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Irvine/NB "fake" Chinese food -- where?

Have you ever been to Lucky Chinese off of Brookhurst in Fountain Valley? That is the type of chinese food I'm looking for. I call it "fake" because most people certainly wouldn't consider it authentic. But sometimes, that's all I want. A fast-food type of chinese food that isn't Panda Express, but not something authentic either. I'd consider Sam Woo's to be "too authentic". So you can see where I'm coming from, right?

I know there is one of these places in the complex at Culver and Barranca, but seeing as how I live in Turtle Ridge, I'm looking for something closer to me.

Any thoughts on my fake cheap chinese food? Gawd I miss Cathay Newport. ;)

Thanks for anything. :)

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  1. don't know about Lucky Chinese, but what about Pei Wei over at Bison & MacArthur? I think that's pretty fake chinese, but more like a lower end PF Chang's.

    1. There is Pick Up Stix on Harbor Blvd in Costa Mesa.
      Cha for Tea next to Trader Joes on Campus is pretty good.

      Word of warning: do not under any circumstances go to the "chinese" take out place next to Albertsons on the corner of Culver and Campus. That place is horrible.

      3 Replies
      1. re: haitwun

        But that place that you are telling them to not go to, sounds like a place that the OP is actually looking for. Cha is not the style of food that the OP is searching for, chinese snack food.

        1. re: haitwun

          There's another place around the corner from Cha for Tea to avoid like ebola. It's called Asian Noodle Cafe. Craptastic panoply of poorly executed "pan-asian" dishes. More like a "pan-demic" of bad eating.

          1. re: haitwun

            That place is called Orietal Kitchen. A friend told me that was some of the oiliest food he's ever had

          2. PF Changs is probably the "best fake chinese food." But then again, I don't really like fake chinese food... I like the real stuff. However, PF Changs is such a ripoff. Small portions and sky high prices for food that most fast food places serve... sigh.

            1. Check your local neighborhood mall food court.

              With the exception of the BBQ items hanging at Sam Woo Express, I think Lucky Chinese in FV is pretty much close to the same.

              1. Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I"m going to answer everyone all at once.

                empfam: I've tried Pei Wei, you're right, that's fake. But maybe a bit TOO fake? It runs alongside with Panda Express. Something a bit more authentic then? I agree on it being more like a "cheap" PF Chang's (which I consider to be fake chinese too, but not really what I'm looking for).

                haitwun: Pick Up Stix, again, to me, is the same as Panda Express. I like it better, but too "Americanized". It's a chain, that's not what I'm loking for but thanks.

                justagthing: I think you hit it right. I'm looking more for a take out place. The kind where it's not a fast food chain, but where you stand in line, choose how many items you want, choose the items which you can see right in front of you, and either sit down or leave. maybe I should try the place haitwun told me to stay away from. lol

                Prof Salt: DH and I were at that Asian Noodle place. Eh. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either and at that price, I probably wouldn't want to go back.

                rtluc: completely agree. That's why I don't ever go there.

                Tapeworm: so you'd say Sam Woo Express, over on Culver right? Is about equal to what Lucky Chinese would be? If so, I can try it out. I've only eaten at the restaurant and totally forgot about the take-out side.

                thanks everyone. maybe what I'm looking for is a bit more authentic than I realized. I forgot about all those chain Americanized places.

                2 Replies
                1. re: kelela92

                  It's not a take-out place, but perhaps Wei's in Fountain Valley might be what you want. It advertises itself as Szechuan cuisine, but it's sort of Americanized. I recently had authentic Szechuan at Chung King in SGV, so I now know what authentic Szechuan is (and how hot and spicy it can be).

                  At Wei's, the spices are toned way down, more agreeable to American palates. It's way more authentic than places like PF Chang's or Pei Wei or Panda Express, but not really as authentic as Sam Woo's or SW Seafood would be for Cantonese cuisine.

