57. 10-Item Plate at Thuan Kieu Noodle & Grill
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Houston, we have dinner.
Behold our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!
There's one reason--no, scratch that--there are ten reasons to go to Thuan Kieu Noodle & Grill in Irvine. And they're all on the same plate. Yes, Thuan Kieu Noodle & Grill's house speciality is a rice plate with 10 meat and proteins. When you order it, it's best to have at least one other person present--either to witness your gluttony or to share in it. You should also take pictures, because the plate doesn't look much like a plate; it's more like a party tray you bring to a potluck.
They start with a dome of steamed broken rice in the middle, then start piling on all kinds of protein from just about every edible animal that once mooed, oinked, clucked, or swam. Basically, it's loaded with just about everything the kitchen cooks. Grilled pork, fish, a wedge of steamed egg quiche, egg rolls, grilled chicken, tofu-wrapped shrimp cake, glistening Chinese sausages, bouncy Vietnamese sausage (nem nuoung), grilled beef short ribs, and grilled shrimp. All are excellent by themselves, but even better together in this crowded ensemble, bound by rice and doused with nuoc cham. But there's one more item on the plate: a veritable salad consisting of a wad of pickled carrot and daikon, lettuce and cucumber to cleanse your palate in between spoonfuls meat, which officially makes this the Spinal Tap of com tam dishes. Yes, these plates go to eleven.
Thuan Kieu Noodle & Grill, 3951 Irvine Blvd., Irvine, CA 92602, (714) 389-4800; tknoodlegrill.com
58. Leche Frita at Cafe Sevilla 59. Happy Hour Sushi at Ginzaya 60. Red Beans and Rice at Disneyland's French Market 61. Consommé from Tacos y Birria El Güero 62. Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwich at Little Sparrow 63. Breakfast Taco at Sapphire Laguna 64. Husky Burger at Husky Boy Burgers 65. Love Bagel from Koffee Klatch 66. Kouign Amann From The Crema Cafe & Bakery 67. Chili Lime Popcorn From Green Tomato Grill 68. PB & J At Hopscotch 69. Takuwan Sushi from AnQi by Crustacean 70. Ube Ensaymadas from The Ensaymada Project 71. Pork Bánh Mì at the OC Poultry and Rotisserie Market 72. Tacos Gobernador from Mariscos Los Corales 73. Dutch Baby at the Original Pancake House 74. Doughnuts from Sidecar 75. Lengua Tacos at La Chonita 76. Oysters from Carlsbad Aquafarm at the Orange Homegrown Farmers Market 77. Lemon Miso Crab Melt at Umami Burger in Laguna Beach 78. Pani Puri from Adya 79. The Pocket at the Pocket Burger 80. Gyro Sandwich from Paul's Place 81. Slice of Heaven at Pie-Not 82. Taquitos at El Toro Bravo 83. Peanut Butter and Jelly Donut at the Donuttery 84. Dan Dan Mian at Wei-Shian Noodle 85. Beef Burger at Rider's Club Café 86. Smoked Trout at Provenance 87. Small Plates at A&J Restaurant 88. Corn Cheese at Zoomak Asian Bistro 89. Pumpkin Curry at Bhan Baitong 90. Poke at Costco Tustin II 91. Pambazo at Tacos Radioactivos 92. Beef Pho at Pho Crystal Noodle House 93. Breakfast Burrito from Cafe Calacas 94. Koobideh Plate from Grill Cafe 95. Tacos de Cecina from Alebrije's 96. Jajangmyeong from Ching Chinese Express 97. Breakfast Sausage from Da-Le Ranch 98. Any Special Dinner by Old Vine Cafe's Mark McDonald 99. Tres Amigos Burrito from Piaggio on Wheels 100. Bacon-Wrapped Dates from Lola Gaspar
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.