My friend and I decided on to eat at Yang Chow Restaurant in the Chinatown area of LA. Parking in Chinatown is pretty bad, but I did find a spot not too far away. Luckily, the parking meters are not enforced after 6pm. I found the perfect spot (loading yellow zone), but I was unable to get over to the curb with the oncoming traffic. I went around the block and found another spot. After walking over to Yang Chow, I noticed that they have a parking lot in the back. There is an arrow pointing you toward a driveway. I’m not sure if parking is complimentary or not. There may be a fee.
When I went inside the restaurant, I noticed that my friend and I were the only Asians in the restaurant other than the staff. Since I know the rule of thumb—if there aren’t any Asians in a Chinese restaurant, the food is terrible—I was a little nervous. I had read online reviews of the place, and they were mixed, so we decided to give it a shot.
When we received our tea, I already had a problem. The tea was bagged, so I had a terrible paper taste in my tea. I usually don’t notice a paper taste with my teabags, but this particular tea had an off-taste that really irritated my taste buds. It was a harbinger of things to come. We ordered Spicy Szechwan Wonton Soup to start. This was a hard dish for us to eat. It was extremely salty rather than spicy. We picked out the wontons instead. The soup was basically boiled in what appeared to be undiluted soy sauce. It might have been oyster sauce, but it was virtually inedible for me since I tend to have a lower salt diet than most Chinese. We then ordered their famous Slippery Shrimp and Hot Spicy Bean Curd (with Minced Pork), which is a common Szechwan dish. The slippery shrimp was good, but not so wonderful that we would return to this place. It sort of reminded me of the Korean-Chinese fusion dish called “kangpoong sehwah.” I think it’s the Korean version of Szechwan shrimp, except much spicier. I think it was misnamed “kangpoong sehwah” after kungpao shrimp. “Sehwah” means “shrimp” in Korean, and I think “kangpoong” is the Korean pronunciation of “kungpao.” The bean curd dish was NOT spicy. It was on the bland side, which surprised me, considering that it should have been cooked Szechwan style. We focused on the shrimp to finish our meal.
I don’t think I will ever return to this place. It may be worth it if you’re only going to order the slippery shrimp, but to go to a restaurant for only ONE dish? I wondered if the slippery chicken was as good as the slippery shrimp. Perhaps if I ever have the misfortune of coming back to this restaurant, I’ll order only the “slippery” items.