When I first started coming to Sam Woo, it was like an oasis in the middle of an Asian restaurant desert known as Irvine. I remember liking the food, but back then, my family usually ended up going to Westminster if we wanted to family style Chinese food. Recently, every time I’ve come to eat, I find myself really loving the food not necessarily because it tastes any better than it used to, but living in the Bay Area has been like living in a Chinese cuisine, specifically Cantonese, desert so trying to find really satisfying Hong Kong Style Chow Mein and BBQ Noodle Soup is no easy task. There surely are options but none of them seem to make me lick my lips in satisfaction the way it does at Sam Woo BBQ. Don’t get me wrong, there are probably better places in So Cal than Sam Woo BBQ, but when you factor in distance, cost and convenience this place wins, hands down, and to top it off, the Twin Tornadoes love the food!
The wonton noodle soup seems so simple, but I couldn’t help but notice how much better tasting this was compared to your average bowl. The juicy, shrimp filled wontons are delicious but it’s the very thin yet subtly firm chewiness of the noodles that I particularly enjoyed.
Noodles and broth are similar to the wonton noodles, but the BBQ pork and duck are really tasty, albeit fatty. These BBQ meats really are the highlight there.
Next to french fries and chicken nuggets, this might be my next guilty pleasure. This probably isn’t as good here, but I still love the crispy crunchiness of the egg noodles and how the slurpy sauce eventually softens them up. Yum!
I equally love my flat rice noodles, and these are succulent and satisfying. There is a subtle wok-fried flavor that makes it even more tasty.
Admittedly, this place doesn’t hold back on the oil. I can attest that the shiny gloss of the pictures is au natural and completely untouched. That was always what my parents were worried about when we were growing so I always found myself craving this food. Just goes to show we like what we like.
Sam Woo BBQ Express
15333 Culver Dr #720
Irvine, CA 92606
PAFO Ratings for Sam Woo BBQ Express:
Ambiance 2½ stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 3½ stars