NomNomNom Standards in Irvine

Jiaxiao Zhang
Class of 2017

If “haters gonna hate” then certainly Anteaters gonna eat, right? If you get tired of pizza and other campus offerings, here are some of my #nomnomnom standards from greater Irvine:

101 Noodle Express – Handmade noodles in aromatic broths; zha jiang mian (black bean sauce noodles); steamed, boiled, pan-fried and soup dumplings with every filling imaginable; scallion pancakes; braised beef rolled in scallion pancakes (beef roll); cold dishes; fried rice; soup; veggies; tea/boba drinks. This place has it all. Greater variety than A&J’s nearby and accepts credit cards. Spicy beef noodle soup with wide noodles, beef rolls, and soup dumplings are my faves. Takeout friendly, which is good when the parking lot is crazier than SSPS. Jeffrey & Walnut.

 Burntzilla – This storefront mashup of the Burnt and Dogzilla trucks serves their signature gourmet sliders and hotdogs (on Hawaiian rolls), salads, soups, tater tots, fries, fruit teas, and other drinks. Get the $9 Golden Combo to try 2 sliders or dogs, naked side, and drink of your choice. I recommend the fried chicken slider, Dogzilla dog, and upgrading to loaded tots or salad and a half-peach half-strawberry sweet tea. Burntzilla participates in the FiveStar Rewards program, and often posts promos for free items on the app. Culver & the 5.

Fukada – Fukada 2 Go near campus may have closed, but the original was better anyway. Homemade udon and soba noodles, sushi and rolls, salads, dons (meat, seafood or curry over rice), and other authentic Japanese appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Seating is limited and the food good, so put your name down and get ready to eat! The lunch and dinner You-Pick-2 combinations are popular and a great value. The seafood salad (sashimi over mixed greens) alone fills me up, so I usually save the tuna don for later. Sashimi portions seem a little larger when dining in, but you can get in and out in 15 minutes or less if you takeout. Irvine Center Drive just south of the 405.

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot – Hot pot is the Chinese version of Japanese shabu shabu, where you cook your own meat, veggies, and noodles tableside, but the broth is seasoned, and you make your own dipping sauce. Go for the $9.95 weekday lunch special before 3pm (because even with a Groupon it’s cheaper to DIY hotpot at home). Choose from lamb, beef, chicken, or pork, and light or spicy soup broth (or a divided yin/yang pot). You’ll get a big platter of meat, meatballs, tofu, enoki, mixed seasonal greens, and thick noodles to boil to your preferred doneness in the broth. You can order more à la carte. Sometimes I order cucumber “salad” or rolls on the side, but you’ll end up happily stuffed regardless. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little pungent ; ). Culver & Irvine Center Drive.

Santouka Ramen
– Santouka is the star amongst the grocery aisles, deli, bakery, and other offerings of the Irvine, Costa Mesa, and Torrance Mitsuwa Japanese markets. At these outposts of the Hokkaido original, choose from salt, shoyu, and miso ramen; small, medium, and large portions; whether to add extra char siu or toroniku (cheek) pork; and if you’re really hungry, sides of eggs, natto (fermented soybeans), or ikura (flaked salmon with a roe topping) rice. A glass case displays all the menu variations, so you know exactly what you’ll get. If the food court is busy claim a seat before you order. Cash only. Culver & the 5.