On Thursday I stopped by Ranch 99 in Irvine to pick up ingredients to cook for a friend. I was happy to see Sam Woo next door. Mind you, I'd never had anything from the Sam Woo restaurants or BBQ counters but certainly recognized the name.
I picked up a couple pieces of char siu, asking for "half fat-half lean". These turned out to be quite lean with little marbling and verging on dry. Kind of average. Much better was the gui fei ji (aka concubine chicken), shown on the specials board as cold half chicken. Cooked perfectly to be red at the bone and silky of flesh, subtle seasoning enhanced by the ginger-scallion condiment, and firm skin. I'd definitely get the chicken again.
Sam Woo BBQ Express
15333 Culver Dr
Irvine, CA 92606