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Chinese food in St. Louis

  • r

I was wondering if any of you have suggestions for good, authentic Chinese food in St.Louis. I've tried the buffets at Eat First (what a dumb name!) on Page(?) and Great Chef off of Manchester(?) and although they offer fairly authentic items, the quality is what you'd expect from a buffet. I also recently went to Royal Chinese BBQ on Olive and that was quite yummy although still not up to the standards I'm used to (Vancouver, BC Chinese food). Also, is there any place that serves dim sum in carts?

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  1. Hi Risa: I lived in St. Louis for many years, until this past Oct.

    If you're looking for Vancouver caliber Chinese food, you'll look in vain. The Royal Chinese Barbecue place you mention was one of my favorites. I had pretty much swung on over to Thai and Vietnamese food by the time I left, good Chinese being so illusive.

    Now, there *is* a place on Grand across from the big international super market (I've forgotten the name) that is somebody's (Hong Wu?, Hong something?) bakery. In the back they serve food. Try that place and report back. I think you'll like it very much. pat

    6 Replies
    1. re: pat hammond
      m
      Michael Messier

      I think Pat is referring to Hong Wa Bakery which is located on S. Grand Blvd. They also have an outlet on Olive St. Rd. that is a take out place with basic chinese bakery items, roast meats, and a few dim sum items, mostly rice noodle based. The Grand location offers the bakery items and has a fairly large dining room. Despite the appparently well patronized vietnamese restaurants on the same street, Hong Wa, in my experience, is generally empty. A number of the dishes I had tasted as if they had been made from ingredients that had been sitting around a bit too long.

      As for Royal Chinese BBQ, it is probably the best chinese places in St. Louis, especially if you are seeking such exotic fare (at least for St. Louis) as Chow Fun and various Hot Pots. Keep in mind, however, that the average corner take out place in NYC or LA is as good or better than RCBBQ. Most of the menu's in St. Louis's chinese restaurants look like they come from the same print shop. If you want kick-ass chinese food you'll have to go to another city!

      1. re: Michael Messier

        Michael, Thanks for setting the record straight. I used to go with a Chinese friend from work, who is originally from San Francisco. She did the ordering and while I always thought it was terrific, she pronounced it "authentic". Either we hit it on good days or it's gone seriously downhill. pat

        1. re: Michael Messier
          g
          Gabriel Solis

          Having lived in St. Louis and a few cities with really good chinese food (and being a lover, if not connoisseur of it), I'd say it's true you'll search in vain for really good chinese in St. L. On the other hand, I understand hyperbole, but the food at RCBBQ is much better than your average corner take-out place in NY, SF, LA, Seattle, etc. To say it's worse is just silly.

          Gabriel

          1. re: Gabriel Solis
            m
            Michael Messier

            Gabriel, you're right. I was exagerating and feeling sorry for myself after recently having had excellent chinese food in NYC and LA. RCBBQ is better than the average big-city, chinese take out place, but it does pale in comparison to my faves in these cities. I usually opt for Vietnamese food (especially Vietnam Star on Olive St. Rd.) in St. Louis, which is generally of good quality and compares favorably with the vietnamese restaurants in larger cities.

            As for Hung Wa Bakery, I was pretty thrilled when it opened. After all, it's one of the few places in St. Louis that offers Chow Fun. It was OK when it opened, but for some reason, even when the other asian places on the strett are full, Hung Wa is inexplicaby empty. This seems to have effected the quality. The last time I was there we ordered a stir fry dish that included small pieces of ribs (not BBQ). They were cooked through, hot on the outside but cold near the bone, indicating they were previously cooked, refrigerated/frozen? and then reheated.

          2. re: Michael Messier

            Hi Michael M and Pat H, I'm new to to Chow and just read these comments and know that they are well over 10 years old, however I'm going to jump in on the conversation as I was looking for ways to get my hands on St. Louis style Crab Rangoon. I'm from St. Louis, but now I stay in Colorado. Mike you made a statement about if you really won't kick-ass Chinese food you'll have to go to another city. I guess its all about where you are from. Because here in Colorado I haven't found anything like St. Louis Chinese food and I'm talking about the old school neighborhood food. (mom & pop) stores. Not this new age peas and carrots in the fried rice garbage. I did meet the owner of a local Chinese restaurtant here in Denver who had added St. Paul Sandwiches to his menu. I told him I haven't had the taste in years and he asked me was I from St. Louis and I said yes. He told me in his own words that St. Louis is where all the Chinese owners go to get new ideas for their menus because St. Louis does things different. Now I have found a place that is more Authentic and has Dim Sum which I never had until I came out here. So Pat H. I can understand your crave certainly if this is what you had in BC. This style of Chinese food is way different than St. Louis however the taste is great. I still crave St. Louis Chinese food more and every time I go home I stop and get some while I'm visiting Mom.

          3. re: pat hammond

            Pat - I'm following your advice and the Board's closely before visiting in April...I couldn't possibly imagine a FLOATA anywhere within a thousand miles of STL. Now that was awesome dim sum.

          4. I hear good things about dim sum on the weekends at Hunan Garden (near Westport Plaza), although I haven't been to St. Louis lately. I'm attaching a link below to a St. Louis Chinese (& other) restaurant review web page one of my HK Chinese college roommates put together -- she's been in St. Louis for the last thirteen or so years.

            Hunan Garden
            11532 Page Service Road
            Maryland Heights
            432-7015

            Cheers,
            Deb H.

            Link: http://www.inlink.com/~eckert/restaur...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Deb H.

