2730 Alton Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92614
I've been wanting to try Guppy House for a while. On my last Irvine visit, I got a glimpse of the interior with all of the fish tanks, a glance at enormous bowls of shaved ice, and a quick view of the menu. I finally got a chance to try Guppy House recently.
The chain does not exist in San Diego, but I would say it is very similar to the Tea Station chain we do have in San Diego. It's a small restaurant, featuring boba drinks, shaved ice, and some simple food dishes. However, unlike the food at Tea Station, which I find to be overpriced and not very good, the food at Guppy House is actually decent. Not amazing. But surprisingly decent, with huge quantities for a relatively inexpensive price.
When we were first seated, we were given a pitcher of ice water. I like this idea because I hate having empty water glasses, which seems to happen a lot when I go to restaurants.
Boyfriend and I saw some people with fried rice plates that looked really good, so we ordered the fried rice. There were so many options, we decided to just go for the just fried rice.
The plate of rice was huge. It was served with some pickled cucumbers. The rice had a strong flavor of soy sauce, but was pretty tasty. It could easily feed four people. I noticed that a lot of tables ordered the pineapple fried rice. Served in a pineapple shell, heaped very high with rice, I will try that one next time.
We also ordered the dine-in special combo. It's crispy chicken, coconut brick toast and a small shaved ice for $20. We asked for the brick toast and shaved ice to come after our main meal. The crispy chicken was bigger than I thought it would be. Definitely more chicken than in a crispy chicken meal from Tapioca Express.
I didn't particularly like the chicken though, and I usually like crispy chicken. I felt like I didn't really taste any chicken. Only batter.
Finally, dessert. First came the brick toast:
The presentation was beautiful. And the toast was so thick! I didn't care too much for the taste though. It was coconut flavored with chocolate sauce. And the combination just ended up being way too sweet. It didn't taste like bread anymore, but more like a very, very sweet cake.
And of course, the most anticipated dish of the night: the shaved ice. I noticed while we were eating, that virtually everyone got the shaved ice, no matter how big or small the group. Obviously, it's a popular item here. Our dinner combination came with a "small" shaved ice.
There is nothing small about this shaved ice. It is big enough for a group of about 6 people to share. Guppy House also offers larger sizes, and one super size with a ton of toppings. I can't even imagine what it looks like. We got ours with mango. There was so much mango on it! I saw others with bananas, strawberries. So much fresh fruit. I felt bad for the person in the back in charge of cutting up all this fresh fruit. The ice was flavored with lots of condensed milk instead of the sugar water that some places use. I love the condensed milk. Shaved ice just doesn't taste the same without it. I think next time maybe I'll add ice cream too. Boyfriend and I didn't even come close to finishing. In fact, we didn't even get level with the bowl.
I do wish that Guppy House would offer some of the traditional toppings you find in Taiwan for shaved ice like sweet rice balls, taro balls, grass jelly, etc. I can't seem to find that anywhere in the US. Most of the toppings were fresh fruit, red bean, taro paste, and I don't remember what else. I have learned to like the fresh fruit toppings. The ice was also good. Not too chunky and it did not melt fast. In fact, ours barely melted at all while we were eating it. And there was just enough condensed milk to flavor all of the ice. Definitely one of the better shaved ice experiences I've had in the US.
I was also impressed with the service. At Tea Station, the waiters are never around. At Guppy House, the waitresses checked on us often.
Overall: pretty good experience. If you are interested in eating at a tapioca place, I would recommend Guppy House.