Many of us have had to put our more ambitious travel plans on hold lately because of the economy. However, perhaps an occasional overnight in St. Louis, Kansas City or elsewhere in the state is a little more doable. A good meal--humble or high-tone--is, after all, an essential part of any snail's journey. When Slow Food members get together, where we've eaten and what is always a highlight of our conversations. Starting today, we'll share our favorite food experiences during recent trips throughout the state.
I'll begin with a humble one I discovered in St. Louis a few weeks ago--Banh Mi So #1-
Saigon Gourmet. This small Vietnamese restaurant at 4071 S. Grand, has won my heart (and, from pictures hanging on the wall there, the hearts of Robin and Jean Carnahan and Claire McCaskill, as well). It's a casual spot with just a few tables, but the kitchen turns out some wonderful food.
The Truong family, who opened their restaurant in 1994, take pride in using fresh ingredients and carefully preparing each dish to order. Since a sign in the restaurant window claimed they had been voted as having the best spring rolls in town, the choice for appetizers was a no-brainer. Of course, the Goi Cuon (spring rolls) were delicious--light, fresh and crunchy, with a little tilapia tucked in amidst the vermicelli, lettuce and mint. The Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio (charbroiled pork noodle bowl) was equally well crafted. I also loved the Mung Bean Pudding, a creamy tapioca and mung bean combination crowned with a creamy coconut topping. Sounds odd to the American palate, but trust me on this one--you'll love it if you are a tapioca and coconut fan.
The woman at the table next to me raved about the dish she was eating--Tofu Xao Xa Curry (tofu stir-fried with coconut milk, lemongrass and curry). She said, "Everything here is delicious. We've been coming here every week for years." Now I know why. Check it out for lunch when you find yourself in the big city. To whet your appetite, visit:www.banhmiso1.com