chef's table

NOODLE THIS!

Popular Sacramento restaurant serves up authentic, homemade flavors.

WRITTEN BY CATHERINE ENFIELD
PHOTOS BY JOAN CUSICK

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You won't find Mr. Yang at Yang's Noodle. He left years ago. What you will find are a lot of happy customers eating freshly made noodles in a variety of Chinese and Asian dishes. The food here appeals to all. This popularity is what put Yang's Noodle on the Sacramento News & Review's list of Top 50 Sacramento Restaurants in 2016.

Jack Siu bought Yang's Noodle in 2014 and decided to keep the name of the prior owner. Siu used his years of restaurant experience to elevate Yang's to success. He started in the industry in 1979 with his first venture, Vietnamese House, in Los Angeles. He had no actual restaurant experience and learned everything about running an eatery through trial and error. Over the years, he's managed or owned a number of restaurants, including managing the China Inn, which later became Manchu Wok, in Natomas.

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Yin and Yang

The dishes on Yang's menu mostly are from Northern China, near the border of North Korea. Siu is from Shenyang province, but his menu also includes items with Thai and Vietnamese influences. He says he has a sensitive palate that easily can discern flavors from dishes that he tastes. He then recreates them or puts his own spin on them. Since being in business, he's been able to determine the flavors and dishes that appeal to American palates versus those of the Chinese. His menu is carefully balanced with items to appeal to all tastes.

Yang's Noodle is known for its noodles, which are made on site every day. Haimei Zhong and Phu Chan work in a back room kneading, rolling, and cutting dough all day long. They average 150 pounds of noodles per day. High-gluten flour and water are the only ingredients, combined in a mixer before resting for about 15 minutes. Then the laborious process starts. Diners immediately will notice that the noodles are different lengths, thicknesses, and shapes — signs that they are not machine made. The high-gluten flour makes for a chewy noodle. The noodles will end up in various dishes, from soups to stir-frys.

Reviews of Yang's Noodle most frequently praise the beef noodle soup. The broth is freshly made every day. First, beef bones are simmered for four hours before being removed. Then the broth is simmered another four hours with chunks of beef brisket. The flavor is intensified with the addition of onions, tomatoes, star anise, and other spices. The end result is a dark, rich broth packed full of flavor. Noodles, bok choy, and a sprinkle of chopped green onions and cilantro finish the dish.

Xiao long bao (soup dumplings) is the trendy Chinese dish of the moment. Here, Siu takes a creative approach to serving it. Most often, the dumplings are steamed and served in a bamboo steamer. Siu found it often was clumsy to pick up soup dumplings without puncturing them and losing the precious soup inside. Instead, his are cooked and served in individual soup spoons, ensuring the ideal experience of biting and slurping the contents.

Outside of the restaurant, his food has won even more accolades. He won the Lamb Cook-Off at the Dixon Lambtown Festival in 2002 with his lamb roll. In 2015, his beef tendon salad was a favorite and the most commented-upon dish at Have an Offal Day, the chefs' competition that highlights organ meats.

Whether you order noodles, offal, or any other dish, Yang's Noodle is worthy of its placement on the list of Top 50 Sacramento Restaurants.

Catherine Enfield is overly obsessed with food and started writing about it nine years ago in her blog, Munchie Musings. In 2010, she helped start the gourmet food truck movement in Sacramento. Since then she also has founded the Sacramento Food Film Festival and Have an Offal Day.

Resources

Yang's Noodle

Open 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily

5860 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento • 916-392-9988 • Find Yang's Noodle on Facebook

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