Taiwanese Restaurant Face-Off

The new branch of Ay-Chung Noodle is going head to head with fellow Taiwanese joint Nice Time Deli in Irvine, says elmomonster.

After ordering at the counter (if there’s a crowd you’ll have to take a number, but they’ll assign you a table), food comes out pretty quickly. The restaurant’s most popular dish is its house special thin noodle, a bowl of angel-hair-fine wheaten noodles in a cornstarch-thickened soup punched up with garlic, bonito, cinnamon and star anise. “The noodles, by contrast, were rough and sturdy; like denim to the soup’s silk.”

Fried crispy squid is basically what’s known elsewhere as squid in spicy salt–deep-fried and dusted with white pepper, salt, and other spices. It’s greaseless and tender.

Chinese sausage rice is substantial for the price ($5.25). Shorn pieces of sweet lap cheung, soy-sauce boiled egg, and tofu come atop a mound of steamed rice doused with some of the broth the tofu was cooked in.

Disappointing: dry, overcooked shrimp pancake (in a batter of rice flour and beaten egg) and house special steak, which is gristly, chewy, and blanketed in something like watered-down Ragu. Still, there are 119 more items on the menu. House special noodles are $3.50; house special steak is $7.95; other dishes are in between.

Ay-Chung Rice Noodle [South OC]
formerly Bin Bin Konjac
5406 Walnut Ave. #C, Irvine
949-651-1180
Map

Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle [San Gabriel Valley]
140 W. Valley Blvd. #208, San Gabriel
626-280-7099
Map

Nice Time Deli [South OC]
in 99 Ranch Plaza
5408 Walnut Ave., #A, Jeffrey Irvine
949-654-8542
Map

Board Links: Ay-Chung Noodle–Irvine–A Review w/ Photos