I posited the question last May: Why aren't there any Hong Kong-style cafés in Orange County?
In that post, I said that the last Hong Kong-style café to grace our dining scene was O'Shine in Irvine, which then became Red Onion, a similarly styled restaurant that folded shortly after. Until now, no one has stepped up to fill the cha chaan teng void. To those unfamiliar with the concept, Hong Kong-style cafés are a unique kind of Westernized-Asian diner where one can get a steak with mashed potatoes, a hot bowl of jook, beef chow fun,
pork cutlet with tomato sauce, chili chese fries or a sandwich in the
same sitting, all of it priced cheaply and served until the wee hours of the night. The San Gabriel Valley is full of them, a good example being Monterey Park's JJ Hong Kong Cafe.
A few weeks ago, a reader clued me in to Koko's Cafe
in Irvine, which took over the space of a failed barbecue restaurant called
Koko's is doing brisk business and, from reading the menu, serving a lot of the cha chaan teng greatest hits. I see a baked pork chop with tomato sauce and beef chow fun. But for now, no sandwiches. As the person who handed me the menu (which I scanned for your convenience) said, it's still a preliminary list, which will most likely be tweaked over time.
Koko's Cafe, 15435 Jeffrey Rd., Irvine, (949) 551-2888.
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