              Lamentably, what many folks in this stream are saying is true: adventurous, gourmet Chinese is not plentiful here in STL. As to the dim sum place up North, Hunan Garden, I haven't tried it, but nearby, over by the Boeing campus at Lindbergh and McDonnel (I think) is China Royal. GO DO THIS! Sunday dim sum served right: cart after cart is rolled out from the kitchen for the diner's perusal. All manner of shao mai, har gao, scallop dumplings, beggar's purses, chicken feet, the best danged so-called "Chinese broccoli" I've had, dressed hot tableside, WOW! One time and you'll be hooked. See you there! (Oh, yeah: marvelous specialty teas if they like you...)

            2. The name of the place on S. Grand and Olive Blvd. is Wei Hong - the Olive spot is only bakery with a couple of tables. But try Jade Garden farther out on Olive, by the Olivette fire station. Try the Chinese menu.

              1. St. Louis is the only big city near where I live (a couple of hours away), and don't think much of the Chinese food. Lulu's weekend dimsum was passable last time we had it, but it's uncarted.

                We often get the Cantonese style roast duck at Royal Chinese BBQ to go. Today we also went to 家鄉, at 8237 Olive across from Lulu's on the corner of Olive & Grant. There is no English name on the outside, and inside the menu on the wall is in Chinese, and the only English menu they have is one from the previous owner. And they don't speak English! I told them they should really get English translations for their dishes. I suppose you could take a takeout menu from another restaurant and order from that...

                That said, this means their current clientele is mostly Chinese, and their food (they're from Shanghai) is pretty authentic. We had the sliced fish, which was pretty good, the "fish style" eggplant, also good, and homestyle tofu, so-so. They've got noodles on the other side of the menu.

                We'll certainly be back, or maybe try the Teochow place next to it.

                1. My goodness, does this thread set some sort of record for republishing an old thread? This one began in early Jan. 2001, and its last post was almost seven years ago. Wow.

                  Lulu's does have cart service for dim sum, at least the Sunday we tried it three weekends ago, though it is supplemented with ordering from the menu as well. For some recent discussion of St. Louis area Chinese food, go to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website, www.stltoday.com, and click on the "Eat at Joe's" forum, hosted by Joe Bonwich, the primary restaurant critic for the paper. There is a long current thread there, that discusses Yen Ching (an oldtime favorite south of Clayton on Brentwood), Lulu's, In Soo, and other places on Olive east of the 170 Inner Belt such as Wei Hong, and other outlying places.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: nosh

                    Directing someone to the Eat at Joe forum in the Post to find out about chinese is a terrible recommendation. Most of the regulars are a rather unsophisticated bunch who don't even realize krab rangoon isn't chinese.

                    My favorite is Wei Hong on Olive, then Royal Chinese bbq. I need to try Lulu again, but I was so disappointed two years ago I've never been back. Asiana showed promise, but it's been closed the past two times I've tried to eat there. As the above post indicated there are two small dumpy places across from lulu, but they don't speak english at either and the menu is in chinese, too. I did try the place closest to the corner and it was okay but nothing special..

                    1. re: mister

                      I agree about the Eat at Joe forum.

                      I do like Wan Fu on Manchester in Des Peres.

                  2. We have enjoyed Won Ton King on Olive. Two menus. Attentive service. Good food. Good value.
                    We had horrendous service the two times we tried LuLu. Left after almost an hour the second visit--never having received our soup! Not been back.
                    p.j.

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: p.j.

                      We went to Lulu's for dimsum the other Sunday. The service & food wasn't bad, but it cost us $35 for nothing but dimsum and tea. Either they cheated us or they're ridiculously expensive.

                      Also, when we left we saw a vat full of chicken quarter legs marinating while sitting outside in the sun behind the restaurant.

                      We won't be back.

                      On the other hand, we got some 粽子 zòngzi at the Shanghainese restaurant across the street from Lulu's. Although the color of the glutinous rice looked alarmingly brown, apparently from soy sauce, they were pretty good, though aside from the sticky rice they only had a piece of (delicious) fat pork.

                      However, the Asian supermarket down the street from them had several varieties of zòngzi. A single Hong Kong style zòngzi was nearly twice the size of the restaurant version, and in addition to the pork, also had mushrooms, hulled mung beans, and an egg yolk. Of course, you've got to steam it yourself.

                      Finally, a few days later we tried the ChaoZhou Cuisine restaurant (8233 Olive), which like the Shanghainese place next door apparently has no menu and only a single chef, without a waiter. We didn't have much of an appetite, and all we had was the 拼盤 pīnpán, sort of Chinese cold cuts/charcuterie, which was pretty good.

                      I'm not sure that either the zòngzi or the pīnpán would appeal to Joe's crab rangoonians, though.

                      1. re: hanmeng

                        Randall Robert's review of ChaoZhou Cuisine is "Chinatown Confidential: The Chiu Chow cuisine of Meng Lei", here:
                        http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2007-0...

                        1. re: hanmeng

                          That's an amazingly well-done article which sheds a lot of light on what actual Chinese food is really about. Meng Lei's place reminds me of Grace Garden, a restaurant I frequent in Odenton (MD) which produces some of the best cooking on the east coast. If it's still around, I'll be making a trip to St Louis in the fall to check this out.

                          1. re: KWagle

                            The immortal thread lives on! 12 1/2 years and counting. Keeping talking, St. Louis hounds.

                            1. re: alan

                              And someone go find out if this place is still around! Take some pictures of the menu and post them so people can translate them!

                              1. re: KWagle

                                It was still open as of last summer when we moved away from STL!

