Ian Froeb's STL 100 (2019 archive)

Photo by Laurie Skrivan (Post-Dispatch)

Chef Ma's Chinese Gourmet Restaurant

Also known as That Chinese Restaurant in an Old Taco Bell, Chef Ma’s Chinese Gourmet Restaurant remains as wonderfully, refreshingly idiosyncratic as its location. Chef Ying Jing Ma’s menu draws from his career and multiple regional Chinese cuisines, and for the diner open-minded enough to explore beyond the Chinese-American fare, it yields gem after gem. I always recommend the fried squid and last year added the twice-cooked pork to my must-order list. This year, I found a cold chicken dish I like even more than Chef Ma’s signature Hainan chicken rice: the Cilantro Hot Oil Juicy Chicken, the meat juicy as advertised and showered in chiles, scallion and cilantro.

Hours: Lunch and dinner daily (closed Wednesday)

Last year's ranking: Rest of the Best

Opened: 2015

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