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Located right at Gravois Avenue, just south of Russell Boulevard, near I-55, A-1 Wok is a stand-alone Chinese takeout spot in south St. Louis. Diners place their to-go orders, or pick up their carryout, at the counter. A-1 has a few chairs and benches for waiting but no real dining area. Menu options include St. Paul sandwiches, chop suey, chow mein and numerous combination plates. Specialties include Mongolian beef, hot braised chicken and shrimp with lobster sauce. A-1 does have a parking lot adjacent to the building, and a small surcharge on credit cards.
Asia reflects only a sliver of the titular continent's size and cultural variety. Instead it focuses on those countries many might think of when they hear the phrase "Asian cuisine": China, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand. Sushi is prepared well, though the fish itself is merely good, not outstanding. Entrées lean toward Chinese and Chinese-American dishes like General Tso's chicken; house specialties include Peking duck and an excellent Cornish hen dish. The Cornish hen is one of the few values on a relatively high-priced menu.
The friendly staff and large dining area provide a quick-fix for downtown 9-to-5ers looking for their midday meal. The lunch buffet offers a taste of the popular menu items at an affordable price. The regular menu includes a large variety of Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese choices, including spring rolls, kung pao chicken and curry vegetable tofu.
It's easy to drive past Bek-Hee without giving the place a second glance. Set amid strip malls and budget apartment complexes on Page Avenue, the restaurant blends into the north county landscape as "just another chop suey joint." That’s not completely inaccurate. Bek Hee's menu contains all of the Chinese greasy-spoon staples: St. Paul sandwiches, hot braised chicken, pork fried rice with gravy. However, hidden among these inauthentic dishes are some traditional gems that, when word gets out, will put Bek Hee on the map. The small restaurant is owned by the Lin family, expats from Sha County in China, that is famous for its culinary tradition -- legend has it, Sha's cooking style descends directly from the Han royal family that fled to Sha in 221 AD. Some Sha-style gems on Bek-Hee's menu include the housemade pork egg rolls and vegetarian spring rolls, both made from scratch (including the wonton wrappers), overstuffed and fried to a crisp golden brown. The homemade dumplings are also a must try -- the pork filled gems are delicious in their own right, but the accompanying "dumpling sauce," a Lin family secret recipe, is divine. Also noteworthy are the house special lo mein and the Singapore chow mei fun, both made with homemade noodles. Bek-Hee proves why Sha cooking is fit for a king.
One of the many south-city Asian options, Bo Fung Chinese Kitchen offers St. Louis Chinese staples, including fried rice, chop suey, lo mein, chow mein and, of course, St. Paul sandwiches. Entrées include chicken, beef and pork options. Diners order at the counter and can choose to eat in the small dining area or take their food to go. Bo Fung also delivers.
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