99 Ranch Chinese Breakfast - Irvine
Breakfast. Who eats breakfast nowadays? Time is precious when you're about to get ready for work. Weekends, of course, are a different story. Saturdays and Sundays are the only time that breakfast can be properly enjoyed. Although I love me my pancakes and bacon, nothing quite hits the spot on a weekend morning like a Chinese breakfast. And I don't mean dim sum.
Dim sum is a long, drawn out affair -- a fancy and elaborate sit down meal to savor. The typical Chinese breakfast, on the other hand, is consumed like fast food. Understandable, since it's usually sold by street vendors in China. Bowls of hot soy milk is slurped with salty, deep fried crullers. Things doughy, fried, baked and steamed are designed to stuff the belly for not much more than pocket change.
But where can Orange County's proletariat get such food?
A few restaurants, like A&J in Irvine offers it, but faster and cheaper still is the spread that 99 Ranch Supermarket puts out. And Saturday mornings for me (if I can get up early enough) are well-spent noshing on their grub.
Steam tables and heat lamps pulsate over a myriad of ready-to-pluck goodies, sold for no more than a buck each. Some are as cheap as thirty-cents a piece.
Stout cylinders of flaky pastry crumble to reveal a savory filling of julienned turnip -- others are stuffed with chicken curry and sugary Chinese BBQ pork. Floppy discs of doughy, oniony pancakes have dozens of crepe-like layers. Egg rolls crunch with 5-spice-seasoned pork. Chewy gyoza dumplings are browned on their undersides. And encrusted with sesame seeds are two kinds of oval flatbreads: one is savory and salty, another is sweet.
If only I had the time to get a bite during the weekday morning rush to the office.
99 Ranch Market
15333 Culver Dr.
Irvine, CA 92604