Ten Best Hot and Spicy Foods in St. Louis
Sai Oua with Naam Prik Nuum. | Jennifer Silverberg
Sai Oua with Naam Prik Nuum at Fork & Stix
(549 Rosedale Avenue; 314-863-5572)
Sai oua is grilled pork sausage with a powerful lemongrass note. It's delicious by itself, but adding naam prik nuum takes it to another level entirely. Naam prik nuum is a coarse sauce of roasted green chiles with garlic, cilantro and shallots. It's brightly flavored and -- fair warning -- devilishly hot and the perfect accent to the earthier pork. Vegetarians among you: Do not fret. You don't need to order the sai oua to enjoy the naam prik nuum. An order of the sauce comes with steamed vegetables; add a side of sticky rice for a nominal cost, and you have a complete appetizer or small meal. And don't hesitate to ask the Fork & Stix staff for further guidance. In our experience, they are more than willing to discuss their dishes and how you might best enjoy it.
Seoul Taco's burrito. | Ian Froeb
Seoul Taco's Burrito
(571 Melville Avenue, University City; 314-863-1148)
The brick-and-mortar operation of the popular Seoul Taco food truck presents the entire menu within its tiny Delmar Loop storefront. It also offers one attraction that the truck doesn't: a burrito, arguably its best dish. You choose the protein inside the burrito: bulgogi beef, chicken, spicy pork or tofu, but the star isn't the meat (or tofu). It's the kimchi-fried rice. Unlike the rice in a typical burrito, the kimchi-fried rice doesn't serve as ballast. Instead, its funky, spicy flavor is the centerpiece of the dish. Lettuce, carrots, green onion, sour cream, cheese and the restaurant's own "Seoul Sauce" add as much flavor and textural contrast as the protein does. This is the embodiment of an unlikely food marriage made in heaven.