The Five Best Vietnamese Restaurants in St. Louis
|The banh mi dac biet at Phuc Loi|
Perhaps the most unassuming restaurant in all of St. Louis, Phuc Loi makes up for its blink-and-you-miss-it exterior with terrific Vietnamese dishes. The bun bo Hue is an incredible pork soup, fiery hot, with the strong mineral note of pork blood. The best dish might be the banh mi dac biet, the popular Vietnamese sandwich with ham, head cheese and -- what puts it over the top -- a fried egg.
|Courtesy: Dewey Truong|
|Lynne Truong of Banh Mi So #1 - Saigon Gourmet|
Riverfront Times has honored this South Grand staple so many times over the years that it is difficult to find something new to say about it. So let's keep it simple: If by some chance you love Vietnamese cuisine and haven't yet had the pho, banh xeo, banh mi or any other dishes here, we are deeply envious because you will be able to enjoy Lynne Truong's cooking for the first time. The rest of us will have to settle for the not-inconsiderable pleasure of visiting Banh Mi So for the 100th time (or more).
|Luon xao xa ot, eel stir-fried in hot chili and lemongrass, at Mai Lee|
As St. Louis' first Vietnamese restaurant, Mai Lee's place in local culinary history is guaranteed. But when the Lee family announced their plans to move from the western edge of University City to a strange new location -- the ground floor of a parking garage in Brentwood, sandwiched between the Best Buy/Sports Authority colossus and the South Hanley Road Home Depot -- even passionate fans raised a skeptical eyebrow. Our worries were unfounded. Mai Lee is thriving in its new home, its dining room seemingly packed at every lunch and dinner. The menu is massive -- more than 200 dishes. Order any of them with confidence, from simple goi cuon (fresh summer rolls) to exotic ech xao lan (a stir-fry with lemongrass, curry and frogs' legs). You might not be related to the Lees, but they'll become like your family in one respect: You'll follow them anywhere.