Thursday, March 14, 2013

St. Louis' Best Balls Installment 4: Wonton King and Pho Long

Olive Blvd. in St. Louis County is a 19 mile stretch of road that runs from way out in West County to University City. It is not to be confused With Olive STREET, which is actually in St. Louis City. While Olive Boulevard has several good places to eat along it, the highest concentration, in my opinion, is the stretch East of I-170. If you have not figured it out by now, I am a big fan of all things Asian. This particular stretch of Olive might be the closest St. Louis has to a Chinatown (although, really, I think all Asian countries are represented in some way). Is it a coincidence that an olive is spherical, and that Olive Blvd. is home to 2 of my favorite balls?
If you are looking for me on a Sunday, there's a very good chance you can find me at Wonton King, leisurely shoveling their array of Dim Sum morsels into my gullet. If you are not familiar with Dim Sum, it is basically a Chinese brunch in which waitstaff rolls steam carts full of goodness by all the tables and you pick out which delicious bites you want. There is no ordering from a menu or waiting for your food to get cooked. Sort of like a buffet that comes to you!

Everything at Wonton King is great.... lots of different dumplings, vegetables, "bizarre" foods, the BEST effing roasted pork belly ever in all the world, as well as several balls. The balls above are quite impressive.... almost baseball-sized masses of ground shrimp, deep-fried with a crab claw sticking out of each one, like a little handle. That claw is handy because these balls are too large to be gracefully eaten with chopsticks. I don't know what they are called, but it's dim sum, so it doesn't matter... if you see them on a cart, point and nod your head! Say yes to these balls!

A bit West of Wonton King, in a past-its-prime but proud strip mall, is Pho Long. If you are looking for a good way to warm up, this is your place. The broth they use for their Pho is Pho-nomenal (sorrynotsorry). It's so flavorful and unctuous.... it stays hot the whole time you're slurping away on your noodles.

A couple of their phos have Vietnamese meatballs in them, dense and chewy with a kind of snap, similar to a quality hotdog, but more toothsome.  The soup pictured is Pho Dac Biet (P8), which, besides meatball quarters has sliced brisket, thin-sliced beef, beef tendon and tripe. Basically all the beef. Hearty, filling and good for your soul.
2013: Year of MORE BALLS Posts:
Bratwurst Pretzel Balls with Mustard Rarebit
Baked Blue Cheese Fig Balls
Crab Cake Scotch Quail Eggs
Cannellini Ball Sub
Pumpkin Risotto Arancini With Chipotle Cranberry Sauce
2012: Year of the Balls recap

More of St. Louis' Best Balls:
Installment 1: Gokul & Pita+
Installment 2: Acero & Mango
Installment 3: Pastaria & Completely Sauced
Niche's Coxhina


Anonymous said...

That is the stretch of Olive I haven't driven yet, but I appreciate the recommendations on what to look for.

Unknown said...

I LOVE Wonton King! Haven't checked out Pho Long yet but it's on my list :)