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Food & Drink

Staff Pick

Best Chinese Restaurant 

Lona's Lil Eats

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,

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