Ten Great Rice Dishes in OC (and Long Beach)

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Edwin Goei
We've made a list of great sandwiches, even devoted an entire issue of our dead tree edition to notable noodle dishes, but what about rice? We often take it for granted because, well, because it's rice. But rice is essential, rice is good, rice is the giver of life and what makes these next ten dishes I list some of my favorite things to eat.

What's yours? Share them with the rest of the class in the comments, will you?

10. The Etouffee at The Attic

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Edwin Goei

The Attic's étouffée was nothing like the one I ate at Paul Prudhomme's K-Paul's in New Orleans more than 15 years ago. In that benchmark dish, rice is practically drowned with gravy thickened and colored by brown roux. The Attic's version is nearly dry, devoid of sauce, but it made up for it with so much tender shrimp and crawfish that I wonder if the Attic's ledgers weren't angry. I loved it, but also the rice, a mound as loose as sand, cooked tenderly, soaking up what little there was of the gravy and mingling with the seafood.

9. Nasi Campur at Indo Ranch

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Edwin Goei

Though they're now open for lunch, for the most part, deciding to eat from Indo Ranch still means take-out and reheating the food at home. Some dishes takes some prior experience to know what do with all those condiments and sauces they give you. But if they have nasi campur, there is no assembly required. Just know that what they call nasi campur today won't be the same as what they call nasi campur tomorrow. Since nasi means rice, and campur means combination, think of it as the special of the day. For sure there will be a bowl-formed domed of it sprinkled with fried shallots, and some pickles; but for the protein, it could be chicken or fish, cooked with curry spices, or just plain fried on the bone. If you're lucky, you may even get sambal telor, which is a deep-fried egg simmered in chili paste. The one constant, as it always is with Indonesian meals, is that rice, and you can't imagine eating any of the other dishes without it.

8. Beef Bowl at Yoshinoya Beef Bowl

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Edwin Goei

Yes, it's a chain, but in my opinion it's still the best bowl enterprise next to the NFL. Those salty, sweet and aromatic ribbons of sake-onion-and-soy simmered beef would be weird without the rice. And of course you need to ask for "extra juice", which simply means the fluffy grains will be doused with a ladle-full of the cooking liquid. And then there's this: you can ask for "extra skin" where they take the stripped off crispy chicken epidermis they might have thrown away and put it on top of your beef bowl, at no extra charge.

Location Info

Hen House Grill

18040 Culver Drive, Irvine, CA

Category: Restaurant

The Attic

3441 E. Broadway, Long Beach, CA

Category: Restaurant

Class 302 Taiwanese Cafe

18090 Culver Drive, Irvine, CA

Category: General

Indo Ranch

22722 Lambert St., Lake Forest, CA

Category: Restaurant

Baja Fish Tacos

3664 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, CA

Category: Restaurant

North Shore Poke Co.

214 5th St., Huntington Beach, CA

Category: Restaurant

Soy Tofu

4961 La Palma, La Palma, CA

Category: Restaurant

Surah Korean Restaurant

5333 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, CA

Category: General


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3 comments
ATran
ATran

The Yoshinoya on Harbor and Trask told me it was "impossible" to add extra skin. Can you help??

Lovepersianfood
Lovepersianfood

I can't believe the restaurant recommended for the persian rice and kabob.  The food is not good, expensive and service is not hospitable.  Try Luna Grill at Spectrum or the kabob place in the spectrum food court, both are top quality for meat, rice and service!  If you want fancy fo to Darya at South Coast Plaza village.  Even the mediterranean place in University Center is way better. 

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

Baja Fish Tacos has to be one on the best $7-$8 meals you can get in the entire county.  

As if that's not enough, the atmosphere at the Bristol Street location is always convivial, and the cleanliness and decor is always as comforting as the food.  


It speaks volumes that when Chipotle opened across the street circa 2006, Baja Fish Tacos didn't skip a beat...it continues to have an endlessly steady volume of customers and an occupied dining room and patio which always burst out to the parking lot curb. 


Side note: the black beans (not pictured) are excellent. 

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