If you live in orange county, then chinese food means noodles with bland sauce, oily egg fu young, bland veggies in a gel sauce, deep fried meat, bad sweet and sour sauce, and other non-delights.
on close to the last day of school 2 korean students invited me to their favorite little chinese restaurant in little saigon. I met them there. It's located on westminster blvd. west of magnolia across the street from seafood cove. It's really small and doesn't look like anything special. (old yellow sign out front)
Inside it's very simple, not fancy at all. The drinks arrive in cans and the staff almost ignores you.
But the food... the food. Damn it was good!
The small soup was better than usual with a bit of red seaweed providing the bulk of the flavor.
I have no clue how to order what we did but I'll describe what we got.
Our food tasted much more like thai than chinese with flavors of lemon grass and chili sauce in almost everydish.
1. Spicy meat with rice noodles. This was amazing. The noodles are huge, really wide, super thin and insanely soft. It looked like tripe or some other intestinal component. The beef was really thin slices about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide, no chunks or shreds. It was sitting in this spicy lemony red sauce that made me want to ask for a spoon. (NOTE: this item does not appear on the menu so you have to ask for it special.) My students said they had to go to this place about 5 times before they started getting stuff recommended off the menu)
2. A beef filled pancake but not eggy like usual or even like vietnamese. This was more like middle eastern food. Crispy thin bread with tons of beef then rolled and sliced. It was so good.
3. Sauteed green beans. Not great but the flavor with subtle with a simple salt, garlic, almost butter flavor.
4. Darn... there was something else we got, but now I can't remember... but it was really good.
I really want to go back and try more. Let me know if you find any other favorites.