Chef Hung is here! Southern California now has a branch of one of the most popular franchises from Taiwan, reports ipsedixit, and it's landed in Irvine. "My uncle says Chef Hung is like the Taiwanese version of In-N-Out. Large contingency of fanatics, and then a good group of people who just don't get the hype and accolades," ipsedixit says.
But hounds seem to like the place so far. The best thing here, says Porthos, is their xiao long bao, a.k.a. juicy dumplings or soup dumplings. They're as good as anything you'd get in San Gabriel Valley, and probably better. The thin-skinned morsels are in the style of hound favorite Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, but they're larger. As a seasonal special, Chef Hung currently serves a version with angled loofa, or Chinese okra. The loofa flavor comes through superbly, says Porthos. But get 'em while you can—we're at the end of okra season.
Chef Hung is also known for its "Champion" beef noodles in a dark, soy-flavored beef broth. But Chowhounds are united on this front: The dish is so-so. Porthos suggests skipping it and trying the beef brisket in a clear broth with thin noodles instead. The meat in it is delicious: "fatty, tender but with a little texture to it and a smokiness that is reminiscent of BBQ," says Porthos, who adds that this "pastrami-like brisket" is one of the best things served at Chef Hung.
Chef Hung [Orange County]
2700 Alton Parkway #117, Irvine