100 Favorite OC Dishes, #21: Spicy Raw Shrimp at Royal King Elephant

Thai aguachile. Photo by Gustavo Arellano.

From my review earlier this year of Garden Grove Laotian spot Royal King Elephant:

“…raw, chilled shrimp served alongside tomatoes and cucumbers, and it’s spicy. But whereas aguachile is cold and fiery, gung che num pa (which the Royal King Elephant menu helpfully translates as “spicy raw shrimp”) is funky and hellacious. About 10 shrimp are tossed on a bed of shredded cabbage, drowned in fish sauce, then slathered in a fermented chile paste heavy on ginger and lemongrass. Eat one shrimp, and you get equal parts sweet and tart, with just a tab of heat at the finish; eat the whole meal, and you’re left panting at the end, the chile paste gradually pummeling through your sweat glands like the end of “Bolero.”


Royal King Elephant, 9924 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 638-1887.

The List:

22. Stuffed Croissants at Blackmarket Bakery DTSA
23. Lobster Elote at Dos Chinos
24. Garlic Noodles at the Kickin’ Crab
25. Fish Tacos at Anepalco
26. Sauteed Shrimp at Cafe Hiro
27. Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken at Playground
28. Bo Ssam at Mountain
29. Bentos at Tenkatori
30. Pork Belly Bites at Coastal Kitchen
31. Pizza Omelet at Old Vine Cafe
32. Gorgonzola Bacon Burger at Zov’s
33. Falafel Taco at Falasophy
34. $10.95 Lunch Special at Istanbul Grill
35. Aporreadillo at El Picante
36: The Big Mike at C4 Deli
37. Crab Jalapeños from Carmelita’s Kitchen
38. Combo Plate at Punjabi Tandoor
39. Crepe Cakes at TeaArias
40. Bacon and Eggs at Break of Dawn
41. Combo Platter from The Halal Guys
42. Sunflower Salad from PIE-NOT
43. Watermelon Salad from Barley Forge Brewing Company
44. Breakfast Burrito from Pedro’s Tacos
45. Salmon Toast from Haven Gastropub
46. Croque Madame Sandwich at Café Beau Soleil
47. Dean’s Thai Curry Chicken Pizza
48. Aguas Frescas at Mar and Terra
49. Bocatas at Olé! Spain Delishop
50. Pan Con Pollo at El Divino Salvador Del Mundo
51. Tacos al Vapor at Tito’s La Especial
52. Knafeh at Knafeh Cafe 
53. Yakiudon Nikkei at Aji Limon
54. Yakitori at Electric City Butcher
55. Tsukemen at Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai
56. Ten Zaru Soba at Tanakaya
57. Pink Cloud Sandwich at Alicia’s Cookery
58. Homemade Super Nachos at Taqueria Los Santos
59. Strawberry Banana Croissant at Cream Pan 
60. Pla Duk Phat Phet at Vientiane Thai Laos Restaurant
61. Risotto Con Burrata at Taverna 
62. Pineapple Float at Jollibee 
63. Szechuan Fries at Wok N Tandoor
64. Banh Xeo at Quan Mii
65. Chanko Nabe at Torizo
66. Hamshuka from Hummus Bowl
67. The Reuben at A Market
68. Everything Cake from Slice Deli And Cakery
69. Spicy Shrimp And Eggplant from Brio Tuscan Grille
70. Crawfish Mac & Cheese from The Wharf
71. Malasadas from Dough Doughs Hawaiian Cafe
72. Salsas from Salsa Bandolera
73. Chorizo Breakfast Bagel at Spigas Bakery and Cafe
74. Whole Chicken Combo at Falafelo
75. Toothpick Lamb at Sichuan Impression
76. Hainan Chicken Rice at Baos Hog
77. Fruit- and Ice Cream-Topped Waffles at Crave
78. Garlic Shrimp Poke at Costco
79. Chimichurri Fries at Piaggo on Wheels
80. Torta Cubana at Cancun Juice
81. Adobo Bowl at Irenia
82. Garlic Noodles at Krave Asian Fusion
83. Broccolini at SeaSalt WoodFire Grill
84. Spicy Tuna Roll at Yard House
85. Amber Roll at Orange Roll and Sushi
86. Frito Chili Cheeseburger at Burger Parlor
87. Maui Sunrise at The Original Banzai Bowls
88. Meals from The Performance Kitchen
89. Pizza-Sized Quesadilla at Los Sanchez
90. Filipino Brunch at EATS Kitchen And Bar
91. Mexican Chocolate at the Pie Hole
92. Biscuits at James Republic 
93. Mushroom Flatbread with Kale and Kumquat Salad at Lemonade
94. Mexican-Style Gelatins from Santa Ana’s Gelatina Goddess
95. Hot Pastrami Caesar Salad at Bruxie
96. Jalapeño Pupusas at Las Cazuelas
97. Meatball Sliders at Fresh Brothers
98. Buffalo Cauliflower at Mead’s Green Door Cafe
99. Raindrop Cake at Sunmerry Bakery
100. Doughrito at Surfin’ Donuts

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