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This Hole-in-the-Wall County

Orange Countys 74 Greatest Holes-in-the-Wall

37 Though best known for its barbecue, Koreans also do a brisk business in tofu stews, and the spiciest outside Seoul bubbles at Chong Ki Wa Tofu Restaurant. The tiny eatery offers nine different tofu-centric soups, ranging from tofu and oysters to their namesake house specialty. I prefer the tofu with pork and beef, served boiling-hot and similar in taste and texture to fagiole. At your request, the server will crack an egg in it, giving the tofu a yolkier taste. You can order any tofu dish on a sliding spice scale to give it an even better seasoning, ranging from one (white, clear broth) to five (hydrochloric acid). 5238 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, (714) 562-8989.

38 Orange County's Armenian Quarter—honestly, just Sarkis Pastry (2424 W. Ball Rd., Anaheim, 714-995-6663) and Zankou Chicken (2424 W. Ball Rd., stes. S & T, Anaheim, 714-229-2060)—lies ignored in the middle of Anaheim's Little Arabia enclave. Gnaw on Zankou's famously ferocious garlic-slathered chicken, and you'll look less cynically at your fellow humans. And so much joy erupts from the several trays of Sarkis Pastry that it would take many root canals to try all of its Middle Eastern confections. All that needs to be said about the kol-wa-shkor is that it translates from Arabic as "taste and give thanks to heaven."

39 The nacho cheese steak—a U-boat of a sub, parts Philadelphia and East Los Angeles—is the main attraction at Toober's Chips, Dips, and Cheese Steak, a clean-kept Huntington Beach hoagie haven that, in a moral world, would exist on the beachfront rather than the asphalt river that is central Beach Boulevard. Make sure to get an order of chips: shaved on the premises from massive potatoes, lightly fried so the skin is crisp while the chip's thin-as-tissue body is nearly translucent and salted just enough to accentuate the tuber's earthy charm. 19092 Beach Blvd., Ste. T, Huntington Beach, (714) 968-2299.

Location Info

Map

The Pasty Kitchen

3641 Katella Ave.
Rossmoor, CA 90720

Category: Restaurant > English

Region: Los Alamitos

Yellow Basket Restaurant

1430 E. Edinger Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92705-4801

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Santa Ana

Crystal Cove Shake Shack

7703 N. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Laguna Beach

Nuoc Mia Vien Tay

14370 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Grocery

Region: Garden Grove

Burrell's Bar-B-Que

305 N. Hesperia
Santa Ana, CA 92703

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Santa Ana

La Palma Chicken Pie Shop

928 N. Euclid St.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Anaheim

Banh Mi Cho Cu Bakery

14520 Magnolia St., Ste. B
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Sandwiches

Region: Westminster

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40 Sausage is but one appetizing aspect of Globe European Delicatessen, which has been hawking German, Dutch and other European produce from the same address for more than three decades. There's beer, jams, chocolates, even wafers that taste like fruit. Load up on these and other goods—if you're a sucker for pickled herring, the fine liberal German weekly Der Spiegel or cheese wheels large enough to fire from mortars, Globe European Delicatessen is your lollipop. 1928 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-3784; www.europeanfoods.com.

41 Subsequent American migration over the past century has cursed Hawaii with some truly hellish eats, with the Spam musubi at L&L Hawaiian BBQ reaching a demonic apex. It's torture for the eyes—seaweed and rice draped around a frightening Spam block that's more preservatives than pig—but its scrumptious consistency is a reminder that there were some positive aspects to Manifest Destiny. 5633 Lincoln Ave., Cypress, (714) 761-9530; also in Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra and Long Beach.

42 Naan & Kabob should be renamed Rice & Kabob, since the Tustin Persian eatery prepares the latter platter 36 different ways. Rice with lamb kebab. Rice with fish kebab. Rice with beef, chicken and shrimp kebab. Rice with a type of falafel kebab. Redundant? No: regal. 416 E. First St., Tustin, (714) 66-KABOB.

43 Hawaiian staples such as manapua (steamed pork buns) and boiling saimin noodles are fine at Aloha BBQ, along with a Korean-skewed side menu filled with bimimbap and complimentary kimchi. As great as those are, the most impressive meat meal is the spicy pork ribs. Most rib places content themselves with giving patrons a couple of twigs, but Aloha BBQ carts over four massive things that appear to have been torn from a hippopotamus. 24000 Alicia Pkwy., Ste. 4, Mission Viejo, (949) 581-0976.

44 The pleasures at Il Ghiottoare simple ones, like the house salad or the gnocchi in a hearty marinara or the fact that the handsome young attendants remember your name. 136 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 447-0775.

45 Located in Little Karachi—itself in the midst of Little Saigon—Noorani Halal Tandoori offers Pakistani and Indian soul food at reasonable prices and ecstatic flavors. The Indian selections are admirable—the sour minced-beef shish kebab in particular would make a desi nostalgic for the Punjab—but first-time Noorani patrons should indulge instead in the specialty of one of the county's few Pakistani restaurants. The haleem in particular—a sticky concoction of lentils, shredded wheat, ginger, dried chiles and beef so mashed it's not immediately discernable enmeshed in the goop—is the tasty oatmeal Americans can only dream about. 14178 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, (714) 636-1000.

46 At Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ, customers consume much like Genghis Khan did and Mongolians continue to do through the primordial directness of Mongolian barbecue. Grab your choice of animals and vegetables from trays and pass it along to the chef, who spills the bowl's contents onto a colossal cast-iron grill and burns it to a shriveled, glistening joy. The stir-frying transforms the Mongolian barbecue into a time warp as the brusque force of the Mongol Empire rampages anew across the palate. 333 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 870-6930.

47 Beckoning you to Sahara Falafelis the fragrance of cooked beef and chicken. Inside, you will discover its origin: two constantly rotating monster spits, essential to Sahara's pursuit of shawerma, the fabulous Middle Eastern technique of meat preparation. Each bite of Sahara's shawerma greets your mouth with the simple joy of good. 590 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim, (714) 491-0400.

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