                                I have friends who do something even more exciting at that restaurant: They bring a bunch of raw ingredients (fresh fish, meats, veg, etc.), and he makes a custom meal out of it for them!

                                We never had the courage to try this, but I have heard this from multiple friends. His other major specialty is soy braised offal, which is a really popular street food that my wife loves, and that's typically what we have there - simple enough to point in the display case.

                                Good luck and enjoy!

                                1. re: neointima

                                  Someone posted photos of this restaurant two months ago. So it's probably still open, though maybe they were old pics.
                                  http://xinranren.wordpress.com/2013/0...

                                  1. re: Brian S

                                    I'm so excited! How many Chowhounds are there in St Louis?

                                    And, anyone know what those candies are? Someone on the Boston board was looking for an obscure Chinese candy from his childhood....

                                    1. re: KWagle

                                      there's what? 5 maybe 8 of us?

                                      I'm kidding, but it's one of the slower categories on any of the boards. if you have a question, give it plenty of lead time (as in not a few hours or even a few days). we DO want to help, but we're kinda, laconic? or is it lackadaisical? it has a Southern pace sometimes mixed with a Northern taciturnity (too wordy?).

                                      do check out the markets on Olive then, I haven't seen Boston's C-Town in years, but these are big-box Asian Grocers, so unless that candy was handmade, they would be your best bet.

                                      1. re: hill food

                                        Well, I was thinking of how many people we could roust for a chowdown at this place whose name I am uncertain of. In the fall or winter... that's enough lead time! :D

                                            1. re: lemons

                                              Interested, in eating and meeting some of the others.

                                            2. re: KWagle

                                              I believe it is ChaoZhou Cuisine, 8233 Olive Blvd.

                                              1. re: Brian S

                                                Well, *I* didn't manage to make it out in the fall or the winter. My next opportunities to get to St Louis are late summer (slim chance though) or late fall and late winter (good chances of that.) Is this place still around? If anyone is still interested, email me at the address in my profile, since CH frowns on planning Chowdowns on the message boards (I have to admit this has always baffled me.)

                        2. Having lived in STL for 14 years (I'm now in KC), and a true lover of Chineese food, I think I've been to every restaurant in STL. Amazingly, the VERY best was found at a little hole in the wall restaurant on South Kingshighway called FU LEE. It is mostly take out, but does have a few tables if you wish to eat it there. And if it's not on the menu, ask Mi (pronounced "My"--the owner) to make it for you. The Gen. Cho's chicken is to die for! After discovering FU LEE, I wouldn't eat any other in STL. I sure do miss it. If anyone in the KC area knows of a good Chineese restaurant here, please let me know! Particularly if in Johnson County!

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: GrtRealtor

                            Gen.Tso's is a mark of a good resto? Really?

                            I am going to restate my support of LuLu's. People keep talking about how they got a bad meal there, but I haven't yet. Maybe because I engage the ladies in conversation makes a difference, I don' t know. But it has always been good for me.

                            Also Royal BBQ. And Wei Hong .. I don't know whether it's even open on Olive anymore, although the S Grand location may still be there. When you're craving Hong Kong bakery, that's the place to go (when you don't feel like making your own daan taat and cha siu bao).

                            1. re: k_d

                              Wei Hong is still there. When we went the huge room was chilly and mostly empty. The food was OK, but not much variety. But at the attached bakery, I like the fried sesame balls and the zòngzi; the latter use pork and hulled mung beans.

                            2. re: GrtRealtor

                              i too lived in stl and then kc. It is not chineese, but malaysian which are similar, the name of the place is malay cafe. it is located up north on Barry road just east of I-29. in stl, the place i enjoyed was yen chings on brentwood just north of I-64

                              1. re: rtsholmes

                                You must have lived in STL a while back...Yen Ching is not what it once was.

                                1. re: lemons

                                  pity, in its day it was of the godhead

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    Yen Ching was terrific when there was virtually no other quality Chinese food in St. Louis. We're talking over 30 years ago, however. My favorite Yen Ching trivia: the sign says "Restauant." Has for years.

                                    1. re: alan

                                      BIG NEWS: A new facade on Yen Ching! Same old same old inside, but....

                                      1. re: lemons

                                        I miss the old sign that no-one ever bothered to correct (or maybe no-one ever bothered to proofread): "Chinese Restauant" (!)

                            3. When I visit, my mother and I go to Sesame on Watson Rd. I think in Crestwood. I've always had good food there and the atmosphere is pretty decent.

                              50 Replies
                              1. re: ajtcsx

                                I know this is an old thread but for anyone out there interested here is my 2011 update on Chinese food in St. Louis ("Authentic" only - sorry I don't know anything about General Tzao's Chickem)

                                - Old Places:
                                All the places mentioned above still exist, however, I hardly think these are the extent of "authentic" Chinese in this city. There are so many places that weren't even mentioned and I'm pretty sure they have all been open for ages.

                                - Best Dim Sum: Mandarin House (on Page in a shopping mall strip with Schnucks)
                                - Best Hole in Wall: The Shanghainese restaurant and Chao Zhou directly opposite of Lulu's on Olive
                                - Best new restaurant: Famous Szechuan Pavilion (on Manchester). This place has been in existence for three months and is owned and ran by an older lady from Chongdu who cooks home-style Szechuan dishes on her four range stove. The restaurant is tiny. It only sits about 4 at most. It was converted from a drive-through coffee shack.
                                - Best remodeled restaurant: Joy Luck Buffet (Manchester). This place has been around for more than two decades and I'm amazed no one above mentioned it! It's the most authentic Szechuan restaurant in town. They offer all you can eat hot pot with lamb, beef, pork, shrimp, squid, crab sticks, rice sticks, cabbage, tofu, and mushrooms. It's $21 and includes a buffet (buffet has alot of options including Mongolian BBQ and sushi. Buffet is average but you really don't go there for the buffet). They have traditional Szechuan dishes on the Chinese menu (Spicy beef and trip + spicy boiled fish, etc)

                                - Best Oldie but Goodie: Steak and Rice (owned by a Taiwanese family I believe). The beef brisket and beef noodles are delicious! This place has been around for ages and again, I'm surprised no one mentioned it above.

