As a nation, we are accustomed to endless choices – cereal, video games, lipstick, dog food, ice cream flavors, paper towels, cruise destinations, on and on. And frequently, when we have chosen a place to dine, we are presented with a menu that has sufficient pages to cover a billboard. OK – make a simple choice: a steak, with salad and a baked potato. Not simple! How would you like your steak cooked? Which dressing for your salad? On the side, or tossed? Sour cream, chives, butter on the potato … sound familiar?
It was quite refreshing to discover Yang’s at 13824 Red Hill in Tustin. Here you will find but one item for your dining pleasure – braised chicken rice. You merely order for however many in your party. Actually, you will have one simple decision – regular or extra-spicy. From the look of the quantity of red chilies in the dish served to the next table, I would recommend the regular, unless you have an asbestos-lined digestive system.
Frank and I found the house-special braised chicken very tasty, tender, and served in a generous single portion, with enough rice on the side to satisfy three or four. The dish is freshly prepared throughout the day in an open kitchen. The secret is in the sauce, which was created by Yang’s grandmother. The recipe remains locked away, accessible only to the family chefs. The price of this good-quality repast is $9.90 per dish.
Don’t expect a fancy eatery. Yang’s is very plain, and seats about four dozen diners at plastic and chrome tables and chairs, closely set in this small space. Depending on the time you arrive, you may have to wait a while. On our first try, we struck out – it was before eight, but the sign on the closed door explained that they’d run out of food. The second time, we waited for 20-30 minutes, but found it very worthwhile. Yang’s does not have a license for alcohol, so expect soft drinks and tea.
The Tustin location is Yang’s first in the U.S., though he claims some 6,000 restaurants in China (where it all started), Japan, Australia and Singapore. You’ll find this spot in a strip mall just north of the Freeway 5 Red Hill off-ramp. It’s open every day from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., or til 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Phone (714) 731-7777 for take-out orders.