From a close friend:
Recently been enjoying beef tendon only pho. Looking to kick up the tendon experience. Have
you had any beef tendon salads in OC? Looking for that Chinese dish,
but hopefully there are variants in other ethnic foods.
Ah, tendon: that slippery, tender band that Asians adore, Latinos cook, and most everyone else throws away.
Tendon is most often found 'round these parts inside pho, but it also appears in other forms. The Chinese also put it in their beef soups, as do the Thais–Bangkok Taste in SanTana makes a great beef tendon soup, large and spewing steam–but you're looking for a different dish than soup. Honda-Ya in Tustin sometimes has it, but I rarely go there anymore as I'm done with the days of waiting in line for an hour at a place just minutes away from Dosa Place.
Want good tendon? Go back to the Chinese, specifically to what they translate as sliced beef tendon (Dave knows the real names, multilingual cabrón that he is). The Taiwanese-style A N J Restaurant slathers theirs with a garlic sauce, creating a sensation akin to slicing through extra-thick noodles. But I like my tendon as blistering as possible, and the capital of the hot stuff in Chinese OC is Chong Qing Mei Wei, just across Walnut Street. Here, they sluice it with chili oil, which the tendons absorb. You can also order tendon chilled as an appetizer.
Chong Qing Mei Wei, 5406 Walnut Ave., Ste. C, Irvine, (949) 651-8886; also at 22371 El Toro Rd., Ste. A, Lake Forest, (949) 380-8869.
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