Every time I visit the OC/Irvine area, I feel like I die and go to food heaven. With Asian people making up almost 50% of the population in Irvine, it is no surprise that the city is flooded with some of the best authentic Asian food spots in the nation. Below are some of my favorite restaurants in the Irvine area that you NEED to try if you like Asian food.
Credit: @eatlikesteve on Instagram
Cheesy corndogs are some of the most iconic Korean street foods. I was thrilled when Myungrang opened up a location in Garden Grove as these corndogs are some of my favorite cheat meals. These delicious corndogs are deep fried and typically made of half sausage and half mozzarella cheese on in the inside with an optional sugar coating on the outside. This snack food is known for their obnoxious cheese pull where you bite into the corndog and stretch the cheese as long as you can -- very fun and satisfying! Myungrang has a variety of other hotdogs such as the ramen dog and potato dog if you enjoy a bit more crunch and texture but overall the food here is amazing for a great price ($4-$5/each).
Location: 8935 Garden Grove Blvd Garden Grove, CA 92844
Credit: Back Rib soup from @thefoodiefoodieclub on Instagram
Tang 190 is such a hidden gem! Do not be fooled by the somewhat obscure name, Tang 190 is home to the best Korean beef bone soup (Seolleongtang) I've ever tried. If you are ever hung over, their back rib soup would heal your body immediately and feels like a big warm hug for your insides. I can't even describe how tender the beef in this dish is. You could just barely bite into the meat and have it all fall off of the bone -- definitely a result of hours of simmering. Each dish comes with complimentary Korean sides of course, and they also sell a variety of other authentic Korean dishes such as cold noodles and bulgogi rice plates.
Location: 14121 Jeffrey Rd, Irvine, CA 92620
Credit: Beef Shabu from @gloriasfoodventure on Instagram
Mokkoji is my number one spot for quality shabu. Unlike most shabu places, Mokkoji seasons their raw meat with garlic, onion, sesame seeds, and sauce, making it a game changer. On top of that, the overall quality, taste, and tenderness of the meat is one of the best in the area. Unfortunately, they are not all you can eat but the portions are decently generous with unlimited vegetable refills. I recommend coming during their lunch special when you can get 10 slices of flat steak and a drink for a little over $13.
Location: 14041 Jeffrey Rd Irvine, CA 92620
Credit: Passion fruit and Matcha Cococane from @drinkcococane on Instagram
Cococane is a Vietnamese-owned sugarcane shop in Garden Grove. They combine sugarcane juice with fresh coconut juice and meat to make one of the most refreshing drinks you'll ever experience. I can’t really describe the taste of sugarcane but it’s really just sugar in its most natural and purest form. Sugarcane drinks are a great alternative to your usual boba order and arguably healthier (depending on what you get at boba shops). Cococane offers three flavors: original, passion fruit, and matcha and they're all unique in they're own way but the original has to be my favorite. If you ever need to quench your thirst on a hot summers day, Cococane is the perfect option.
Location: 14338 Brookhurst St Garden Grove, CA 92843
Credit: Beef Udon and Assorted Tempura from @marugame_udon on Instagram
Two words. Tempura. Bar. Marugame is Japanese chain specializing in udon, tempura, onigiri, and masubis. My personal favorite part of Marugame is their tempura bar which is why I place so much emphasis on it but don't get me wrong, their udon is some of the best I've ever tried. The udon broth is flavorful and the noodles have a great chewy texture that pair beautifully with the seasoned beef. Marugame is unique in their cafeteria style of ordering where you first order your udon, slide your tray down to the tempura and onigiri section, and then pay at the very end. This is my ideal meal for a rainy or a quick lunch break.
Location: 3333 Bristol St Ste 1073 Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Credit: Pork Sausage Spring Rolls from @brodardrestaurant on Instagram
Often times, it's a bit difficult to distinguish between Vietnamese restaurants because they all end up serving the same pho and broken rice plates. However, Brodard in Fountain Valley does an amazing job at differentiating themselves with their modern Vietnamese-fusion dishes and sleek space. My all time favorite dish from here has to be their famous pork sausage spring rolls (nem nuong). They are made to order, and each contain fried eggroll skin that makes each bite that much more dynamic. Their hot shrimp dipping sauce is also a must try with the spring rolls and is so popular that the internet is flooded with recipes trying to recreate it. As if this restaurant couldn't get any better, Brodard also has a plethora of dessert options ranging from macarons to cakes that are all worth trying.
Location: 16105 Brookhurst St Ste 0 Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Credit: @sushi.damu on Instagram
Believe it or not, but I didn't know all you can eat sushi was even possible until I went to Orange County. Sushi Damu is an all you can eat sushi restaurant located in Tustin, CA. You wouldn't think all you can eat sushi would be that good because anything made in large masses is objectively just not that good but Sushi Damu is an exception. For around $35 - $40 you can eat an unlimited amount of sushi rolls, nigiri, tempura, chicken karaage and more. The interior of this restaurant is very spacious and known for their purple LED lights that surrounds the walls, creating almost a club-like vibe in there. I've been to this location over 10 times, and every time the service has been great, and the staff are extremely friendly and communicative. If you have the stomach for an unlimited amount of sushi, you need to come here!
This list is only a handful of my favorite, must-try Asian food spots around Irvine but honestly, I can make a part two or three considering how many amazing restaurants there are left to mention. If you are interested in reading a part two or enjoyed this content in general let me know in the comments below and follow me here on News Break. Also follow my food Instagram @claudiaishungry (link in bio) for more food content!