Once you find parking (maybe take a taxi, or Uber, to get there), you’ll find out why Diamond’s owners say “we bring the world to you.” With a population demographic high in Asian Americans, Irvine’s Diamond Shopping Center is regionally renowned for its diversity of restaurants, grocery stores, boutiques, and even beauty parlors. Easy, affordable, fresh and fast meals are available at a wide range of small restaurants offering both sit down and to-go service, hence, the inside of the mall can get crowded at peak times. Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and Taiwanese—you can try them all in one place.
Highly rated “must visit” places include the Taiwanese influenced 85 Degrees bakery, renowned around the OC as having the very best baked goods, breads, desserts and sugary, decadent pastries in the county. Exotic milk and jasmine teas are popular as well. If you’re schedule is flexible, try timing your visit during off-peak hours, the line-ups are often well out the door.
For budding Asian gourmet chefs, a visit to the HMart Korean grocery is mandatory for those hard to find spices and produce. (Their deli offers awesome take-out, if you happen to be in a rush).