                                Honorable Mentions:
                                - Panda Palace Restaurant (not to be confused with Panda Express) has meat buns, red meat, and other authentic dishes. I remember they were on the Chinese menu. Service is a bit slow but food was fantastic!
                                - Asiana's on Olive has great Taiwanese style spicy beef noodles.

                                That's all I have so far. I personally do not think Royal BBQ and Lulu's are anything special despite all the positive reviews above, but they do fall somewhere between authentic Chinese and Americanized Chinese and if that's your niche then you'll be fine at those places.

                                -----
                                Joy Luck Buffet
                                8030 Manchester Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63144

                                Panda Palace
                                17 Nationalway Shopping Ctr, Manchester, MO 63011

                                Steak and Rice
                                951 S Kirkwood Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63122

                                1. re: lightscamerainaction

                                  Thanks for your revival of this ancient thread. You've given us a lot to think about. Haven't been to Joy Luck in years and am glad to hear it's improved so much. By the way, if you're able, you might want to remove the Mandarin House link since the always reliable linking system here on CH has picked up a restaurant in Blair, Nebraska, which I don't believe was your intention.

                                  1. re: lightscamerainaction

                                    Thanks lightscamerainaction, I'm excited to try all the restaurants you mentioned. I stay in Denver, Colorado now as I have been here for 10 years. I still believe St. Louis has the best Chinese food in most states. As I traveled around the country I still believe St. Louis is the best. I once ate at a Chinese Restaurant here in Colorado and I told the owner that his food was similar to what I was familiar with back home. He then asked me was I from St. Louis. I said yes and he replied St. Louis is known for its Chinese food and many of us go there to learn. I was blown a way. I'm heading to St. Louis in August to visit family and I will be sure to visit the stores you mentioned. Thanks again for your passion and love for Authentic Chinese food

                                    1. re: dtmurphy

                                      We ate at Mandarin House in Overland Plaza this weekend.

                                      Delicious!

                                      FOTD

                                      1. re: dtmurphy

                                        "St. Louis is known for its Chinese food and many of us go there to learn"

                                        whuh? sure he wasn't just being nice?

                                        1. re: hill food

                                          I guess it's known by somebody...just not those of us who live here. I thought we were famous for toasted ravioli, "muskacholey," provel, gooey butter cake, and my beloved St. Paul sandwiches.

                                          1. re: hill food

                                            Actually you will be surprised i had better Chinese food in st Louis than in Philly and Manhattan (Flushing has alot of Chinese and therefore great Chinese food so not gonna compare w that)

                                            1. re: lightscamerainaction

                                              I also went by FSP this weekend.

                                              THANK YOU SO MUCH for letting us know about this place.

                                              Loved it !

                                              1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                What did you have at Famous Szechuan Pavilion?

                                                1. re: nosh

                                                  We had the Dumpling/Won Ton soup. She makes the dumplings to order. Wraps them up and cooks them.
                                                  I had the clear version and my wife had the spicy version.
                                                  I think you have to get that IMO.
                                                  We also tried an appetizer of a cold pickled green bean with pork. Diced up fine. Not what I expected but interesting none the less.

                                                  I loved the place.

                                                  FOTD

                                                  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6194/6...

                                                  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6069/6...

                                                  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6069/6...

                                                2. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                  First of all. YEAH!!!! I can post a response again!

                                                  Now, I noticed that Famous Szechuan Pavilion is moving! To Jeffrey Plaza. They have tables in there. A nice big spot .
                                                  I also noticed two ads on the wall. They were in Chinese but what caught my eye was they had a picture of a traditional Hot Pot! So I am really excited and hoping that I can get some real Hot Pot again!

                                                  FOTD

                                                  1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                    no! I have a bad feeling about this. there's plenty of good Asian food on that stretch of Olive, there's next to bupkis where they are now and the lack of tables weeds out the no-funs. IMHO. if they thrive I'll be happy for them but I will relish my memory of the intimacy of the shack.

                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                      last month (mid-June 2012) I went to the new FSP on Olive, West of Hanley, Northside of the street with a veggie/pesce friend, who will suspend dietary rules for this place ("I don't care what's in it! it's good!" but there are veg options) god those dumplings, those noodles.

                                                      ok it lacks the intimacy of the shack and the decor has less than zero appeal, but the food is just as good as ever. server seemed a little frazzled but did fine.

                                                      it looked like maybe a few more things on the menu but only a few.

                                                      still on the 'go to' list for me.

                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                        I love this thread--It's the thread that will not die, now in its 12th year and still drawing comments. Don't you just love Chowhound?!

                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                          I will be in St. Louis for almost a week soon and am finalizing the places I want to hit. Famous Szechuan Pavilion is calling my name, but I can't find a website, a menu, or current info since it moved to the new location on Olive. So -- Is the food still good? Is it open on Sundays? Is it still cash only? Does it offer dim sum or dumplings for lunch/Sun brunch? Favorite dishes?

