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There's no longer banh mi at BBC Asian Cafe & Bar, even though it used to be one of the place's signature offerings (one of the Bs in BBC supposedly stood for it!). There is instead gyoka, maki, chicken teriyaki and some unexpected choices, such as the unagi crepe, which is filled with mozzarella, crab, unagi and unagi sauce. But these days, BBC is less about the food and more about the nightlife; there's a stylish little bar here and plenty of room to smoke hookah. And while there are plenty of places on South Grand offering just that, to the best of our knowledge, this is the only restaurant in the Central West End with hookah as an option -- making BBC the only place in town to puff away while watching the Euclid Avenue street parade.
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.
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