinese community?
In 1870, 250 men from China were the very first Chinese to come to Houston for construction work. 30 years later, there were only 7 Chinese residents in Houston. In the early 1900s, the very first Chinese business district opened. Some Chinese residents in Mississippi left to move down here to Houston. The Great Migration left many of them without their steady clientele of African-Americans. By the 1930s, there were less than 50 Chinese living in Houston. Many of them owned restaurants and small grocery stores while they lived directly behind their business or on the second floor.
World War II slowly brought the Chinese population up to 121 because of Houston’s attractive economy. By 1950, the population still hadn’t even hit 1,000. The Chinese Merchants’ Association moved into what is now East Downtown and became a booming Chinatown by the 1970s. Today, many call it the “Old Chinatown.”
By 1983, there were around 30,000 people of Chinese origin living in the Houston area. A “New Chinatown” was created, and it is the popular Chinatown most Houstonites know and love today. In the 1990s, local Asian entrepreneurs moved their businesses from old neighborhoods and the old Chinatown to this new area.
In 2002, China’s very own seven-foot-six basketball superstar Yao Ming suited up to join the Houston Rockets. Millions of people in China turned on their TVs to catch him in action and found that Houston was an international city with a booming Asian population. Before Yao Ming, many Chinese didn’t know the difference between Houston and Boston. He basically brought awareness to the city. Chinese investors and immigrants made their way over soon after.
Many investors left because of China’s instable economy and came here because of American real estate. In 2015, the Chinese bought the most properties and spent the most dollars out of all other foreigners in America. They became the second largest international buyer of Texas real estate, falling right below Latin American buyers. Houston has the largest Chinatown in the South – which could be the reason it has attracted so many investors. Last year, the total Asian population in Houston was up to 126,378!
While Houston has a large Chinese background and culture, Chinese restaurants are everywhere – but how will you know if it’s truly authentic and delicious? Stop by Aling’s Chinese Cuisine, and the search will be over. You won’t want to dine anywhere else!