St. Louis: A Global Food Village
People who eat out tend to favor Italian, Chinese or Mexican restaurants. But there are so many other cuisines, brimming with favor, yet to be explored right here in St. Louis—Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Korean, Greek, Balkan, Iranian, German, Japanese, Afghan, Filipino, Korean, Indian, French, Moroccan, Irish, Israeli, South America and more).
New Tastes and Old
As a teenager, having eaten Southern fare all my life, I was intrigued by my first Chinese cuisine. The Sampan Chinese restaurant located on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC was one of the first Asian restaurants to appear in the Capital City after the war.
On a Sunday evening, my mother would occasionally get a carryout of Chow Mein, Chop Suey, or Egg Foo Yung, that came in a white carton with a wire-bale handle. (In a day before microwaves, there was no worry that you might rewarm food packaged with a metal attachment.)
The soy sauce that accompanied the order was a new condiment for my family and came in a small paper cup before the day of plastic packets. The Chinese dishes were a great taste treat and the beginning of more ethnic foods that Americans would take to in the years ahead.
A Thai Treat
I thought about my early Chow Mein dinners when my grandson showed up at my condo recently with an array of white cartons, (no wire bales), that he had gotten at Fork&Stix in the Delmar Loop. We enjoyed such delicacies as Crispy Spring Rolls; Chicken Khao Soi (a Northern Thai curry-noodle soup); Muu Ping (grill pork skewers); Sticky Rice; and Som Tum (spicy, green papaya salad with tomatoes, green beans, Thai chili, and lime juice). And a bowl of Chicken Pad Thai.
Beyond Chinese, Italian, and Mexican Cuisine
There was nothing overly spicy or weird about any of these dishes, so it makes them suitable for people wanting to explore new foods and flavors. If you’ve not tried Thai, or some of the other international dishes available in St. Louis, and want to reach out beyond Italian, Chinese and Mexican, here’s a list of restaurants from which to begin your exploration.
Ask your server about the restaurant’s favorite dishes and give them a try. Or order several items and share. Either way, your’re in for a treat at any of these tried and true restaurants. This is not an exhaustive list, but a good beginning.
Try Something New
- Vietnamese: Mai Lee, Banh Mi So #1; Pho Grand; Little Saigon
- Thai: Fork and Stix
- Balkan: Lemmons (Bosnian); Balkan Treat Box
- Malaysian: Hiro Asian Kitchen (Southeast Asian fusion) CLOSED
- Iranian: Sultan
- Turkish: Sheesh, Aya Sophia (also Mediterranean, and Lebanese)
- Persian: Cafe Natasha’s, Al-Tarboush Deli
- Mediterranean: Olio (Israeli); Al-Tarboush Deli; Pan d’Olive
- Japanese: Tani Sushi Bistro
- Afghan: Sameem
- Filipino: Guerrilla Street Food
- Korean: Seoul Taco (Korean-Mexican fusion)
- German: Das Schneithorst
- Indian: House of India; Everest Cafe (Nepali)
- French: Brasserie; Like Home Cafe; Cafe Provencal
- Moroccan: Benevolent King
- South American: Cinder House
- Greek: Olympia Kebab House and Taverna; Appolonia; Anthonino’s Taverna (Greek-Italian)
- Irish: McGurk’s Irish Pub; Seamus McDaniel’s; Pat Connolly Tavern
- Scotch: Scottish Arms