Thursday, July 30, 2020

Take-Out Review: Zankou Chicken's Kabob Combo Plate

I’d eat Zankou’s kabob combo plate every day if I could. It’s a meal I’m always in the mood for; a meal that doesn’t make me feel like crap after I eat it.

In this Styrofoam box is everything I need and nothing I don’t. There’s karmic balance in its components. Every texture, taste, and temperature complement each other so that not one thing dominates. Because of this, there’s no chance of flavor fatigue.

And when Zankou’s chefs season or marinate, the seasoning or marinade doesn’t overwhelm the essence of the main ingredient.

What I get, then, is shish taouk that tastes like the very best BBQ’d chicken can be, every morsel juicy and rimmed with charred crispy edges.

The chicken, in turn, elevates the rice, which is as fluffy as it is moist, especially when I smoosh the roasted tomato into it, releasing a torrent of juice that almost turns it into an entirely new dish.

Together with the sides--the raw crunch of the cucumber salad that plays against the silken base-notes of the hummus--and the condiments that include the high-octave zing of Zankou’s famous toum, the free-if-you-ask-for-it radish pickles, and sumac-dusted sliced onions, everything exists in perfect harmony--utopia on a plate.

Zankou Chicken
2424 W Ball Rd
Anaheim, CA 92804

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Take-Out Review: Thai Nakorn

What does Thai Nakorn do to its food to make it so good? Is it some secret technique? A well-seasoned wok? A particular seasoning? Incantations sung during a full moon?

Whatever it is, there must be a reason why every Thai dish I try to make at home can never taste as good as theirs.

The pad see ew recipe I stir-fried after researching just the right kind of soy sauces to use? It lacked their flavor.

The nam sod I carefully assembled with what I thought were the same exact ingredients? It was missing their je ne sais quoi.

On the latter, I actually did a side-by-side taste test of their nam sod with the one I made from scratch (see my version in the second picture). Their nam sod still won by a wide margin, even though it was from two-day-old leftovers and cold.

This is why I hope Thai Nakorn survives these trying times and why I continue to support it by getting my Thai food take-out there. If they go away, those secrets go with it.

Thai Nakorn
12532 W Garden Grove Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Take-Out Review: Hoedoepbap at Misoya - Garden Grove

Psst...You like poke? Chirashi? Bibimbap? If so, you’re going to love hoedoepbap. It’s as if all three entered a teleportation machine, got merged molecularly and came out the other side looking like Jeff Goldblum.

No, not Jeff Goldblum in The Fly; Jeff Goldblum in Thor Ragnarok—a hyper-colorized and heightened version of Jeff Goldblum who eats up every scene he’s in.

He’s what I liken hoedoepbap to. It is rainbow-hued, charming, and you love it because it’s more fun than anything else in the room.

Think of a poke bowl but spicier, sweeter and more garlicky. Picture chirashi but with crunchy vegetables. Imagine the Korean sesame-oil scented aroma of a bibimbap, but with chilled pieces of raw fish instead of beef.

Hoedoepbap is all these things together, and at Misoya in Garden Grove, it is on special right now for $7.99, which, I don’t have to tell you, is cheaper than most chirashis, pokes, and bibimbaps.

And the take-out price includes a miso soup, as if this Jeff Goldblum of dishes even needed a sidekick.

8893 W Garden Grove Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92844