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Best Late-Night Dining Orange County 2011 - BCD Tofu House

BCD Tofu House

BCD Tofu House

2700 Alton Parkway

Irvine, CA 92606

949-553-6465

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Readers' Choice: Harbor House Café

One of the few 24-hour, sit-down restaurants in Irvine not named Denny's or Norms, BCD Tofu House is a haven for UC Irvine students on an all-night Korean-food bender. Its two 24-hour locations (Irvine's Diamond Jamboree and Garden Grove's Koreatown) are known for magma-hot, stone pots of spicy soon tofu, stews loaded with spicy chili powder and meat. Choose the spice level, from a mild broth with no chili powder to a devil-red spicy broth that'll make you sweat like a fat man in a sauna after two bites. Then choose among proteins such as beef and mixed seafood—or the house-made boiled dumplings heavily dosed with garlic. When the furiously boiling mini-cauldron arrives at your table, crack a raw egg into it. Order a Hite beer to bide your time while the egg soft-boils and the soondubu cools enough to eat. The $8.99 bowl isn't dirt-cheap by starving-student standards, but the stew arrives with enough sides to make for a giant meal. Traditional Korean side dishes of banchan (pickled vegetables) arrive with a stone crock of steamed rice, featuring a crust of toasted rice at the bottom. Your server will scoop out the rice, then ask if you want roasted barley tea to soften the toasty rice crust. Say yes; by midmeal, you'll have a cleansing broth to balance the rich, spicy soon tofu. $$

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