                                                          1. re: nosh

                                                            FSP is open Sundays (not sure how early), takes plastic, but doesn't do dim sum. for that ya wanna hit Lulu's. which is good flavor and execution but bao and siu mai were a bit big as per the piece.

                                                            somebody upstream scanned a menu for FSP and it's about the same. I trust the woman cooking so much (I have no dietary restrictions) I'd be comfy saying "do what sounds like fun!"

                                                            def. the DanDan noodles, the cold noodles and the dumpling soup. need to try more.

                                                            I'm working on it.

                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                              I'm actually not a fan of Lulu's for dim sum. I only go to Mandarin House for that these days. Stuff just tastes better at MH imo. Haha!

                                                              Last time I went to FSP was before they moved and I had the sweet and sour pork - thinking it'll be the style that my mom used to cook...yuck. The sauce was sour and really un-balanced. Unless she changed her recipe, I wouldn't recommend that dish to anyone.

                                                              1. re: lightscamerainaction

                                                                yeah but (no offense intended) sweet and sour pork at a Szechuan place?

                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                  Totally agree with above comments. We also go exclusively go to Mandarin House for dimsum. I recommend going early because when stuff sits on the steamers for a long time it gets soggy. Along those lines, I think I said this before, but we used to go to Wei Hong on Olive if I got a hankering for dimsum on a weekday as you can get it to order- probably the best way to have dimsum except you have to wait.

                                                                  Re FSP- We also had the Mapo tofu recently and it was probably the best in St. Louis. Definitely bring a big bottle of water. Beef noodle soup also very good- though Mandarin House and Asiana rival. Speaking of which recommend the dandan noodles at Asiana too- its the traditional brothy style rather than the dry style at FSP.

                                                                  Btw, we found recently that lunchtime on weekdays is less crowded, but I think she doesn't use AC during the day so you get the authentic Szechuan experience!

                                                                  Lastly, I'm sure it goes without saying on Chowhound that one should be prepared for 'fireas*' the next day after visiting FSP...

                                                                  1. re: neointima

                                                                    HA! yeah if it burns on the way in, it's gonna...

                                                                    thx to both on the dim sum tips. I got spoiled in CA.

                                            2. re: lightscamerainaction

                                              I stopped by Famous Szechuan Pavilion on Manchester, just west of Brentwood, a few weeks ago after reading your post. It was the middle of a hot Friday afternoon, and I was the sole customer. The proprietress made my Dan Dan Noodles, and I inhaled them while she prepared some pork next to me. I had a wonderful time watching her knife work: she removed every bit of fat and gristle. Thanks for sending me on a delicious adventure!

                                              1. re: lightscamerainaction

                                                Famous Szechuan Pavilion is where on Manchester. City? County? Thanks!

                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                  it is west of where Manchester and Big Bend intercept...i believe.

                                                  1. re: lightscamerainaction

                                                    Ah! I wander there a bit. I'll have a look next time I'm down there.

                                                    There isn't good Chinese to be had in W. County. At least I haven't found it.

                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                      Try the little place next to Mike's barber Shop near the Steak and Shake and the Tailor Shop. Pretty good stuff.

                                                      FOTD

                                                      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                        FOTD, are you talking about the SnS in Maplewood?

                                                        1. re: lemons

                                                          No. Sueatmo was asking about West County. This place is by Gooey Louie's a mile or two west of 141 on Manchester.

                                                          FOTD

                                                          1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                            I had forgotten there was a Steak and Shake in Ballwin and I drive this area all the time! I had to look at the street view online. OK. I can probably find the place. I'll have lunch there in a few days. I am intrigued. (This isn't the place on Baxter, just a little south of Manchester? We had lunch there a year or two ago, and I didn't think it was very good. Smelled like burnt oil in there.)

                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                              No. That place is no good. It is on the other side of Manchester (south side) and a half mile or so WEST of Baxter, RIGHT next to the Steak and Shake.
                                                              I must also say, that I am hearing alot of good reports about Panda Palace which is in the National Way center where the Blckbuster and Office Depot is. I went there a few years ago when it first opened and I thought it was just ok but alot of people on another forum and my wife as well all are speaking good things....

                                                              FOTD

                                                              -----
                                                              Panda Palace
                                                              17 Nationalway Shopping Ctr, Manchester, MO 63011

                                                              1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                                Thanks for the info. I didn't remember the name of the Chinese restaurant in National Way Center. I think we tried that place, or the place that was there before, several years ago, and came away pretty unhappy. As I posted before, I've tried but I haven't found a good Chinese place out here.

                                                                I appreciate the heads up about the new place. I'll give it a try soon.

                                                                1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                                  That place has changed owners and cooks multiple times already and i heard the chef just left again...not sure if its true. Please comment if you have visited this place recently.

                                                                  1. re: lightscamerainaction

                                                                    If you are referring to the Chinese place in National Way Plaza, any info I have is years old. I didn't like it very well, and we didn't go back.

                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                      This became I think Great Chef Garden and then Panda Palace just a few years ago. The reports I have on it are very recent and good. Though I myself have not gone. On the list though.

                                                                      FOTD

                                                                      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                                        Here are some quotes from the other board about Panda Palace in Nationalway Center and these are brand new. Of course YMMV...

                                                                        FOTD

                                                                        <I have been there several times and each time has been fantastic>

                                                                        <I agree. This is a very nice restaurant. Clean, friendly owners, AND the food quality is excellent.

                                                                        >

                                                                        <It is actual Gourmet Chinese (at fair prices) and they are not kidding.

                                                                        I found many dishes here that I could only find in Chinatown in Chicago. This is not "just like all the other Chinese places".

