I’ve eaten fish and chips too many times to count. I’ve eaten it on four continents, so to say I know my fish and chips is an understatement. I’ve eaten it in Britain where it originated from, at little take-out shops and in Australia where it was brought there by the Brits. I’ve had it in Hong Kong made by Brits at the famous Harry Ramsden’s and of course, here in the United States.
Thing is, I’ve not had much luck finding seriously good fish and chips here in north America. There are the fast food variety — Long John Silver and H Salt — and then there are those served at restaurants.
Lola Gaspar used to do one — didn’t like the thick batter. Haven Gastropub does one as well — again, thick batter sometimes soggy. The Crow Bar does one with malt vinegar batter making the coating crunchy but very dark and burnt looking. Although I love fish and chips, I rarely order it because I am not always happy with what I am presented with.
I’ve heard from friends that there is this little humble ‘take out’ place in a food court tucked away in a strip mall in the middle of business buildings in Irvine. I was skeptical because if notable restaurants aren’t able to impress me with something as simple as fish and chips, then how am I to believe that fish and chips in a food court will fare any better?
I met Priscilla of She’s Cookin’ blog and Austin for lunch and we order fish, shrimp, chips and hush puppies. It takes a few minutes for them to cook it up so we sit down and wait for everything to be ready.
There are various combos to choose from: 1-3 pieces of fish and all three of us order the 2-piece fish, shrimp and chips. While waiting for the fish to be cooked, we get some hush puppies for good measure. Unfortunately, the hush puppies were a little dry and not like hush puppies I really like to eat. We left most of them untouched.
I break a piece open to reveal moist, flaky, succulent cod and the batter was lovely with a slight crunch, but not crispy. There are several dipping choices, you get tartar sauce as well as cocktail sauce, but I like the traditional malt vinegar best.
There are daily specials featured — barbecues on Wednesdays and on Fridays, jambalaya ($6.99) — strange but they lure me there to try them.
I can’t be bothered to make it at home and although the version here isn’t the Creole version my relatives make, it’s pretty good with chunks of chicken, sausage, flavorful ending with a slight kick. Served with rice and garlic bread, I am not able to finish a portion on my own.
As for now, this is the best fish and chips I’ve tasted in Orange County. I’ve been told there are a few others and I’ll be sure to make an effort to try them out soon.
The Chippy Fish and Chips
2222 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
Opening Hours: 10am – 3pm