                  Wei's Chinese Restaurant
                  17046 Magnolia St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

                  1. re: Wonginator

                    Thanks. I've been there. That's not authentic (please realize, I may be asian, but I'm definitely american through and through)? I always thought it was, mostly because my chinese co-workers love that place. Interesting. I was looking for something a bit more fast-foody though. BTW, I really like Mandarin Restaurant in FV, but again, I'm looking for something closer to home. Thanks though. :)

                2. I've moved outta Irvine for a long while, it's really hard to nail something that's in between the level of "Panda Express" to the "SamWoo Express takeout". Especially when you are looking more particular for to-go order~

                  Pick Up Stix is just as Americanized as Panda Express. I would 'almost-never' go to either of them when there're other options. (yes... I'm an authentic Chinese haha)

                  I think there's a to-go Chinese food place in the plaza on Culver/Walnut where Curry house is. I forgot the name of it... it's actually next to Curry House or Mrs Field cookies.

                  I think there's also another fake Chinese place in the plaza of Culver/Michelson. I'm not sure if it's still there.

                  There's a taiwaness style to-go place in the plaza of Jeffery/Walnut where the Ranch99 market is. It's next to that Irvine Shabu house... again I can't remember the name.

                  SamWoo Express is actually what I get for lunch from time to time.

                  Gosh... I am pretty bad when it comes to remembering the name of the places in English... :-p

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: kelvlam

                    I think the Taiwanese place is too authentic for the OP.

                    1. re: justagthing

                      I think I have to check out some of the places though......I mean, who knows. I may want exactly that....or not.

                      1. re: kelela92

                        BTW...I just had some breakfast from that place last Friday. It was good.

                    2. re: kelvlam

                      LOL. No problem on the English names. I mean, not like I can pronounce anything anyways. I'll write down the locations and if we go near there, I'll check it out. :) I'll just look for the chinese food place. lol.

                    3. You could try Wok & Grill on Sand Canyon/ Irvine Center Drive


                      Moon Palace Asian Bistro on Main/MacArthur

                      I can't guarantee that they're good, but they are a member of the rewards network if you're looking to get some frequent flyer miles on AA.

                      If the Tustin Marketplace is not too far, there's Cafe Chin Chin on Jamboree and El Camino. I love their won ton soup. I haven't tried anything else there.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tgmm

                        I'm writing all this down. I wonder if my DH has been to Moon Palace, he works right there. I'll have to ask him about it.

                      2. There's also (in my opinion) horrible take-out Chinese inside of the Wholesome Choice market on Michelson/ Culver.

                        On Michelson/University there's a good nexpensive Vietnamese restaurant that has takeout. I think it's Pho-Bac.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: tgmm

                          I think DH has been to the place inside of WC. I'll have to ask him about it.

                          We did find a good Vietnamese that we like, so we're set there. :) But thanks for the head's up.

                        2. Since it's close to my house, I usually go to California Wok on Bristol and Paularino in Costa Mesa. They are in the same plaza as Oki Doki. Not way too americanized, but has your usual orange chicken and sweet and sour items but everything tastes a bit fresher. They even provide nutritional info on their menu, I go there for my kung pao craving and it doesn't kill my diet.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: groover808

                            Ooo....definitely would NOT want to see the nutritional info. But I'm writing this down. At least we get to try out some chinese food places. Thanks for the sugg's.

                          2. Great new Chinese next store to Lucca's at the Quail Hill strip center.Very affordable lunches and CHEAP dim sum at lunch as well.I feel your pain in regard to Cathay Newport,damn Irvine Co. we really needed another bank office there.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: jerics

                              Crystal Jade is authentic Cantonese. Not what OP has in mind, methinks.

                              1. re: Professor Salt

                                No, it's not really what I'm looking for. But many people have told me to give it a try (here and IRL), so I do wanna try it.

                            2. Gong's, in the Pic'n'Save center on Goldenwest and Warner in Huntington Beach (okay, so it's a llittle farther north than NB) is the closest to that old style Chinese from the 50's amd 60's that I've found. Eat in (formica tables reminiscent of the era) or take out. Nice people, too. Definitely not for those looking for Monterey Park-like authenticity.

                              1. My boyfriend used to go to a place near John Wayne called 99 Orange Chicken when he worked at Jamba Juice. He took me there the other day, and it was really good, but they give you a lot of food so I'd suggest sharing. The address is 1701 Corinthian Way Newport Beach, CA 92660. Go after 3 or 4 and they'll make it to order. A bit of a wait but really really tasty "fake" chinese food.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: thefallinggirl

                                  Thanks. Definitely on my list. DH wants chinese, maybe we'll check it out. ;)