Major Taiwanese Openings in Irvine
Looks like Irvine is upping its Taiwanese quotient with current and future openings. Opening in the past few weeks is yet another Taiwanese eatery in Orange Tree Square on Walnut and Jeffrey, this one called Chef Kitchen. From the large posters in the window this would seem to be a Taiwanese soup specialist, though soup listings are a relatively small part of their menu. Menu contains many common Taiwanese items such as pork chop rice, stinky tofu and three cups chicken, plus a cold tray display. Street address is 5439 Walnut Ave., #L.
With Chef Kitchen, Home Town Deli, Liang's Kitchen, and the Shanghai/Taiwan leaning Chef Chen already in Orange Tree Square, the ante will be raised further quite shortly, as a branch of the Lao Dong Beef Noodle chain is set to open up in a fairly large space in the same center. I guess Lao Dong needs another L.A. area location for all of their Taiwanese student management trainees to cut their teeth on.
Also readying to open is a branch of Four Sea Restaurant, the Taiwanese breakfast specialist currently operating in San Gabriel and Hacienda Heights. Four Sea is located in the shopping center on the corner of Jeffrey and Irvine Center Dr.
Looking in the window, Chef Kitchen looked more snack-y to me. It also serves shave ice.
I thought I counted 6 Taiwanese-leaning place in that shopping center though the names of the others escape me.
Just got back from Lao Dong Beef Noodles.
Got the champion beef brisket in clear broth. Both the broth and brisket were very good and very flavorful. The fatty brisket was better than the brisket at Chef Hung. The lean was not as good since it was a bit dry and not smoked. The noodles are thin and don't come in any other sizes. It's a bit soft for my taste. The noodles are clearly inferior to 101 Noodle Express and Chef Hung. It also came with an excellent soft boiled egg that shamed most ramen places in town and is second only to the egg at Tsujita.
Also got the XLB which shined. Thin skin but more substantial than DTF and the pork filling is juicy, tender, and flavorful. I hope they don't plummet in quality like the ones at Chef Hung's did after 6 months or so. The promising sign that it won't is that there is a display where I watched 2 chefs actually make the XLB. Currently one of my favorite versions in town. Get it while it's great!
Went back today. Got the regular braised beef noodle soup. The noodles were much more al dente this time. Very good actually. The broth was okay. The beef was flavorful. I would probably get the clear broth with brisket again next time.
XLB is still excellent. 2 guys working full time in plain view making them to order.