Attention all foodies! Take an adventure with the City of Pearland's International Cuisine Trail

Rosie Nguyen Image
Monday, May 13, 2024
Take a culinary adventure with the City of Pearland's International Cuisine Trail
Take a culinary adventure with the City of Pearland's International Cuisine Trail

PEARLAND, Texas (KTRK) -- Foodies, listen up! It's time to put your international palate to the test through a culinary adventure. The City of Pearland is offering a free digital passport, called the International Cuisine Trail, to reward visitors who check out their locally-owned restaurants.

This week, ABC13's Localish is in Pearland and we are featuring two Asian-owned businesses for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month.

"With Pearland's diversity and network of culinary talent, we knew that we wanted to showcase these international menus in an entirely new way," said Rebekah Burns, marketing manager for the Pearland Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Our restaurants are the hidden gems. We already have so many people coming to shop, but we definitely want people to try out our food."

You don't have to go far from the visitors center to start your journey on the International Cuisine Trail. Our first stop took us just down the street to Eight Turn Crepes, a Japanese-style creperie owned by Melissa Nguyen and her husband, Duc.

"With the French style, they fold it into three pieces and put it on a plate. The Japanese style is different. They love to make it into something convenient. With this type of crepe, they'll roll it into a cone," said Nguyen.

Their business is fairly new, opening just six months ago. She says she couldn't find this type of crepe in Pearland, so she decided to bring the concept there herself. They offer 12 sweet and 10 savory crepe options, making them all gluten-free with rice flour.

"Our business is called Eight Turn Crepes because in Japan, 'eight' signifies prosperity and happiness. 'Turn' is to signify the mindset of turning something into a happy and healthy thing," she said. "Every single crepe of ours is designed to make everybody's day turn around into something happy."

Just two minutes down the road is Boiling Dragon, an Asian Cajun restaurant offering casual, but trendy fusion-style dishes. It opened back in June 2020, shortly before the pandemic. Owner Harold Wong says the issue they're facing right now is a shortage in staff and trying to keep up with the demand from his customers.

"We specialize in casual seafood boils, shrimp, snow crab, fried rice, and baos," he said. "Stuff that you would see from food trucks. A lot of our guests actually asked me if we started off as a food truck." (In case you're wondering, they didn't)

Wong has more than 20 years of chef experience under his belt, most recently known for Ginza, a sushi restaurant that used to be located near the Galleria. Being a resident of Pearland, he wanted to bring something unique to the area and make the cuisine more affordable for his customers.

"Over time, I realized a lot of these Asian cajun restaurants were special occasion places, that you go to one to three times a year. I didn't want that. I wanted a place where people can come one to three times a week," he said. "We have Black folks, white folks, Asian, Hispanic, etc. This is a perfect example of why we wanted to do this cuisine, because everybody eats it."

Wong was one of the first business owners to join Pearland's newly-formed International Cuisine Trail. He says the city used to only offer food selections from chain and fast food restaurants. But now with its growing diversity, their food scene has a lot more to offer.

"One thing about the International Cuisine Trail is it's something that ties the community together. It's interactive and makes people want to venture off and try a new place that they've probably never heard of," he said.

The trail includes a total of nine restaurants. The other seven are Arabella Mediterranean Kitchen + Grill, Moreno's Grill Mexican Restaurant, Sambal Chef Malaysian Restaurant, Santa Barbara Italian Cafe, Spicy Panda, Super Bowl, and Szechuan Spice.

Burns said people who visit at least three pass locations are entered into a drawing to win a foodie-themed prize. The first drawing will take place on July 1.

"We are looking to grow and expand the trail. This is the inaugural year that we launched in March and we're hoping to add more restaurants to the list. Eventually, we'll have weekend stays designed around it," said Tracy Rohrbacher, executive director for the Pearland Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to nominate restaurants they think should be part of the trail. Business owners can also reach out to participate, at no cost. Establishments must be located within city limits, be locally-owned and operated (or have nine or less locations within the Houston area if franchised), and be unique to Pearland either historically or culturally.

To sign up for the digital passport or for more information, visit Pearland's International Cuisine Trail website.

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