Did you know that many Asian markets have awesome food courts? Take the kids and visit Mitsuwa Marketplace and eat at the Asian food court. There are two Mitsuwa Japanese markets in Orange County, the larger one is in Costa Mesa and the smaller one is in Irvine. We often go to the mini food court that is at the Irvine Mitsuwa location simply because it is closer to home, but the Costa Mesa location has a much wider variety. First, let’s start with the market. So many options with snacks and already prepared items. This is one of our favorite places to stop to grab a quick picnic lunch; or you can grab something and bring it into the food court to eat.
The back of the store has a array of pre packaged items such as fresh sushi and rolls, rice dishes with teriyaki meats, katsu (panko encrusted and fried cutlets of chicken or pork), or tempura. There are noodle salad kits and seaweed salad too. Grab a beverage from the refrigerated section. The Japanese green or jasmine teas cold teas are top quality. The snack aisle is fun to walk through with so many yummy crunchy chips, rice cakes, and treats. Look for the packages of fresh soft mochi with red beans. They are so soft, mildly sweet and delicious. But now let’s head over to the main attraction: the food court. If you have ever been to Asia, you know that the food court at the mall or market is insanely good. Now, this does not compare, but it is darn good. First, the ramen vendor, Santouka, serves some of the best ramen around. The salt broth ramen is the perfect bowl of ramen in its simplicity: salty and earthy with noodles that are still firm to the bite, slices of pork belly, bamboo shoots, and seaweed. You can order small, medium, or large bowls: the combo comes with a small bowl of rice either with small cubed pork belly, salmon roe, or sticky Japanese beans; and a side of soy sauce hard boiled egg. A large combo bowl is easily sharable for the kiddos. Ask for additional bowls. If you prefer a little zing, the spicy miso ramen is also very good. There is a bento box vendor with great combos of rice, soup, tempura, grilled fish, udon, and beef or chicken bowls. Plenty to choose from for even the pickiest eaters. Check out the soft serve ice cream at the bakery. The green tea soft serve is so fragrant and creamy: the perfect treat to end the meal! There are many other food options at both locations so we encourage you to take the family and check it out.
We would love to hear about your favorite food courts! Any hidden gems tucked away inside markets?