Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ROC - Fukada

I've been coming to Fukada for years ever since I first came to Orange County. The udon, soba and somen are made by hand in house. Most people, especially first timers, get the noodle combo where you choose which noodle you want and then how you want it served as in a hot, umami-loaded soup or cold with a shoyu-based dipping sauce (Tsuyu). Next, you choose what topping you want of either  Sansai (mountain vegetables) or Tanuki (fried batter). They have other toppings but they're additional in cost. Also, it comes with a small donburi (rice bowl) of either pork katsu (Pork cutlet in egg), curry, eel (an additional cost), chicken katsu, or spicy tuna with either brown or white rice. This combo is around $10 with the price rising a couple bucks more for dinner which makes Fukada a popular lunch spot. However, Fukada has other amazing items on their menu especially if you've been having the combo too many times.

After coming for years many times, I feel that I should highlight another amazing dish of theirs: Giant Shrimp (more like prawn) Ten Zaru Udon. After watching the Japanese Drama "Attention Please", I would always want to order it as the main heroine, played by the pretty and talented Aya Ueto, would always eat it, although with soba instead of udon, after work in the show (http://wiki.d-addicts.com/Attention_Please). This dish that I would order first comes the cold udon or soba (depending on what you've ordered) in a wicker bowl with nori (seaweed) strips on top along with the shoyu-based dipping sauce, wasabi and finely-chopped green onion. Next, they would bring out a dish that has these two very large prawn tempura along with vegetable tempura of eggplant, asparagus, lotus root, yam, and potato. The prawns were fried perfectly with the batter of being very crispy along with the shrimp cooked at the right point where it's not dry and tough. Those prawns, along with the vegetable tempura that were also perfectly fried, were so delicious. By only two dollars more expensive over the combo, what I don't understand is why don't more people go for this instead as the quality of the tempura far exceeds the increased price difference. This dish of Fukada should deserve much more recognition as I've had friends order this dish and loved it. When they came back for future visits, they would order that over the noodle combo that everyone else orders. See it for yourself on how delicious the Giant Shrimp Ten Zaru Udon is:

If you're in the mood for noodles in hot broth instead, I would recommend the Seafood Nabeyaki. I opted for udon instead of soba as my noodle choice. Boiled in Fukada's soup; scallops, salmon, tofu, shiitake mushrooms, spinich, a tempura shrimp (smaller thank the prawn served with the Ten-Zaru Soba), and other vegetables are added in order to bring out their flavors. They build on to the original brothy soup adding more of a seafood character to it. They would serve it, along with a separate smaller bowl for eating out of, in a clay pot it was boiled in. This dish was of course very delicious. It really warms you up on those few rainy days by the beach in Orange County.

Fukada also has many other noodle items with different toppings along with appetizers. On one of my other visits, I ordered an Albacore Tataki served with an onion dressing, Oroshi (Grated Radish) Udon served with Tsuyu, and some Hotate (Scallop) Tempura. Be that as it may that the Albacore Tataki is not one of the more traditional dishes served at Fukada, it was very delicious and a great way to start the meal. When the Oroshi Udon was served, I mixed the Oroshi with the Udon before applying it into my cup filled with tsuyu, negi, and wasabi (I've heard later that wasabi didn't go well with oroshi as they're both radishes). This noodle preparation was, of course, amazing along with it being refreshing and full of flavor while not making you feel groggy instead. If you're very health conscious, I would recommend Oroshi Udon served cold. Next came the Hotate Tempura: it was fried to the right point and with it not being overly oily as typical with American fried seafood. With tempura dipping sauce on the side along with some oroshi and grated ginger, I would mix them together in the sauce plate and then dip my tempura into them before savoring it. The scallop was very delicious and juicy as I had mentioned it was cooked to the right point. In addition to the food, I have to mention that their house-made lemonade (barely pictured with the tempura) is very tasty and refreshing. If you're not having an alcoholic beverage, I definitely suggest to try it out; you'll be hooked!

Fukada is a great spot for authentic, freshly-made, Japanese noodles along if you're too looking for a healthy meal as well. I'm aware that due to the value, most people usually opt for the combination specials. However, if you're looking to try something more exciting in which you'll definitely stand out from the rest, order was was written in this review and you'll surely be impressed with what else Fukada has to offer!
Fukada on Urbanspoon

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