#24: Bánh Xèo at Banh Mi So #1 - Saigon Gourmet

Banh xeo at Banh Mi So #1 - Saigon Gourmet - Ian Froeb
Ian Froeb
Banh xeo at Banh Mi So #1 - Saigon Gourmet
It looks like an oversized Parmesan crisp. In fact, it's a savory crêpe. And at a restaurant where you can close your eyes and point at the menu and know that you'll get something great, it's my favorite dish: bánh xèo.

This isn't the soft crêpe of French fame. Made from rice flour and then pan-fried, bánh xèo has a crisp, even brittle texture. The flavor is lightly sweet, an ideal foil for its contents: fatty grilled pork, shrimp, bean sprouts and onion.

Served on the side but more or less mandatory is Banh Mi So #1's wonderful nuoc cham, the sauce a touch funky, a touch sweet, with a gradual (but never overwhelming) heat.

The restaurant lists bánh xèo as an appetizer, but you can easily enjoy an entire order as a small meal or, as I did on this visit, pair it with the excellent banh mi dac biet sandwich.

Banh Mi So #1 - Saigon Gourmet
4071 South Grand Boulevard

I'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.


#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 Kitchen

#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

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