57. 10-Item Plate at Thuan Kieu Noodle & Grill

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.


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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

The List:

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
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

Email: ga*******@oc******.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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