The hot-and-sour noodles at Joy Luck Buffet
One of the coolest discoveries of the past couple of years, tipped off to me by several readers, was the authentic Szechuan menu at Joy Luck Buffet, an otherwise nondescript Chinese buffet in Brentwood. Though the beguiling numbing sensation caused by the Szechuan peppercorn is the hallmark of these authentic dishes, it is absent from my favorite dish there, the hot-and-sour noodles.
The dish is a small bowl of translucent noodles in a fire-engine-red broth with the heat of red chiles and a strong, vaguely citrus-like sour note. A scattering of chopped scallions gives the dish an extra brightness, and a handful of small nuts adds crunch and a depth of flavor. In the bottom of the bowl, stirred up by your chopsticks and spoon, are bracing bits of bitter greens.
At the very least, the soup will clear your sinuses of winter's clutter. Or like me you might find that, like Vietnamese pho
, it has the power, inexplicable but undeniable, to salve the soul.
(adapted from "What's in a Name"
- February 3, 2011)Joy Luck Buffet
8030 Manchester Road, Brentwood
$4.99I'm counting down -- in no particular order -- 100 of my favorite dishes in St. Louis. Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are expensive, others dirt cheap. All of them, I guarantee, are delicious. Please do not hesitate to share your own favorites via the comments thread.
Previously:#20: Lamb vindaloo at India Palace#21: Channa masala at Raj's Rasoi#22: The blueberry scone at La Dolce Via#23: Gang kua ped yang at Addie's Thai House#24: Bánh xèo at Banh Mi So #1 - Saigon Gourmet#25: Mojarra dorada at Garduño's Mexican Food#26: "It" at Mammer Jammer#27: Two eggs over-easy, bacon and hash browns at the Courtesy Diner#28: Seafood at Farmhaus#29: The "Edgar Allan Poe" at Dewey's Pizza#30: The "Heart Stopping BLT" and a chocolate malt at Crown Candy KitchenPreviously (Continued):#31: Smoked half-chicken at PM BBQ#32: The smoked chicken pizza at Onesto Pizza & Trattoria#33: The baby-back ribs (or the burger) at the Piccadilly at Manhattan#34: Albóndigas caseras con patatas at the Guido's Pizzeria & Tapas#35: The "Sweet Burger" at SweetArt#36: Buffalo fries at Blueberry Hill#37: Tom yum gai at Pearl Café#38: Cassoulet (and Sweetbreads) at Franco#39: The "Papasan Roll" at Miso on Meramec#40: Lasagna at Mama Josephine's#41: The "Bucktown" Pizza at Pi Pizzeria#42: Pla song kruang at Basil Spice Thai Cuisine#43: Chori pollo at Mi Ranchito#44: Pizza at La Pizza#45: Fried chicken at Young's Restaurant & Ice Creamery#46: The Philly Cheesesteak at 9th Street Deli#47: Smoked chicken wings at Flavors BBQ Sports Bar & Grill#48: Coffee and a pastry at 222 Artisan Bakery#49: The torta ahogada at Taqueria Durango#50: The "Morganford Mediterranean" Sandwich at Local Harvest Café & Catering#51: Vegetable korma at Gokul Snacks & Sweets#52: Schnitzel & spaetzle at Iron Barley#53: Oxtail stew at De Palm Tree#54: Pho at Pho Long#55: Gyro at Anthonino's Taverna#56: The Lemon Drop Cupcake at the Cup#57: Pupusas at Tres Banderas#58: Gumbo at the Gumbo Shop#59: The burger at Newstead Tower Public House#60: Quesadillas tradicionales at Milagro Modern Mexican#61: "7th Street Sicilian" Po' Boy at Blues City Deli#62: Tamales at Taqueria la Pasadita#63: Ćevapi at Bosna Gold#64: Lemon meringue and pine nut torte at BitterSweet Bakery#65: Chile Morita con Puerco at Señor Pique#66: Soda chanh duong (sparkling lemonade) at Lemon Grass#67: Nachos grande at Nachomama's#68: Pizza with pepperoni, sausage and mushroom at Pizza-a-Go-Go#69: Bill's "Burger Meister Burger" at Cardwell's at the Plaza#70: Sake (salmon) nigiri sushi at Nobu's Japanese Restaurant#71: Massaman curry at Simply Thai#72: The lunch buffet at Mayuri#73: Fried chicken (spicy) at Porter's Fried Chicken#74: Arancini at Lorenzo's Trattoria#75: Meat shawarma at The Vine Mediterranean Café & Market#76: The South Side Smoke at sandwich at Stellina Pasta Café#77: Falafel at Kabob House#78: A slice with pepperoni at Feraro's Jersey-Style Pizza#79: Birria at Pueblo Nuevo#80: Banh mi dac biet at Phuc Loi#81: Prosciutto bianca pizza at the Good Pie#82: Gold Coast Chocolate ice cream at Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream#83: Hot salami (salam de testa) at Gioia's Deli#84: Veal parmesan sandwich at Biggie's#85: Nachos (with jalapeños and extra cheese cup) at Busch Stadium#86: Lobster bisque at Café Ventana#87: Calamari fritti at Mangia Italiano#88: Brisket sandwich at Winslow's Home#89: Paletas at La Vallesana 2#90: Spaghetti and meatballs at Sugo's Spaghetteria#91: The Michael burger at Michael's Bar & Grill#92: Fried egg and ham toastie at the Schlafly Tap Room#93: Bavarian chips with Welsh rarebit at Dressel's#94: Onion soup at Brasserie by Niche#95: Baby-back ribs at 17th Street Bar & Grill#96: Kingshighway burger at the Royale#97: Gyro sandwich at South Grand Gyro Express#98: Carne asada tacos at El Paisano (Watson Road)#99: Pretzel bites at Joey B's on the Hill#100: Hot and sour soup at Shu Feng Restaurant