Houston Chinese Restaurant is Soon Bringing Duck & Dumplings to Rice Village

Duck N Bao, which started in Cypress, then opened a Memorial location, has picked Rice Village for a third one. The restaurant, known for Peking duck and xiao long bao (soup dumplings), is taking over the former Zoës Kitchen space at 5215 Kelvin.  

Owners and married couple Grace and Leo Xia, who also debuted all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue restaurant Hongdae 33 last year, anticipate opening Duck N Bao in Rice Village sometime this spring. 

Grace and Leo Xia, owners of Duck N Bao
Grace and Leo Xia, owners of Duck N Bao. Photo by Jenn Duncan.

“We’ve been looking for a great location in Rice Village for a long time,” says Grace. “Being near the university brings a youthful vibe and a constant influx of new students arriving every year. We love the neighborhood and look forward to sharing our authentic Chinese food with Rice Village residents and visitors.” Both Grace and Leo have a long history with Houston-area restaurants. Leo started at age 18 at Cajun Café & Grill at Baybrook Mall, which his family eventually bought, and he later opened Green Garden, a  Sichuan restaurant in Cypress. For her part, Grace was a manager at Atami in College Station and had a corporate stint at Deloitte before leaving to open a Kung Fu Tea franchise.

In addition to Peking duck and soup dumplings, Duck N Bao also serves creative appetizers, such as Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Duck Pumpkin Puff. The Cold Spicy Beef made with shank and tendon meat, is also excellent — especially during the summer. The soup dumplings come in pork, chicken and crab with pork varieties, and other dim sum treats include Beef Pan-Fried Bao, shrimp and pork siu mai and crystal shrimp dumplings

Pork soup dumplings at Duck N Bao
Pork soup dumplings at Duck N Bao. Photo by Jenn Duncan.

Brand-new dishes are coming to the Rice Village location, too. These include Triple-Cooked Short Ribs, duck fried rice and Lobster Tails Three Ways: stir-fried salt-and-pepper style, with XO sauce and with truffle sauce finished with freshly shaved truffles. Some of the most luxurious new additions are Truffle Soup Dumplings, mapo tofu with a lobster upgrade and the ability to add caviar to the Peking duck accouterments of pancakes, cucumber, scallions and duck soup.  

Grace, who got a little experience bartending during her time at Atami, is working on Duck N Bao’s bar program. It will offer baijiu and other Chinese spirits, as well as to-be-announced signature cocktails. There will also be loose-leaf tea service

Once it opens, the former Zoës Kitchen will be transformed with modern Chinese design, a blue, gray, red and gold color palette, and decor featuring Chinese plates, teapots and bowls. Customers will even be able to purchase some of these items. Other features of the space include a large patio and a semi-open kitchen with a viewing window to watch the dumplings being made. 

When it opens, Duck N Bao’s hours in Rice Village will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., serving both lunch and dinner. No reservations will be required, as seating will be first-come, first-served. The restaurant will also accept delivery orders through DoorDash and Uber Eats. 

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