Top

dining

Stories

 

The Mein Event: OC's Best Noodles

Noodles, noodles everywhere, from pho to pad Thai and everything else

SOBA
You won't find many chefs who make their own buckwheat noodles in this country, let alone in Orange County. Irvine's Fukada is one such rarity. Served hot or cold, the perfectly al dente soba noodles can be ordered in several traditional Japanese variations accompanying a subtle dashi broth that tastes lightly of dried bonito flakes, kelp and soy sauce. Soba specialists also tend to be expert tempura cooks, as the two things go hand in glove. Fukada's tempura comes out lacy and crisp, the greaseless batter tasting subtly of the toasted sesame oil that's part of the fry-oil blend. 8683 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine, (949) 341-0111.

PAPPARDELLE BOLOGNESE
Too many people think of Italian food as overboiled, gluey pasta with sauce slopped over the top; try handmade pasta just once, and it'll change your entire way of thinking. Sadly, homemade pasta is harder to find in Orange County than you'd think, perhaps because it's labor-intensive. Fortunately, beachside carb-lovers have three branches of Cucina Alessa to choose from to get wide, soft egg noodles cradling a tender, meaty Bolognese that's more condiment than sauce. A little hit—just a little—of Parmigiano, and you'll never look at Olive Garden again. 6700 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, (949) 645-2148; also at 520 Main St., Huntington Beach, (714) 969-2148; and 234 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-8222; www.cucinaalessa.com.

PAD KEE MAO
Pad kee mao—literally "drunken noodles"—isn't actually on the menu at the venerable Thai Nakorn. While awesome, the menu is fairly short on noodles, but the kitchen staff will gladly make it if you ask—and you should because it's one of the best versions in the county. There's so much wok hei it tastes smoky, and the garlic, chiles, fish sauce, soy sauce and basil strike as though they're an assault. Order the dish with beef and savor the tug of the noodles against the wilted snap of the bean sprouts—the pure distillate of Thai street food. 12532 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 583-8938; also at 11951 Beach Blvd., Stanton, (714) 799-2031; www.thainakornrestaurant.com.

Fiesta noodles at Jolibee
LP Hastings
Fiesta noodles at Jolibee
Lobster pasta at Cucina Alessa
LP Hastings
Lobster pasta at Cucina Alessa

Location Info

Map

Quan Hy Restaurant

9727 Bolsa Ave.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Westminster

Dx Peruvian Restaurant

3930 Bristol St.
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Category: Restaurant > Latin American

Region: Santa Ana

Midan Al Tahrir

1324 S. Magnolia Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Anaheim

Katella Deli

4470 Katella Ave.
Rossmoor, CA 90720

Category: Restaurant > Breakfast

Region: Los Alamitos

Dat Thành

10032 McFadden Ave.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Westminster

Jagerhaus

2525 E. Ball Road
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Restaurant > German

Region: Anaheim

Rufino’s Ristorante Italiano

938 S. Euclid St.
Anaheim, CA 92802

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Anaheim

Franco's Pasta Cucina

2222 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Irvine

Chong Qing Mei Wei Szechwan Restaurant

5406 Walnut Ave.
Irvine, CA 92604

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Irvine

Jollibee and Red Ribbon Bakery

601 N. Euclid St., Ste. A
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Fast Food

Region: Anaheim

Pho Thanh Lich

13135 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Garden Grove

Jinya

1450 Baker St., Ste. C
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Costa Mesa

Fukada Restaurant

8683 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Irvine

Cucina Alessa

520 Main St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Huntington Beach

Cucina Alessa Restaurant

234 Forest Ave.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Huntington Beach

Cucina Alessa

6700 W. Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Newport Beach

Thai Nakorn

12532 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Garden Grove

Thai Nakorn

11951 Beach Blvd.
Stanton, CA 90680

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Stanton

Vientiane Thai Laos

10262 Westminster Ave.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Thai

Region: Garden Grove

Vien Dong

14271 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Garden Grove

O-udon

17879 Newhope St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Fountain Valley

Thai & Chinese Express

2540 Main St.
Irvine, CA 92614

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Irvine

Warung Pojok

13113 Harbor Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Garden Grove

Pho Dakao

15532 Ward St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Garden Grove

Pho Crystal Noodle House

3037 S. Bristol St.
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Santa Ana

Trieu Chau

4401 W. First St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Santa Ana

Quan Hop Restaurant

15640 Brookhurst St.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Westminster

Ramen Yamadaya

1175 Baker St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Ramen

Region: Costa Mesa

Cafe Hiro

10509 Valley View St.
Cypress, CA 90630

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Cypress

Mami King

6901 La Palma Ave.
Buena Park, CA 90620

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Buena Park

Mas' Chinese Islamic Restaurant

601 E. Orangethorpe Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92801

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Anaheim

Related Stories

More About

PAD VOONSIN
Little Saigon's Vientiane is one of the few restaurants that serves the Laotian community. It will have Thai dishes as well as those from Laos, one of which is the glass-noodle dish pad voonsin. On the one hand, it's a simple wok-fried creation of glass noodles, vegetables and a meat of your choice, but the care in cooking each element quickly over a volcano-hot gas burner adds the slightly charred, lightly smoky character the Chinese call wok hei that makes this dish crave-worthy. 10262 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 530-7523.

