When I think about Chinese food two things come to mind: the culturally insensitive yet hilarious scene from A Christmas Story at the Bo Ling Chop Suey restaurant and tasty fried chicken pieces swimming in sweet and sour sauce. Americanized Chinese food is all I’ve known and it’s helped me through some tough spots. It’s a great comfort food. When I’m sick I always order an extra spicy General Tso’s to clear out my system. Not pretty but effective.
Most St. Louis Chinese restaurants taste the same so I thought I’d review a bona fide authentic spot called Lona’s Lil Eats. Don’t let the cutesy name fool you, their food will still put you in a warm and fuzzy food coma (AKA the itis.)
You need to get here early. On a recent Wednesday night around 6PM nearly all the tables were filled. On a weekend you’ll be waiting in a line that might spill out onto the sidewalk. As you’ll see, it’s worth the wait.
The setup is simple. You pick a protein-STEAK, CHICKEN, SHRIMP or tofu for people who hate themselves. Then you pick your meat carrier-a flour tortilla or rice paper. I’ve tried both and I prefer the tortilla, the rice paper wrap’s texture is a bit too slimy for me. There’s a few more options for extra fillings but for me it’s all about the special sauce you can choose. The spicy sesame is killer. It’s made from scratch and has that perfect balance of heat so you’re not grasping for water after every bite.
That’s my friend’s order. She got the same thing I did albeit with a different side. That spicy eggplant is serious business.
My order with some mystery greens and a $3 Busch tallboy. Sans bearded hipster.
|This is a genuine pose and how I usually eat. With gusto.|
Lona’s, thanks to a ton of positive word of mouth and local reviews, is always busy and rightfully so. It’s reasonably priced, the portions are huge, and they only use fresh ingredients. I like that the space is versatile, go there with friends or a date or just pick up some take-out.
I’m off to double-fist some crab rangoon to get all this healthy-ish food out my system.
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