Duck Soup and Beyond at Tri-Village

The good and bad thing about modern-day newspaper publishing is that an alternate universe now exists online, and sometimes, the web and dead-tree editions don’t meet. If your only source for eating in OC consists of this column and Edwin’s reviews, you’re missing out on a world of daily eats on our award-winning Stick a Fork In It blog. You’re also missing out on the finds of the amazing Shuji Sakai (one of OC’s first food bloggers as Professor Salt) and Dave Lieberman, who doesn’t get into these pages enough but whose Net prose as Das Ubergeek has long made him a must-read for foodies worldwide.

If you do read Stick a Fork In It, you’ll know Dave has written quite often about Tri-Village in Irvine: Northern Chinese-style cuisine hidden in a shopping plaza, home to the county’s best rendition of Peking duck. But before we get to the duck, other great dishes include a stew of chitterlings, blood cubes, pickled cabbage and chiles with the great translated name “5 a.m. intestine blaze” because of what its potent combo will do to your digestive tract before the next sunrise. Sandwiches are simply constructed with scallions and petals of beef wrapped in a sesame-seed-covered flatbread, perfect for a lunchtime office-drone crew. There’s even a beef noodle soup advertised as Jackie Chan’s favorite; further reporting on Stick a Fork In It determined that a former chef at Tri-Village actually did serve this potage to the action-movie star in China, and Chan really did give it an endorsement. More than 100 dishes exist at Tri-Village, all worthy of a try, some of which you won’t find anywhere else in OC.

But if you only come once, come with friends for the aforementioned duck. You’ll have to call at least two hours in advance for it, but the bird will have already waited for you at least a day, the minimum amount of time it takes to turn its skin into something as brittle and delicious as a caramel sheet and for its meat to become as tender as a marshmallow. It’s carved tableside, servers laying out slices of duck ringed by that crackling skin before you, but it’s better to call ahead and ask for specific treats to be created. The easy dish is duck burritos—okay, that’s just my Mexican mind thinking, but what else to call a flatbread wrapped around duck meat, cucumbers and scallions? A refreshing snack, the better to prepare you for other renditions such as duck-liver sausage, cold duck’s webs dipped in hot mustard and a duck-intestine soup, spiked with duck’s blood, that will have you forsake pho forever. The other dishes and their Chinese names? Read Dave’s post on Stick a Fork In It, already!

Tri-Village, 14121 Jeffrey Rd., Irvine, (949) 857-8833.


This column appeared in print as “Duck Soup— And More!”

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