Did you feel a little earthquake last week? That tremor was the July 1 grand opening of Tofu King at Irvine's Taiwanese restaurant epicenter.
The Orange Tree Square Shopping Center, a small shopping center backed up hard against the 5 freeway at Jeffrey Road, gains another strong player in the cuisine of that nation. This is the first Orange County location of Tofu King, which has other shops in Rowland Heights and Arcadia.
The menu is full of Taiwanese favorites you might find at night market stalls on the streets of Taipei. Fried pork chop rice? Check. Beef roll? Yup. Stinky tofu? Three kinds. There's spicy dumplings, a thin-skinned boiled pork dumpling sauced with a crimson-red sauce slicked with chili oil and densely packed with the numbing tingle of hua jiao, Sichuan peppercorn.
Is it a place you'd initiate a cautious first-timer to dip a nervous toe into Taiwanese food culture? Probably not. But if you'd the type to seek out the once-sketchy night market called Snake Alley on your first-ever visit to Taipei, you're in the right place.
Tofu King, 5394 Walnut Ave. #L, Irvine. (949) 654-0486.