Behold the beginning of our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2016 listicle! Every day through the publication of our Best Of 2016 issue (and sometimes, twice a day), we’ll be bringing you our favorite dishes across Orange County, leading up to the best in the land. Enjoy!
Last summer, Baos Hog—Orange County’s first bao sandwich specialist—opened in Garden Grove. Their baos are great, but if there’s one dish I’d get above all else, it would be the Hainan chicken rice.
It’s easily one of the best plates of its kind in Orange County. In fact, I would argue the Hainan chicken rice is Baos Hog’s true, unspoken specialty. The chicken-broth-cooked rice is, of course, scrumptious. But the steamed chicken is also immaculate and the ginger sauce wondrous—both so close to the Hainan chicken I had at a Singapore hawker stand a few years ago, it’s almost uncanny.
Perhaps the most convincing sign this dish is made for connoisseurs is that the dark meat option is more expensive than the white meat—and trust me, when it comes to Hainan chicken, you always want dark meat.
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
Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.