Yang’s, a one dish sensation from China, to open first U.S. restaurant in Tustin
If you think In-N-Out Burger has a bare-bones menu, just wait until the arrival of Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice.
The fast food chain, with nearly 6,000 units in China, is bringing its one-item menu to Orange County in September. Yep, you read that right. Yang’s sells just one dish: a pound of chicken thigh meat marinated in a secret sauce and cooked in a clay pot.
“This is a very famous dish from Northern China. The sauce is the key,” said Xinyu Zhang, chief executive of the chain’s U.S. division.
Through a translator, Zhang said the first of several U.S.-based Yang’s is opening Sept. 10 in Tustin.
The 40-seat restaurant will be like no other fast food restaurant in Southern California, where variety and endless super-sized combinations are ubiquitous to most menus.
But at Yang’s, the $9.99 dish, served with rice, is the only entree on the menu. No add-ons. No sides.
“We think one portion is enough,” Zhang said in a phone interview Friday.
The only customization is on the spice level: mild, medium or spicy.
Xiaolu Yang founded the first Yang’s in 2011 in the Shandong province of China, known for its Confucian heritage. The 37-year-old Yang, whose family ran several restaurants in the 1930s, inherited his grandmother’s secret sauce recipe used for a regional dish known as huang men chicken.
When Yang decided to open his own restaurant, he knew the clay pot dish would be a hot seller. He added rice to the dish, thinking it would be a perfect fast-food meal. By the third day of business, he had lines out the door.
Since then, the one-dish wonder chain has grown to nearly 6,000 restaurants in China with other locations in Melbourne, Singapore and Japan.
To maintain the integrity of the dish, Yang’s will continue to make the secret sauce in China. Shipments will be sent to Tustin. The thighs, typically the juiciest and most flavorful part of the chicken, are marinated in the sauce and partially cooked in a high-pressure cooker.
The chicken is then finished off in a clay pot, where it cooks over direct heat. The clay pot keeps the flavors locked in as the secret sauce “doesn’t evaporate as quickly,” Zhang said.
The Tustin restaurant is corporate-owned and the first under the Yang Ming Yu Braised Chicken USA Group based in Southern California. More locations are expected to open through franchising. The company has already seen interest from potential franchisees in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Canada.
Tustin’s grand opening will kick off at 9 a.m. Sept. 10 at 3824 Red Hill Ave. Zhang said customers can expect some giveaways including gift cards throughout the first week.
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