Sunday, October 07, 2007

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
(949) 651-8899
15333 Culver Dr.
Irvine, CA 92604


At 3:35 PM, Blogger Chubbypanda said...

It's probably a good thing that I don't have time to get a Chinese street breakfast more often. So much sweet, delicious lard...

At 5:40 PM, Blogger dumplings said...

I have tried the breakfast at this 99 Ranch location. I don't particularly appreciate the exaggerated flavors they put inside the flaky pastries and the pancakes. There is also way too much flour. Thus probably explains the cheap deal.
I enjoy the the one at Champion Food located in Fountain Valley. Champion Food offers more variety and authenticity for a higher price. But nothing beats a roasted beef wrapped in pancake made on the spot by Taiwanese moms in the back kitchen, along with a bowl of hot salty soy soup.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Deb said...

As ALL sounds good! Curious if you've been to Champion Food (suggested by dumplings).

At 6:05 AM, Blogger Juliet said...

I wish we had a 99 Ranch here! Hua Xing comes pretty darn close, but it needs a food court. 99 Ranch should open shop here in Michigan. There are a lot of empty spaces to fill now that the Farmer Jack chain has closed.

At 7:47 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Lard is right! Yummo!


I had no idea about Champion. I *must* check this out! I'm actually surprised to discover from your comment that Fountain Valley actually has a Chinese restaurant (I thought everything around there was Vietnamese)...double the pleasure if it also does a proper Chinese breakfast! Thanks for the tip.


I haven't been to Champion, but from the sounds of it, I must go!


We're lucky in Irvine to have two within two miles of each other. It's actually a bit monopolistic!

At 11:40 AM, Blogger Passionate Eater said...

Haha, a Stonehill Tavern post followed up by post on 99 Ranch?!? Only you could pull this off with such ease! ;)

At 9:11 PM, Blogger Kathy YL Chan said...

Whoa, I loooove that picture! 99 Ranch is probably the place I miss the most in SoCal, all that fooood and at pretty darn good prices too! :)

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Nguyen Duong said...

the round sesame balls with the sweet mung bean inside is a vietnamese treat that i've enjoyed since i was a kid. it's called "banh cam" (literally translated as orange cake). get 'em while there hot and crispy right out of the fryer and then let 'em wrap in a paper towel to soak up some of that greasy goodness from the fryer.

At 8:45 PM, Blogger food makes me happy said...

Breakfast sounds good, especially during weekends...
But...That's like the only time I can get a chance to sleep soundly without that annoying alarm clock.

At 10:38 PM, Blogger dumplings said...


There are a few very authentic ethnic restaurants around this area. You probably read the OC Weekly's Best of 2007, the best Chinese restaurant is actually located in Westminster.

I posted a few places for you to try in your Robata Yakitori entry. Another place I would add, if you enjoy Japanese style table-top BBQ, would be Tsuruhashi located on Brookhurst Street (next to Jurassic Zoo). Let me know what you think. Good eating!

At 11:20 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Actually it was an easy transition to make -- Stonehill was truly a go-for-broke meal, literally!


That picture *did* come out nice didn't it? Pat myself on the back for that one. Sometimes I get lucky.


Yum! You know, I don't think I tried that one. I will next time though.


You and me both. Luckily, I got up early enough just to do this post. And I made it just in time. The breakfast ends at around noon or so (I think).


Oh sure, Westminster, Garden Grove has awesome Chinese restaurants. I've eaten in most of them. I just I didn't realize that there were any in Fountain Valley. But you're right, FV's treasures are many - Tsuruhashi, Kasen, Shinsengumi, Kappo Honda to mention a few. And HAHA! *WINK* Yes, I *DID* read the OC Weekly 2007 Best Of List!

At 9:14 AM, Blogger KirkK said...

Mmmmm sure beats the pants off those Egg Mc-somethings...

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Sam said...

I love roasted beef wrapped in shao bing. Could you post the cross street of Champion food



At 11:14 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


You said it. If you're going to start your morning gorging on grease and carbs, why waste it on an Egg McMuffin...make it a "you tiao" with hot soy milk.


To get the info out there (Dumplings will have to forgive me if I get this wrong), but the address for Champion is:

Champion Food Co
17090 Magnolia St,
Fountain Valley
(714) 841-0398

At 12:32 AM, Blogger dumplings said...


That is the right address. While you are there, Wei's is right next door. Try there for lunch or dinner. Hope the food is enjoyable.

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Rasa Malaysia said...

I love their dim breakfast food too...especially these little sesame-crusted round pie thingy, one with salty filling and another with sweet...soooo good. They run out fast though.

At 8:50 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


It's on the top of my list!

Rasa Malaysia,

They sure do. Early bird gets the sesame crusted buns!

At 9:59 AM, Blogger e d b m said...

When I was in Taiwan, i looked forward to waking up to breakfast at Yung Ho Do Jiang (hot soy milk). There are 2 locations i think in Socal. They'd have delicious scallion pancakes with a fried egg on top... and for the heavy hitters, you can get a scallion pancake wrapped around a fried cruller.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


A scallion pancake wrapped around a fried cruller?! Now that's insane. But I bet it'll be even be greater with bacon.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger brekkie_fan said...

So I remembered your post yesterday as I drove home from spin. Waited 30+ minutes for some scallion pancake and pork-filled flaky pastry. So much better when you are exhausted and hungry beyond belief. Thanks!

At 12:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Job! :)


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