                                                                        Very diverse menu.
                                                                        >

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Panda Palace
                                                                        17 Nationalway Shopping Ctr, Manchester, MO 63011

                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                            Your very welcome! I did go to the other place for take out I was telling you about this weekend. It is called "China in Bombay". While I was there, I saw a FANTASTIC looking dish or rice with a BIG egg omelette looking thing on top of it. The people told me if you order the rice or noodles with egg on top you get that. It looked great. We enjoyed our carry out for two days.

                                                                            FOTD

                                                      2. re: lightscamerainaction

                                                        It's about a block west of where Manchester and Brentwood intersect.

                                                      3. re: sueatmo

                                                        i had the yu shan pork which was tasty but on the sweet side, the Dan Dan noodles, and the spicy dumplings. All were tasty.

                                                      4. re: lightscamerainaction

                                                        Lightscamerainaction - I think you might become our next online best friend. I hadn't even *heard* about Famous Szechuan Pavilion, but since my wife and I just spent the better part of 8 hours yesterday with friends making dumplings (grinding the pork, chopping the veg, wrapping the dumpings), the existence of a made-to-order dumpling/noodle shop will be a lifetime dream come true.

                                                        Made-to-order dumpling and noodle shops are every third storefront in Taipei. You can often see one of the cooks pulling dough into noodle strands, while others roll out dumpling dough, and a third wraps in assembly line fashion. These made-to-order dumplings are usually served steaming hot at 20 cents each with sides of pickled spicy cucumbers, "1000 year old" preserved eggs, kimchi, spicy bamboo shoots, and others.

                                                        Why is this important? Just like dried pasta is a poor substitute for fresh pasta, the freshly made/wrapped dumpling has a toothy but tender chewiness to the wrapper that cannot be found in its sad frozen cousin.

                                                        Anyway, if she's still making dumplings to order, I'm going to have to move next door to eat there everyday.

                                                        Asiana: I did want to throw in my support for this place, since it wasn't well-represented in this thread. Apparently the story behind the place is that the head chef was an award-winning chef in Mainland China, and in strange twist of restaurant fate, he now cooks in a little known Chinese restaurant half a step above hole-in-the-wall.

                                                        Why does this matter? Not sure if it's one guy or multiple chefs, but the menu is divided into multiple regional cuisines in China, and even Taiwan is represented! I know - in St Louis?!? Just the appetizer menu is amazing with multiple classic (and hard to come by in the US) dishes such as jellyfish salad, poached chicken with green onions, cold sliced beef, spicy porkbelly.

                                                        My wife introduced me to the place early on when we were dating, and while I think I have a fairly experienced palate, this place has things I have never even heard of before!

                                                        For soup, there is a pork belly and preserved vegetable soup (tangy, but comforting clear broth with the preserved veg and slices of tender pork belly - yes, pork belly is well-represented on their menu, another good sign!).

                                                        Side: spicy shredded stir-fried potato - no it's not fried like french fries, but more like a toothy spaghetti squash with a fiery sauce.

                                                        Main: Spicy stir-fried intestines - sounds gross, and is probably not for the faint of heart, but if you like fatty meats and spicy stir-fry and are not afraid of gamy flavor, this is a definite must try.

                                                        Other standards that are amazing: Szechuan eggplant casserole, Water-Boiled Fish (or beef - don't let the name fool you, this is one of the spiciest dishes you will ever eat), Wu Xi Ribs (slow braised in a slightly sweet soy and anise flavored sauce).

                                                        The other great thing is that almost all the dishes have an English listing. It will take a bit of time to go through the extensive menu, but it is worth it! In addition, there is the Chinese menu insert (which we have trouble reading), but if you're willing to put in the time, you can ask the waitress to give you a suggestion from that menu - (warning, she is a bit short on patience, and service can be a bit difficult)!

                                                        Asiana is the type of place to go when you're interested in trying Chinese cuisine that you have never had before, and won't have a chance to go to the Mainland for awhile. Keep an open mind, and you just might find a new favorite!

                                                        Couple other side points:
                                                        - Mandarin House is actually also very good for dinner - lots of very good authentic dishes there too, including Taiwanese style cuisine! Their spicy beef noodle soup is really great as well...
                                                        - Chao Zhou - it's rumored that if you bring raw ingredients to the chef, he will make a meal out of this for you! We've never tried, but can't wait!

                                                        -----
                                                        Mandarin House
                                                        3302 W Broadway Business Park Ct Ste E, Columbia, MO 65203

                                                        1. re: neointima

                                                          I did not remember a prior discussion about Asiana before, so I thank you. Turns out, however, that it was the subject of a thread in 2007. I'm assuming this is the same place you're talking about, since you didn't tell us the location. Here's the address from the old thread: Asiana, 7930 Olive Blvd, University City, MO 63130. Please confirm. Thanks.

                                                          -----
                                                          Meng Yan Restauraunt Asiana Garden
                                                          7930 Olive Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63130

                                                          1. re: alan

                                                            Not sure if it's the same owner as then. Any info?

                                                            1. re: lemons

                                                              Yes, this is the same place "Meng Yan Asiana"- I thought I had tagged it via the "review of a specific restaurant" mechanism, but that didn't seem to come up in my post.

                                                              Not sure either about owner. Nevertheless, we go at least about once a month, and quality has been pretty uniform since ~3 yrs ago.

