Could one of the best Pad Thai and Pad See Ew in Orange County come from a food court in Irvine????
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On my first visit to Thai and Chinese Express, I ordered a two-item combo from the pick what you want, a la most Chinese takeout fast food places. For my first item, I went with the orange chicken which is always a favorite of mine. Their version was OK, but my second item was the yellow curry. The curry was some of the best curry that I have had in a while, with the heat of the curry definitely present, the taste of the coconut wasn't overwhelming and the kaffir lime leaves giving off their distinct flavoring. I could really taste the complexity of the curry with all of the various components coming together.
Pad See Ew with beef - 6.25
The pad see ew, unlike the heated steam tray items, is made to order. When opening the styrofoam container the vapor and the essence of the slightly sweet, smoky, and meaty aroma makes its way directly to my nose, which in turn, kicks my salivary glands in overdrive.
The noodles are cooked to a perfect texture. They aren't mushy and too soft but a perfect consistency that gives just the right amount of resistance when bitten into. My meat of choice with pad see ew is beef. Thai and Chinese Express does a wonderful job of cooking the meat and slightly carmelizing it. I have eaten the pad see ew on 3 different occasion here, and each and every time, there have been broccoli and carrots, but they have also added broccolini and bok choy on a few of my visits.
Pad Thai with chicken - 6.25
Usually when I got to Thai restaurants, I always order pad see ew and pad thai as my gauge to how good the restaurant is. The pad thai, like the pad see ew, is excellent. The noodles are cooked to perfection and the hard-to-describe flavor of pad thai is spot on. The chef uses just the right amount of tamarind, fish sauce, and other spices to flavor the pad thai. Not too sweet, salty, or spicy (unless spicy is your thing, they'll have no problem accommodating you).
Portions of noodles and food at Thai and Chinese Express are very generous, filling a large styrofoam container for only $6.25. Another item not to be missed is their Thai tea. I consider myself a bit of a Thai tea connoisseur and theirs is the perfect blend of tea to milk/cream ratio, with the flavor of the tea being evident and the tea not being cavity-inducingly sweet.
Where Thai and Chinese Express shines in my opinion is not the Chinese food but definitely the Thai food. After chatting with owner/chef for a bit, I found out why. The owners are from Thailand. This little food court restaurant is serving up some very authentic and delicious Thai dishes.
So, does one of the best pad thai and pad see ew come from a food court in Irvine? The verdict is... YES!! Since this is a business food court the hours a bit strange. Open Mon-Fri 10:30 to 8:00. Saturdays from 12:00 to 5:00.
Thai & Chinese Express
2540 Main Street
Irvine, CA 92614