#34. Chao Chow Rice Noodle Soup at Trieu Chau

#34. Chao Chow Rice Noodle Soup at Trieu Chau
Edwin Goei

We continue to countdown our 100 favorite dishes at local restaurants. We'll be sharing these with you every weekday until our annual Best Of Issue comes out. Enjoy!

#34. Chao Chow Rice Noodle Soup at Trieu Chau

As of this writing, the weather's probably too hot to eat soup for lunch; but if you are still thinking about it, consider the Trieu Chau's Chao Chow Rice Noodle.  This is a noodle soup's noodle soup.  I regard it as the often neglected sibling of pho.  Though it may be seem Vietnamese, the dish is credited to Chinese who immigrated from, where else, the Chiu Chow region.

Bowls at Trieu Chau aren't for the faint of heart. You'll find liver in it -- big, inelegant chunks that tastes of, well...liver.  As for poultry, don't expect cleanly sliced white breast meat. Here they use nothing but dark meat chicken and duck pieces, still on the bone, and hacked haphazardly with a cleaver with a flagrant disregard to the location of the animal's actual joints. As an inevitable consequence, you might find occasional fragments of bone in the soup. Spitting them out into a napkin is not frowned upon; it's expected.

The meat that clings to those bones is perfect, especially enjoyable when there's still scraps of its gelatinous skin attached.

Shrimp, meat balls, fish cake, and an uncharacteriscally lean hunk of pork completes the protein-heavy bowl.

But it's the broth that ties it all together--a marvelously hot, glorious, mouth-filling nectar wrung from the soul of bird and hog. I'm not sure if MSG is involved (probably) but for sure the fried garlic bits contribute to the umami, exploding in bursts of flavor.

Slurp it up and suck it down.  Never mind that it's a billion degrees outside.

Trieu Chau, 4401 W. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 775-1536.

The rest of the list!

#100. Jerk Carnitas Torta at The Crosby
#99. Nem Nuong Cuon at Brodard
#98. Pork Chop Anything at Nice Time Deli
#97. Flying Saucer at Alberto's
#96. Frozen Custard at Marc Burger's in Macy's Signature Kitchen
#95. Collard Greens at Johnny Reb's
#94. Strawberry Shortcake from Job's Daughters
#93. Cuban Sandwich at DeSimone's Deli
#92. Lamb with Preserved Cabbage at Mas Islamic Chinese
#91. Baked Rice at Luc Dinh Ky
#90. Beans on Toast at The Olde Ship
#89. Midnight Al Pastor Burrito or Taco at Taqueria Tapatia
#88. Budino di Cioccolato, Pizzeria Ortica
#87. Beef Teriyaki Bowl, Teriyami
#86. Salmon Onigiri at Cream Pan
#85. Beef Fat Fries at SideDoor
#84. Silken Tofu & Thousand Year Old Egg at Asian Tapas
#83. Cambodian Beef Jerky at Sophy's
#82. Com Tam at Com Tam Tran Quy Cap
#81. Chipotle-Piloncillo Goat Cheese at SOL Cocina
#80. Nem Nuong Cuon at Au Lac Restaurant
#79. Blackened Mushroom & Tofu Burger at Taco Loco
#78. Fried Veggie Fish Fillet at Dong Phuong Tofu
#77. Tofu Vegetable Salad at BCD Tofu House
#76. Che Ba Mau at Thach Che Hien Khanh
#75. Barracuda Sushi at Ohshima
#74. Whole Lamb with Kabsa at Olive Tree
#73. 5 a.m. Chitterlings at Tri-Village
#72. Spinach Empanadas at El Gaucho #2
#71. Croissants at Molinos Bakery
#70. Beso de Monja at El Rincón del Sabor
#69. Fatteh at Kareem's
#68. Korean Beef Rib Sandwich at Kaffa
#67. Rice Flour Pupusas at Pupusería San Sivar
#66. The Hash Browns at Pop's Cafe
#65. Seven Courses of Beef at Thien An
#64. Baby Back Ribs at Blake's Place
#63. Fish and Chips at The Chippy
#62. Roasted Beef Marrow Bones at Brasserie Pascal
#61. The Lunch Buffet at Tandoor Cuisine of India
#60. Eggs, Charcuterie and Bread at Uyen Thy Bistro
#59. Wang Mandoo at Myung In
#58. Gobi Paratha at Traditions
#57. Kibbeh at Zait & Zaatar
#56. Chicago Dog at Portillo's
#55. Persian Buffet at Irvine's Wholesome Choice
#54. Anything at night at Joe's Italian Ice
#53. Salteñas at Rollie's Bakery
#52. Iskender Kabob at Doner G
#51. Secret Beer-Battered Fish Burrito at the OG Taco Adobe
#50. Bun Rieu at Kim Huong
#49. Truffle Fries at Andrei's
#48. Monday Night Pizza Special at Pizza Shack
#47. Corn Dog at Disneyland's The Little Red Wagon
#46. Linguini with Clams at Franco's Pasta Cucina
#45. Chamoyada at Natural
#44. Meatloaf at Memphis
#43. Paletas at Delicias de México
#42. Omakase at Sushi Shibucho
#41. Odessa Sandwich at Moscow Deli
#40. Tacos de Rajas con Queso at Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen
#39. Crepes con Caramel at Anepalco's Cafe
#38. "Cobra" Chicken Sandwich at Memphis at the Santora.
#37. Beef Shawerma Plate at Sahara Falafel
#36. Flan at Taleo Mexican Grill
#35. Ahi Poke at Fish Camp


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