From now until our Best Of issue, we are counting down our 100
favorite dishes of the past year. If you've missed some, we've included a
linked list at the end.
#73. 5 a.m. Chitterlings at Tri-Village
Yes, chitterlings. Yes, as in pig intestines. They're awesome. It's the offal truth.
The Chinese name for this dish is 五更肠旺 (wǔ gēng cháng wàng) and
literally means “five a.m. intestine blaze”. It isn't that spicy, we
But why 5 a.m.? The reason is that this thick braise of pork intestine, blocks of pork blood, blocks of tofu, suancai (preserved cabbage) and spicy brown sauce supposedly had to be started at 5 a.m. in order to be ready for dinner.
The dish arrives in a metal dish set over an alcohol flame. Spoon some of it over your rice and dig in; the intestines are scrupulously clean, and have a slightly snappy texture (think of the “snap” of a good hot dog). The blood provides richness and the tofu a slightly grassy flavor to balance the spiciness and sourness of the dish. It's salty, it's spicy, it's savory, it's delicious despite its humble ingredients, and it's become a must-order every time I go.
Tri-Village, 14121 Jeffrey Rd., Irvine; (949) 857-8833.
The list so far:
Jerk Carnitas Torta at The Crosby
Nem Nuong Cuon at Brodard
Pork Chop Anything at Nice Time Deli
Flying Saucer at Alberto's
Frozen Custard at Marc Burger's in Macy's Signature Kitchen
Collard Greens at Johnny Reb's
Strawberry Shortcake from Job's Daughters
Cuban Sandwich at DeSimone's Deli
Lamb with Preserved Cabbage at Mas Islamic Chinese
Baked Rice at Luc Dinh Ky
Beans on Toast at The Olde Ship
Midnight Al Pastor Burrito or Taco at Taqueria Tapatia
Budino di Cioccolato, Pizzeria Ortica
Beef Teriyaki Bowl, Teriyami
Salmon Onigiri at Cream Pan
Beef Fat Fries at SideDoor
Silken Tofu & Thousand Year Old Egg at Asian Tapas
Cambodian Beef Jerky at Sophy's
Com Tam at Com Tam Tran Quy Cap
Chipotle-Piloncillo Goat Cheese at SOL Cocina
Nem Nuong Cuon at Au Lac Restaurant
Blackened Mushroom & Tofu Burger at Taco Loco
Fried Veggie Fish Fillet at Dong Phuong Tofu
Tofu Vegetable Salad at BCD Tofu House
Che Ba Mau at Thach Che Hien Khanh
Barracuda Sushi at Ohshima
#74. Whole Lamb with Kabsa at Olive Tree