101 noodles express / irvine – orange county, ca

I had a quick trip up to Orange County recently and my dad let me pick a place for us to have lunch at. I love when people let me pick the place (and the food) and I wanted to try something that we couldn’t get a whole lot of down here in San Diego – namely, delicious dumplings! I scouted around on Yelp and on a few other food blogger’s sites and ended up reading Kirbie’s post about 101 Noodles Express and decided that’s where I wanted to go for lunch.

This place is pretty conveniently located right off of I-5. The restaurant is small and tucked into the corner of a pretty packed shopping center with a few other Asian restaurants and shops. There’s a clipboard outside that serves as the waiting list and you just write your name in and wait to be called. We didn’t have to wait too long before being seated.

[beef roll – $7.45]

I made sure to order the beef roll that Kirbie had so raved about in her post. You get two pretty hefty looking rolls that sort of look like a burrito but cut into manageable, quartered pieces. It’s got slices of beef with tons of onion, cilantro and other goodies tucked into it and all wrapped together to form a pretty pinwheel-like package. This tasted very fresh and bright from all of the seasonings packed into it and the beef had a nice flavor to it as well. I dug it!

[cilantro-jalapeno side condiment]

This little jar of stuff is on all of the tables. It’s a condiment made with cilantro and jalapeno. I put a little daub onto my beef roll and it did kind of kick up the flavor a bit. I consider it to be for “oomphing” purposes. Did I really just say “oomphing purposes?

Yeah, I guess I did.

I didn’t think the beef roll really needed the condiment and while I didn’t dislike it, I did kind of prefer it without. To each their own!

[dan dan (minced pork) with hand torn noodles $6.99 / regular noodles – $5.99]

My dad and I were sitting at a long table shared by another group and my dad noticed this dish and he asked them what it was. We decided it was tasty looking enough that we ought to order it, too. You can get either regular noodles or hand torn noodles for a dollar more. I’ve never seen “hard torn noodles” on a menu before so I had to try it!

[hand torn noodles closeup]

These noodles had a very distinctive chew that I really, really enjoyed. The minced pork was delicious. My dad thought it needed a dollop of soy sauce but I liked it as-is. It was so simple but so delicious. The pork covered the noodles and coated them really well – I think I could eat this all of the time.

Continue reading “101 noodles express / irvine – orange county, ca”