If you’ve been in living in the OC for a while, you will have surely noticed the growing culinary choices around. But when you’ve got picky eaters, it becomes a risk or an investment trying foods outside of their comfort zone: you could potentially shell out some serious cash only to find that they refuse to eat a single bite. So we understand that kid-friendly flavors, freshness, and accessibility are key in family dinner options. You’ll be glad to know that kids love noodles, especially curly ones they can fish for with their fingers and slurp away. That’s why we’ve rounded up 5 affordable noodle joints (including a vegan one!) that cook up savory broths and fresh noodles that the kids will want to add to their food repertoire.
This is a great spot to introduce Asian noodles to the little ones. It’s a vegan, Asian-inspired franchise that has been popping up all over the country. Even though it’s a franchise, you will find that each shop has it’s own menu offerings tailored to the tastes of that area. Everything is 100% vegan and plant based, which means you get all the taste without the animal fat. Order the crispy rolls or the springs rolls to whet your appetites. For the kids, order the regular pho without the jalapeño. The broth is rich, savory, and good for you. You’ll be even happier to find that the prices are affordable.
237 South Tustin Street
It’s a small ramen noodle shop located in a strip mall near Mitsuwa Marketplace that offers up authentic Japanese ramen noodles. Even though it’s a little small, the wait staff is friendly and the casual atmosphere is convenient enough for families. Order the kids the regular pork ramen and you might just order one bowl for two kids. Also order the gyozas that are basically fried dumplings. If the little ones aren’t feeling noodles that day, you can always order the fried rice. Be sure to bring cash only.
891 Baker Street
Costa Mesa, Ca
This chain ramen joint is probably one of the better-known ones in the area. The Costa Mesa location has been around for a while and has fed gazillions of families in its food court area. They recently opened a location in Irvine, and amazingly, the ramen noodles taste just as good without the crowdedness of the Costa Mesa one. Lots of parking and a spacious food court, Santouka is an ideal spot to grab a casual, quick dinner with the kids. Be sure to bring cash because they do not take credit cards.
14230 Culver Drive
665 Paularino Avenue
Costa Mesa, Ca
This spot is known for its fresh noodles made daily by its noodle artisans. The kids can catch the artisans at work kneading and crafting the noodles in the noodle room. Order the kids the udon noodles in either the Ten Zaru broth that has shrimp and vegetables or the udon noodles in the vegetable Ten Zaru. They also have gyoza (dumplings) for appetizers and the chicken teriyaki is a good choice for the kids as well.
8683 Irvine Center Drive
Located near University of California, Irvine, this popular joint is a favorite among the college kids. It has plenty of parking and there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. They have a great $5 children’s menu that includes some of the tastiest egg rolls around and a delicious well-done brisket pho.
5329 University Drive
Where does your family go for noodle slurping action?
All photos taken by sommyrhee.com!