S and I recently took a “food trip” to Irvine/LA with our friend A. We first stopped by a couple of places in Irvine – Four Sea Restaurant, which serves up authentic Taiwanese breakfast. I’ve posted on it before, and was really excited to visit again.My number one reason for loving this place? The rice peanut milk, which is made by grinding pre-soaked rice and roasted peanuts into a powder and mixing with water. The end result is a smooth, creamy, nutty drink. If you’ve never had rice peanut milk before, definitely try it when you get a chance. A ordered the salty soy milk, which is soy milk with you tiao (fried cruller), chives, and chili oil. I’m not a huge fan of salty soy milk, but she really enjoyed it. The fried daikon cake (I think it’s actually usually called turnip cake) is S’s favorite item here – the turnip cake has a nice and crispy exterior and really flavorful. All of us really enjoyed it here. Unlike the Cantonese version of this dish, Taiwanese turnip cake doesn’t usually have fillings, but that’s the way he likes it. While egg crêpes are one of my favorite items in Taiwanese breakfast, we didn’t like the version here. While the fillings were nice – fried egg with chives and a generous portion of pork sung – the crêpe itself wasn’t browned enough and was missing the crispiness. Perhaps their griddle wasn’t hot enough that day, or it just wasn’t cooked for long enough.
My other favorite item here is the sticky rice roll:I was initially really embarrassed to post this photo – I have these two stuffed koalas which are really cute, and I brought them along to try and pose with some of my food photos… haha. Anyway, the sticky rice roll was really yummy – I love the generous amount of fillings, which include a fried cruller, pork sung, fried egg, and pickled vegetables. The only problem was that it falls apart easily so you have to unwrap it as you eat. Still, though, this is definitely my favorite item here besides the rice peanut milk.
Check out my previous post on Four Sea here.
Four Sea Restaurant
15435 Jeffrey Rd, Irvine CA 92618
Our next stop was a short drive away, in another strip mall in Irvine – the newly opened Taiwan Popcorn Chicken:
The place is a pretty authentic Taiwanese “deep-fried food” cafe – although in Taiwan, it would typically be a food stand instead of a restaurant. There is a large display case with all the things that they can fry for you:
As you can see, most of these things have already been fried once, and is fried again before serving. There is a little sheet of paper where you mark what you want (not pictured). We chose the pork blood rice cake (米雪糕), “tenpura” fish cake (甜不辣), and green beans (to be healthy… haha not really).
I quickly realized that there wasn’t a flattering way to take a picture of this… in true Taiwanese street food manner, there are no plates – everything is served in a paper bag inside of a plastic bag, and you get a couple of skewers to eat your food. I really liked the fried “tenpura” (甜不辣), which isn’t like Japanese tempura at all but made out of fish cake. The pork blood rice cake (米雪糕) is made with pork blood mixed with sticky rice, which is S’s favorite. The seasoning used here is quite simple – just salt and pepper – but it was fried nicely and tasted good. This will definitely become a regular stop for future road trips, I can tell.
Taiwan Popcorn Chicken
15333 Culver Dr, Irvine, CA 92604