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The Asian Persuasion

Great Asian restaurants, and the Asians (and Chuck Devore) who love them

SUSANKANGSCHROEDER
DEPUTYDISTRICTATTORNEY;SATAN
We love to hate Deputy District Attorney Susan Kang Schroeder, and—since we'rea force for good,and she'sa force for evil—she loves to hate us right back. We're like nemesiseses and stuff. But she's so cutewhen she hates us—wrinkling up her nose like she smells something bad, making vomiting noises like she needs to vomit, and then treating us to dinner (and a nice gossip) anyway. If there's one thing Susan and her husband Mike (local Republican fixer extraordinaire) are good for (aside from hammering people into the ground with one swing of their meaty fists), it's taking us to dinner (and a nice gossip). They're gourmands with heavy wallets, and they're a-OK with us. Go ahead! Be evil! We don't mind! ETHNICEAT(KOREAN):"Seoul Oakhas uncharacteristically great service for an Asian restaurant and clean-tasting food that tastes like my mom's cooking. You cook your own meat on a griddle in the middle of your table. I recommend the spicy pork and the ribs (gal-bi). Really fast service: Koreans expect to have food on the table within two minutes of arriving. And Koreans don't eat sweets generally, so the 'dessert' is a sweet, cinnamon drink with floating pine nuts to rinse the garlic away from your breath." 8295GardenGroveBlvd.,GardenGrove,(714)530-5388.AMAZINGASIAN:Schroeder says crime takes a break at PhoHienVuong, supposedly the county's first place to sell the aromatic Vietnamese beef noodle soup. "Cops, crooks, D.A.s, judges, interpreters, court staff, reporters all hang out and eat $4 noodles here," says Schroeder. "They also give you a plate of uncooked bean sprouts, cilantro and basil. I recommend the #11 pho: well-done brisket soup with lots of Sriracha sauce. Many of my friends order the #16, which has the chicken. I see OrangeCountyRegisterreporter Martin Wisckol here almost every time I go, confirming my paranoid delusion that Martin is stalking me." 2525W.17thSt.,Ste.H,SantaAna,(714)554-2696.AMAZINGASIAN:THERETRIAL:Can't decide on Chinese food or sushi? Schroeder recommends you plop yourself at ChinaPalaceRestaurantand get both. "You will never get a bad meal there," claims Schroeder. "The owner, Jack Mau, is often there to greet you and give you advice about life, politics and child rearing—we call him Chairman Mau. You should definitely order the Peking duck there . . . and unlike most places, you don't have to order ahead. They put the crispy rich duck in a thin tortilla-like wrapper with sliced scallions. On the sushi side, get the 'yum yum' roll that has crab and shrimp tempura. Mike and I go there every Sunday night because it's also the local GOP hangout. On any given night, you will see Tom Fuentes, Scott and Wendy Baugh, Dick and Linda Ackerman, Dana and Rhonda Rohrabacher and the pips." And Satan too! 2800W.CoastHwy.,NewportBeach,(949)631-8088.

MUNAAFGHANI
MANAGEROFQUALITYASSURANCE,CKEENTERPRISE
Muna Afghani has really made a name for herself in Orange County—and not because she's the older sister of a bottom-dwelling cub scribe at this commie rag. Nope, Muna Afghani deserves all the props in the world because she tests the food that Paris Hilton eats while she washes her car; because she makes sure that the jalapeño cheeseburger is at the exact temperature it takes prenatal babies to complain to their mothers; because she works hard to guarantee that her burgers are so tasty you'd want to pay the $6 it's worth instead of the low, low price of $3.95; andbecause she's the older sister of a bottom-dwelling cub scribe at this commie rag. ETHNICEAT(AFGHANI,BUT...):While Muna Afghani's last name is Afghani and she has a grandfather from Afghanistan, she knows nothing about Afghan food or culture. Taking that technicality into consideration, we'll allow Muna to pick Taalas her favorite ethnic restaurant. "It's the best Indian restaurant this side of Artesia," she says. "The chicken tikka isn't too dry and the bel puri, a type of bread, is really sweet and crispy." 2720NutwoodAve.,Fullerton,(714)871-7846;www.taalrestaurant.net.AMAZINGASIAN:Even though her heart and her stomach are eternally the property of Carl Karcher, Afghani is secretly hot for HotWokin Fullerton. "Everything is greasy and fried and sweet and super-cheap," she says. But what about the food conditions? Is everything up to the health code? All Afghani would say is that when she comes here, she takes off her Quality Assurance hat. 1111S.LemonSt.,Fullerton,(714)525-3333.


Wasa's Spicy Tuna Tartar
Photo by Heather X


JAVIERCASTELLANOS
MANAGER,ENJAMBRE
We wanted to talk to Osamu Nishitani, the Asian guitarist for local rockeros Enjambre, and congratulate him on the band's inclusion on BrilliantMisfits, iTunes' most recent compilation. They're the only Latin alternative band spotlighted on the album, which also features Elliott Smith, the Dears and Bloc Party. But it turned out Nishitani was on a flight to Japan and wasn't available for comment, so we got the next best thing—Enjambre manager Javier Castellanos of JC Fandango fame—and asked him the question that most folks ask when they find out an Asian guy is in a Latin alternative band: Don't people think that's weird? "Probably, but they don't mention it," Castellanos laughs. "No one has really said anything—I'm assuming most people want to be polite." He did share a recent anecdote, though: at an Enjambre concert in Atlanta, Nishitani's guitar groaned and blipped so ferociously the crowd chanted "Chino! Chino!" ("Chinese! Chinese!") in appreciation, caring not that their axe god is Japanese. ETHNICEAT(MEXICAN,BUTCASTELLANOSISANHONORARYJAPANESEFORTHEPURPOSESOFTHISBLURB):"I go to a bunch of sushi places, but my favorite is Matsunoya," says Castellanos. "The Matsunoya special is one of the best rolls I've ever had. It's a big salmon roll with cucumbers and a special sauce—I don't know what's in it and I'm sure they don't want you to know, but I swear I taste mayonnaise." 1307S.HarborBlvd.,Fullerton,(714)447-1612.Castellanos also digs Wasaand its seared yellowtail with jalapeno because he likes "being Mexican and having my spices." 13124JamboreeRd.,Irvine,(714)665-3338;also1346BisonAve.,NewportBeach,(949)760-1511.

Wasa's Banana Spring Roll
with ice cream
Photo by Heather X


AMAZINGASIAN:"I liked ThaiNakornin Buena Park, but they tore that one down and moved to Garden Grove," says Castellanos. "Haven't been to the new place, but I'm sure it's great." 12532GardenGroveBlvd.,GardenGrove,(714)537-5011.Castellanos is now taking up residence at BangkokFourin South Coast Plaza. "The dumplings have shrimp inside and I'm not sure what else, but they taste so good. The coconut shrimp with the spicy sweet and sour sauce are also good. With those two appetizers, I'm satisfied." 3333BearSt.,Ste.320,CostaMesa,(714)540-7661.

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