                                                              Re: Famous Szechuan Pavilion - We really loved it! We asked for 'normal spicy' in Chinese, and it was blazing spicy. Couple suggestions:

                                                              1) Bring a jug of water - saw one regular do this!
                                                              2) Consider ordering the fried rice and 1-2 entrees/appetizers for two people. The cook's palate is a bit on the salty/heavily seasoned side, so you'll need something a bit blander, and she doesn't serve steamed rice.
                                                              3) Service is faster if you order take-out - she seems to prioritize take-out customers, whereas we waited for a group of four and a couple before she began cooking our dishes.
                                                              4) Our favorites were the Spicy wontons and the cold noodles. We also got the Cha Jiang noodles, but these were probably really not different from Dan Dan noodles - no biggie, tasty anyway.
                                                              5) She just introduced Spicy Chicken Gizzards last weekend, and that was really tasty too, but way too spicy and salty without some kind of steamed rice or plain noodles. We took it home, and I had it this morning with a fried egg wrapped in scallion pancake. Delish!

                                                              Nevertheless, probably the most authentic Szechuan food you will get in the area - probably to rival many other places in the US. It is, however, much more reminiscent of a Chinese street vendor experience than a restaurant, and could probably be described as almost a stationary 'food truck' type place.

                                                              Interestingly, she told me she used to own a hot pot restaurant back in Mainland China. Maybe we can persuade her to do something like this here...? :-)

                                                              -----
                                                              Meng Yan Restauraunt Asiana Garden
                                                              7930 Olive Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63130

                                                        2. re: lightscamerainaction

                                                          Wanted to report on our experience at Joy Luck Buffet-
                                                          Hadn't yet had hotpot at a restaurant in STL, and thanks to you guys, we were able to check out Joy Luck Buffet (which, I would never have tried on my own!).

                                                          It's true, they really have 'Ma-La' (Szechuan style spicy/numbing) hotpot. In fact, as is super popular in China and Taiwan these days, they have the divided hotpot so that you can have clear broth in one half and spicy broth in the other half. So, how was it?

                                                          1) Broth: The spicy broth is really amazing. Definitely rivals places in Taipei, though after going there a second time, would say that the spice level is variable (first time blazing, second time medium). The clear broth is pretty good too, and even has Goji in it!

                                                          2) Meat: Surprisingly good quality for an all-you-can-eat place. They give you pork, beef, and lamb (!). Never asked for seconds, since we could barely finish!

                                                          3) Seafood: Not amazing, but still pretty decent. Head-on shrimp (very fresh), squid pieces (not so fresh), and really mediocre imitation crab ('nuff said).

                                                          4) Veggies: Sparse! They give you enoki mushrooms, Napa cabbage, and some mung bean noodles. Most places usually make this the bulk since it fills you up - not sure if this is good or bad in this case.

                                                          5) Sauces: Pretty much nonexistent. Traditionally, the restaurant gives you a raw egg and a variety of accoutrements to mix (soy, sesame oil, garlic, onions, peppers, Sacha, sambal oelek). Here, they give you garlic paste and some sort of sesame paste (didn't like either). But, on the other hand, the broths are pretty salty already, so you probably wouldn't need it anyway.

                                                          6) Service: Pretty nonexistent. Our first waiter was awesome, but overworked . The second time we went, I went to the service station to fill my water glass. However, this is pretty on-par with most places, so it didn't bother me too much.

                                                          7) Buffet: Really didn't get around to it the first time since we were stuffed after the hotpot, but the second time around, couldn't resist having a couple pieces of dessert (pre-made typical Asian-style creme/mousse cakes) and wings (undressed, but tasty and still crunchy!).

                                                          All in all, two reasons to go back: 1) It really is pretty good hotpot (broth flavor, meat quality/quantity), and 2) It's the only hotpot I've had in STL - outside of the house!

                                                          -----
                                                          Joy Luck Buffet
                                                          8030 Manchester Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63144

                                                          1. re: neointima

                                                            Thank you very much for your review on this. I yearn for the hot pot I had in Taiwan many times. This sounds like it (the split pot). Still not sure if I should give it a shot or not. I hate to tarnish beautiful memories...

                                                            FOTD

                                                            1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                              @FOTD - definitely a spicy spot, even for somewhat of a metalmouth.

                                                              1. re: lemons

                                                                If we can keep this thread going for just a couple more weeks it will hit 11 years, which has to be some sort of record.

                                                                1. re: alan

                                                                  Not surprising. It's a topikc St. Louisans can talk about for....uh...years?

                                                              2. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                                @ FOTD - Well, let me put it this way: My wife is native Taiwanese, and not a huge hot pot lover, but she loved it. My brother, who grew up in Taipei, really loved it when he visited, and he would be happy to eat nothing but hot pot when we go back to Taipei twice a year.

                                                                It's about $20/person, so it's not cheap.

                                                                If you can get over the poor service, and you are really missing the split hot pot, I would give it a shot!

                                                                1. re: neointima

                                                                  I was at Famous Szechuan Pavilion yesterday. When I go there, I sometimes try and ask if there are Chinese folks there, if they know of a good Hot Pot in town. Yesterday, the one had to text his friend because he did not know the name of it. The text came back and the verdict was Ryce Oriental Buffet. He says it is way better and more authentic then Joy Luck. I was surprised to be honest although I have not been there. He swears by it.
                                                                  Anyone had hot pot there? Or eaten there?

                                                                  FOTD

                                                                  1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                                    I like this thread. it is STL so everything (one?) is about 2 degrees of separations.

                                                        3. I just had noodles at Famous Szechuan Pavilion and I am FIRMLY in their corner - awesome, the woman at the helm is extra nice and folks will squeeze you in to the table if possible. best I've had in a LONG time. we only split the Dan Dan and the cold noodles as an audition of sorts, asked medium heat to see her gauge, pleasantly spicy with a slight scalp tingle but not too much, but can't wait to try more.

