I know, I know.
Tru Grits in Anaheim, Calif., doesn’t sound like a restaurant where one would find fantastic Chinese food. The name is more likely to conjure up thoughts of Southern comfort dishes, like shrimp and grits and fried chicken and waffles. All of the above is indeed available at the restaurant, but many of its menu offerings are distinctly Asian.
Diners can enjoy Hainan chicken, beef noodle soup, pot stickers, and braised pork belly baos at Tru Grits, and it is one of the few places in Southern California to get danzai noodles, a uniquely southern Taiwanese dish. You can find it in their menu as Taiwan pork rice, just ask for noodles instead.
In Taiwanese, danzai noodles means “shoulder pole” noodles. This is in reference to Tainan vendors, who, in the olden days, carried buckets of noodles on a pole on their shoulders.
It is a celebrated dish in that part of the world, and, although vendors aren’t slinging noodles on poles anymore, there are quite a few danzai specialists in the south of Taiwan. For context, danzai noodle is to Tainan, Taiwan, as tonkotsu ramen is to Kyushu, Japan.
At Tru Grits, all the dishes are products of its corporate executive chef, Theresa Lin, a celebrated Chinese food personality from Taiwan. She is considered by many in the food industry as the Julia Child of regional Chinese cuisine.
Lin has been developing a menu for Tru Grits that can appeal to the wide variety of clientele pouring into Anaheim—especially of the Chinese demographic.
It’s an unconventional setup; Tru Grits is located in the lobby of the Hotel Ménage. The restaurant is a welcome respite in a town that doesn’t have much of a selection of Taiwanese cuisine.
Lin kindly provided the recipe for the iconic noodles. Deconstructed, the dish is wheat noodles in a clear broth with ground pork on top. It sounds simple enough, but it’s the heavily flavored pork topping that has brought the dish such accolades over the years. Bean sprouts and cilantro can be put in for an extra layer of flavor. The secret, though, is in the broth.
Cooking time: 1 hour
For pork bone soup:
To make pork bone soup stock:
To make pork sauce:
Tru Grits: 1221 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805