BÚN CHA CA THANG LONG
Turmeric-rubbed catfish grilled on a ripping-hot iron platter with onions and dill that's then mixed with fresh herbs, cool rice noodles and fried shallots. What's not to like here, especially on a steamy day when you want a light lunch? Normally, the cha ca Thang Long at Vien Dong, one of Orange County's oldest Vietnamese restaurants and one of the best Hanoi-style places in the county, comes with the fish, herbs, noodles and condiments kept separate, so you can build your own. The pre-made bowl, though, is cheaper, with a lot of fish, and is so convenient it's worth not building it yourself. 14271 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, (714) 531-8253.

KAKE UDON
The décor at O-Udon is sparse—just bowls of condiments (load 'em up!) and long tables. It doesn't matter; you're here for kake udon, those chewy udon noodles with a salty, savory sauce that will stick in your head for weeks. Kake means "splash," and the idea behind kake udon is to have so much sauce that eating the thick, slippery wheat noodles splashes sauce on the table. If you want to taste this treat, though, you'll have to come early; a limited number of orders of udon is made daily, and it generally runs out by the time the lunch rush subsides. 17870 Newhope St., Fountain Valley, (714) 427-0482; www.oudon.com.

PAD SEE EW
Pay no attention to the chafing trays, the orange chicken and the food-court setting. Despite these incriminating details and the off-the-shelf name, Thai & Chinese Express' true calling is its made-to-order, street-hawker-style noodles. The pad Thai tastes like it came straight from Bangkok, but it's the pad see ew you should get. Since its components are rudimentary—Scotch tape-wide rice noodles, sweet soy sauce, beef, and something green and stalky—execution becomes everything. The bok choy, American and Chinese broccoli literally shines. The beef is plentiful and tender. And noodle ribbons render to edible silk. 2540 Main St., Ste. J, Irvine, (949) 724-1813.

MIE AYAM
The Indonesians in Jakarta like noodle soups dry, with the broth segregated. And that's exactly how Warung Pojok does it. The mie ayam—the classic Chinese/Indonesian bowl of egg noodles—is lubricated in a flavorful, almost peppery oil, the whole crinkly nest topped with diced chicken and mushrooms, but the soup is served on the side, with beef meatballs called bakso bobbing as if they were buoys in broth. Eat the dish as separate entities. First, Hoover up the noodles, taking note of how well that seasoned oil dresses the chewy strands. Then chase them with a sip of the soup and a nibble of a spring-loaded meatball, all the while slathering everything in sambal. 13113 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 638-8716; www.warungpojokindo.com.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
8 comments
Kimilsung
Kimilsung

So not a single Corean place (neng myun, kal gooksu, chachangmyun, yukejang, sulangtang)? That's jacked up yo.

mhschepers
mhschepers

Interesting, there are fideos Chinos, fideos de Vietnam, fideos Japoneses, fideos Filipinos, fideos Alemanes, fideos Italianos, and so on but no Mexican Fideos, considering we are in SoCal it is shocking, what is even worse I did a search on google and yelp, from LA to San Diego, with only a handful of places showing up online, Gustavo there must be  places that sells Fideuà Mejicana (Sopa Seca) otherwise it should put it on the socal endangered dishes list, plenty of places selling fideos in San Antonio though, please tell us Gustavo!

Dave_Lieberman
Dave_Lieberman

 @mhschepers I can count the number of places in Southern California selling actual cuina catalana on one finger: the annual picnic of the Casal dels Catalans, usually in May near Cal State Dominguez Hills. Paella, amanida, pà i postre.

 

Why don't you open a real Catalan restaurant? Introduce Southern California to the wonders of arròs nègre, fideuà, esqueixadas, olladas, escudella, suquet de peix ... I'd pay a lot of money for a real calçotada.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

 @mhschepers There used to be one place in SanTana that sold great fideo, but it's gone! Sounds like an Ask a Mexican question to me!!!

BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

 @mhschepers

 Well, there ya go, lifelong So. Cal. resident and here's a Mexican-style dish I'm not familiar with. I'd love to have the opportunity to give it a taste.

 
Loading...