I still remember when Ay-Chung Noodle opened three summers ago in Irvine. It had just replaced Bin Bin Konjac, a shaved ice dessert shop. Never had I seen anything so busy in Irvine (this was before Yogurtland existed). There was a line to order, and a wait to get your food. Getting a table was near impossible.
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It had a built in audience for its cornstarch-ladened noodle soups, which was popularized in Taiwan by the chain it was affiliated with. Its arrival had made it direct competition to Nice Time Deli, the venerable Taiwanese restaurant doing business mere feet from it.
Cut to three years later. Nice Time Deli is still here. Ay-Chung is gone.
Now there is a new place. Chong King just had its grand opening and it serves spicy Sichuan fare. Expect less cornstarch, less noodles, and more dishes teeming with chilies.
5406 Walnut Ave., #C, Irvine