On The Line: Wing Lam of Wahoo's Fish Taco, Part Three

Categories: On the Line
Photo by Meranda Carter

What else can we say about Wahoo's co-founder Wing Lam that we haven't already covered? How about that he's teaching at both Chapman and Concordia Universities (this fall and winter, respectively.)? A man that can often be found on his company's taco truck serving the locals, he inspires anyone wanting to dream big. We conclude this week's On The Line with Wahoo's signature dish. For all the good stuff you haven't already ingested, drop by parts one and two.

Wahoo's Fish Taco
Serves 4


1/2 pound mahi mahi fish fillets
8 corn tortillas
4 ounces salsa
2 ounces cabbage, shredded
1 ounce cheese (Jack or cheddar), shredded
2 limes, quartered
Garlic salt
Cilantro (optional)


Season fillets with a pinch of garlic salt.

Grill each side over medium heat until done. Divide into 4 portions.

Heat tortillas in pan and keep warm.

Fill tortillas with fish and top with cheese, cabbage and salsa. In the restaurant, the tacos are made using a double layer of corn tortillas. Alternatively, you can divide the filling evenly between all 8 tortillas to make 2 tacos per serving that contain less filling per taco.

Garnish with lime and cilantro.

Fish Taco.jpg
Photo courtesy of Wahoo's

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Wahoo CEO sets low standard for customer service.


My wife and I paid over $800 to have Wahoo's cater our July 4th Party.  When we opened up the various containers we realized that all of the carnitas meat (1/3 of the meat that we ordered) was missing!  It was an embarrassing situation to occur in front of 100+ guests and we were not able to fully feed our guests. 


To add insult to injury, when we complained about the situation to Wahoo's they acted like they did nothing wrong and treated us like we made the whole thing up!  In fairness to them, someone at corporate offered us a $150 credit toward a future catering order.  We very politely wrote back saying we should be refunded on a pro-rata basis for what we didn't receive and perhaps some consideration for our inconvenience and embarrassment.  Two weeks later, after no response, I reached out to the CEO of Wahoo's via Linkedin.  He responded as follows:


     I have spoken to Ellen Orbe , my best franchise operator about the incident. she personally took care of your order , made sure that everything was delivered , gave out her cell and email for contact purpose and no one ever reached out to her about the incident . She is my right hand person for the last 5 years , we just did the California Junior Lifeguard Championships ( 2500 kids ) and are catering the Irvine Company annual meeting for 1,500 employees . she has never missed a single catering with or without me , and her father who is in charge of franchising has already given you some compensation , which is way more than I would offer . so please let me know if you need any further assistance.


Wow!  Where did this CEO learn about customer service?  Apparently his people are so good that they never make mistakes.  In fact, what little they did offer us in compensation is way more than he would have offered!


His facts are in error as Ms. Orbe did not deliver our order nor did she provide her cell phone.  My wife only met with her one time when she was originally exploring having Wahoo's cater our event.  She placed the order at a later date with an employee named Zack.  We had no way to get in touch with anyone on the day of the delivery (July 4th) as the local Wahoo's store was closed.  Roger (who delivered the order) never gave us his cell phone.  We brought this matter to his attention the very next day when we returned the catering boxes to Wahoo's and he wrote down our name and phone number for follow up. 

Given our experience, the poor response, and the attitude that somehow we're wrong about this situation doesn't really incentivize us to consider using Wahoo's for future catering.  For us, it's not about the money, it's the principle.  We expected to be treated fairly and that there might be some ownership and consideration for the fact that we were unable to fully feed our guests which would be upsetting for any customer. 


Organizations typically set the standard for customer service from the top down.  To have a CEO respond to a customer complaint this way is indeed shameful.  Moral to the story - make sure you open up all the food containers before allowing the delivery person to leave the scene and don't count on companies to understand what good customer service is all about.

Joel S
Joel S

I have always found Wahoo's food consistant and tasty.  The employees are always kind and service oriented, and I think Wing is a great guy and am always glad to give this comapny my business.  I've seen him at a bunch of charity events dishing out Wahoo's chow, which is consistantly donated.  I know he gives thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars away both in food and dead presidents.  

This world needs more people like Wing Lam.

I'm off my soapbox


Next time, you can also pry the secret recipe of Taco Bell's Soft Taco as well. After all, its an OC based food business as well with HQ in Irvine.

Cunning Stunts
Cunning Stunts

Isn't there some kinda secret creamy sauce? This seems like giving out the recipe for In-N-Out Burgers and saying "get a hamburger patty, put it in a bun with sauce spread on it. Top with some lettuce, tomato, and a slice of onion.


Wasn't started in OC and is not the same type of institution, pendejo!

Anne Marie
Anne Marie

I did ask about the salsa previously, and they did not elaborate. The word that was probably implied (but never said) was proprietary. Maybe they should've shared a banzai bowl instead.


I assumed it was implied to use Tostitos Chunky Salsa.



So, you really think Wahoo makes some of the best food in Orange County which is what I thought this blog was supposed to be about? Or, that Wahoo makes the best fish tacos in Orange County?

Frankly, I've tended to ignore your non-culinary postings because I found it odious the way you painted Orange County with this broad brush as being racist. But, I used to read your food columns because I thought you had a certain level of taste, certainly better than the OC Weekly's restaurant reviewer. But, if you're going to say Wahoo serves some of the best food in Orange County...


Wing has polarized a few people in OC. Me thinks we found one.

*Better than Ribio's.....


Yes, I was a pendejo, ie idiot, because I thought that this blog was highlighting the best food of Orange County. 

But, with this interview, its clear that what you're really celebrating are local businesses, regardless of their culinary excellence.

That's why I suggested you guys interview Taco Bell next time. Taco Bell was founded in San Berdino, but its HQ is in Irvine and so I would argue that makes it a local business as well.

So, if Taco Bell was founded in Irvine, are you saying that Taco Bell would be the next place interviewed?

Otherwise, explain why Taco Bell and Wahoo are differnet types of institutions- they're both fast food chains that serve mediocre food.

Is it because Wahoo has all that surf stickers on their windows and somehow that makes them more 'authentic'?


If you think Wahoo's sells bad food, then you're a pendejo times two.

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