Irvine- Yu’s Garden
5408 Walnut Ave
Irvine, CA 92604
While researching places to eat in Irvine, I came across Yu's Garden, a restaurant that is supposed to specialize in Taiwanese dishes. Boyfriend and I only had time for one meal in Irvine. Had it been up to me, I would have eaten at A&J Restaurant and then gone over to Yu's Garden for another meal. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), Boyfriend's metabolism doesn't work the same as mine, and so he vetoed the idea of eating two meals when we still had to meet our friends for dinner.
So I decided we would stop by Yu's Garden and get some food to go. Yu's features a very large menu, with really cheap prices. Almost everything I saw was under $10.
I really wanted to try some of these cooked dishes, especially their Beef Noodle Soup. Next time. In addition to a large menu, they also have a lot of ready-made dishes. Most of these dishes are side dishes or homestyle Taiwanese dishes. They have a take out special where it is $6.25 for a 3 item combo.
When we entered, we were immediately asked if we were getting take out or eating in. I think Yu's must have a lot of takeout business. Their ready-made dish selection is huge. And while I was there, a lot of dishes were still coming out.
There were so many dishes, it was really hard for me to choose just three! I ended up going with the beef tripe, salt water duck and meatballs with napa cabbage. You can choose either rice or porridge. I had read about this beforehand, so I was prepared. Or else I would have been quite surprised. I've never been to a place that offers porridge with dishes. The porridge has sweet yam pieces. This is something that my mom makes a lot at home. I always thought it was just something my mom did. I didn't realize it was a Taiwanese thing.
I thought the food was okay. The meatballs were slightly dry and the duck was a bit too salty. Nothing really stood out and next time I'll probably try three different items. I was a little disappointed with the quantity. For $6.25, it seems a bit small compared to other chinese combination meals. The rest of the menu looks so cheap (though I guess I don't know the quantity of those dishes), that this three item combo seems pricey in comparison.
I was actually disappointed with the porridge. Usually if you cook it with the yams, the porridge will take on a slightly sweet taste. This porridge didn't have any yam taste to it.
Yu's also serves shaved ice and tapioca drinks. The tapioca milk tea was buy one get one free, so Boyfriend and I got it. Boyfriend really loved the milk tea. It was super sweet and creamy. I guess it really depends on how you like your tea. If you like more tea taste, less sweet, then this is probably not for you. In Taiwan, the milk teas tend to be creamier/milkier, and are very sweet. This was how Yu's makes it.