                                                          thanks much to the upstream recommendations. cause I never would have found it on my own (next to a mattress place on the South side of Manchester). looks like a chop suey take out dump. it could not be further from the reality.

                                                          20 Replies
                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                            This place is in Maplewood, correct?

                                                            I do wander in to Maplewood. I'll look for the Famous Szechuan Pavilion.

                                                            We ate once at the Panda Palace. I had Pork with Garlic, I believe. It was so sweet I hated it. Every time I think about trying it one more time, I just don't want to.

                                                            -----
                                                            Panda Palace
                                                            17 Nationalway Shopping Ctr, Manchester, MO 63011

                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                              No, this place is not in Maplewood. It's in Brentwood, on Manchester Road, just west of Brentwood Blvd.

                                                              1. re: alan

                                                                And tinytinytiny. Think espresso or photo drive-through.

                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                    I have a new place in West County that I like alot. It is in the Dierbergs Plaza at Clayton and Clarkson. Tucked in there. Called Asia House. They have both japanese, sushi and Chinese. The Sushi is good (great lunch special 3 rolls for $11.95)).

                                                                    I got a Seafood Combination Chinese dish with just a little spice. It was SO beautiful. Much nicer than anything I have had in St. Louis. They gave me free soup and soup to take home also. I have been there twice. Family run and very sweet people. They will totally take care of you as you would like.

                                                                    FOTD

                                                                    1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                                      Thank you for posting this. I've seen this place and wondered about it. I will try it soon.

                                                                      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                                        Finally got to Asia House and took home supper. Very good. We'll go back. Our typical Chinese style food was nicely prepared with no sweet or oily surprises. I can recommend the Pork with Vegetables. I wasn't as happy with the Hot and Sour soup, but it was OK. They also do a lot of sushi. Be sure to check out the separate list of Chef's Specialties on the menu. I am interested in the Singapor Mei fun, a spicy curry, which is new to me. I didn't have tea, so I can't comment on that. This is the best Chinese I've had in several years.

                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                          Awesome! Brought a friend there this weekend and he also loved it. I like this place ALOT!

                                                                          FOTD

                                                                          1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                                            What did you guys have? Did you drink their tea?

                                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                                              My wife and I shared the Mongolian Beef and Shrimp Egg Foo Young. I have been in the mood for EFY for weeks and I thought I would try their's.

                                                                              Fantastic.

                                                                              My friend got a killer sushi roll and I think some Japanese Udon noodles that looked and smelled absolutely fantastic.
                                                                              Prior to that I have had Sushi and like it alot as well as this beautiful seafood combination dish with a little spice added. I have loved every single thing I have tried there.

                                                                              FOTD

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Foobars
                                                                              6505 Nieman Rd, Shawnee, KS 66203

                                                                              1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                                                Thanks Friend. I'm going back for sure.

                                                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                  This is a terrible picture but it is the seafood combination I am telling you about. You can see the mussel shells in the background peeking up. The one thing I think you can see from it is how beautiful and unsauced and clean the dish looks. Much more like something I would get in Hong Kong and certainly not typical of St. Louis Chinese food.

                                                                                  FOTD

                                                                                  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6222/6...

                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                    While I was in Flickr and we are talking Asian in WC, I love to recommend Manee Thai. Neon our waitress is very nice and the Thai Sukyaki is something I yearn for. My wife now totally gets it every time we go there also. It is really great.

                                                                                    FOTD

                                                                                    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4102/4...

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Manee Thai
                                                                                    481 Lafayette Ctr, Ballwin, MO 63011

                                                                                    1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                                                      I like Manee Thai too. Did they move from their old location? Can't remember. Good food and lovely atmosphere.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Manee Thai
                                                                                      481 Lafayette Ctr, Ballwin, MO 63011

                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                        They are still in the Baxter center. Have you ever had the Sukyaki?

                                                                                        FOTD

                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                            I know my wife and I are addicted to it. I have been for a while now. Just wondering what others would think of it.

                                                                                            FOTD

                                                                        2. re: lemons

                                                                          yup Brentwood area on Manchester, between Brentwood and Rock Hiil and dinky, seriously dinky, pathologically miniscule. do think of the old film processing stands, but with a kitchen.

                                                                          and I AM going to eat through the menu over time. in fact if it weren't so late I'd go now.

                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                            All news thereof gratefully received....

                                                                  2. A place I suggest is Hokkaido in Florissant. It's a buffet with a hibachi grill. They also have a very wide selection of stuff to choose from, like sushi, baby octopus, chicken feet, steamed buns, and etc.

                                                                    1. A place I suggest is Hokkaido in Florissant. It's a buffet with a hibachi grill. They also have a very wide selection of stuff to choose from, like sushi, baby octopus, chicken feet, steamed buns, and etc.

                                                                      1. I've never been to St. Louis except while passing through, but I've heard that there are a lot of Chinese restaurants on Olive Blvd in University City, many of which seem to excel in quality and authenticity. According to Google, there are several Chinese shops, markets, and herbalists in the area, which leads me to guess that it is a Chinese neighborhood, or at least one with businesses catering to people from China. Most of the action seems to be between 8000 and 9000 Olive. Here's just one random example. http://www.luluseafoodrestaurant.com Another is http://www.weihongseafoodrestaurant.com

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Brian S

                                                                          Brian - ya heard right about the number and variety of businesses. the markets are engrossing.

                                                                        2. I've been hearing interesting things about KC Chinese Rotisserie. It's right in the nabe I mentioned above.
                                                                          http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/28/321209...