"What is Santa Ana Food?" Episode 1
Video by Mike Zuniga Films
"Our food is a combination of all the cultures here in Santa Ana," explains Hop Phan, a native of the craggly borderlands of Santa Ana and Garden Grove. Growing up, his confused classmates called him and his brother "Chinos" (Spanish for "Chinese") despite the nuanced fact that they're Vietnamese.
With Dos Chinos (Ward 2), a food truck that became a brick-and-mortar in 2015, Hop seeks to infuse Orange County with a creative reinterpretation of the food he knew and loved growing up between two cultures: "I grew up where First Street turns into Bolsa Avenue, and it goes from Mexican to Vietnamese."
"My food explores what's going on in our communities," adds Hop, "all of our food is named after cities in the OC," and reflect the places they are from: Bolsa Pork is a five-spiced Vietnamese flavor punch, while "SanTana" Chicken is Latin and hot.
Hop has scored major success with his food's daring flair and creativity: his lobster elote fries are one of the most popular dishes in the county and his tacos and burritos have won "best in OC" accolades as well. Believe it or not, Dos Chinos took home the title trophy from the City of Santa Ana's official Tamale Contest, boxing out the competition two years in a row.
Our Recommendation: Don't bother reading Dos Chinos' menu. Just hop on their Instagram and let the scintillating posts be your guide.
What's Next for Dos Chinos? They're leveraging success into more restaurants (a brand new location at Irvine's Trade Food Hall), weekly food truck events (North County) and taking over the Garden Grove Amphitheater.
Story by Ryan Smolar