Best Chinese Restaurant

Lona's Lil Eats

Staff Pick

Perhaps it's not fair to name Lona's Lil Eats the best Chinese spot in town. After all, the key to its mouth-watering food is the culinary diversity found in chef Lona Luo's native village. She grew up in a corner of southwestern China that has more in common with Thailand and Myanmar than Beijing. Add in her town's barbecue and pickling culture, and it's a recipe for some of the most unique flavors you'll experience. Luo and her husband, Pierce Powers, got their start serving handmade dumplings out of a stall in Soulard Market. It's no wonder they put her on the map: Filled with beef, mushrooms and housemade pickles, they are second to none. But those are only the beginning of the story. Luo and Powers make wonderful rice-paper sandwich wraps, vegetable salads, noodle stir-fries and grilled meats. Use them as a canvas for one of Luo's fantastic sauces, such as lemongrass pesto or fruit-peel-smoked vinaigrette. The flavors are so complex, you won't know quite how to categorize the place — though you'll be so enraptured by the taste that you won't care. 2199 California Avenue, St. Louis, 63104. 213-925-1888, www.lonaslileats.com.
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