While growing up in Los Angeles, one of my fondest memories was when my Dad would go to a nearby small take-out only Chinese restaurant and bring home some delicious freshly made to order classic Chinese dishes that my entire family just loved.
Finding a restaurant that still cooks classic Chinese dishes like that are almost impossible to find however, while cruising down Yucaipa Blvd. in search of my next restaurant to review, I stumbled upon a very small, kind of weathered looking Chinese restaurant that for some reason, beckoned me and my taste buds to try. The large “A” in the window from the Health Department was a reassuring indication that it was safe to eat the food although the sign and outside structure needed a little bit of updating.
Once inside the former Dairy Queen building, a burst of incredible aromas overwhelmed my culinary senses and brought me back in time to the small little Chinese restaurant my family brought food from, but could the food served here be as good? The answer is a BIG YES! I felt like I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone. Nothing fancy here, just great food!
I was greeted by three very charming and friendly owners Susan and Tony Ding and their son Scott who have operated this restaurant for the past twenty years. I was not only impressed with the aromas of the food and the owners, but also by a sign stating that if customers wanted any of the items on the menu with no salt, sugar, oil or corn starch, just let them know. How many restaurants would do that or you?
The menu features a nice selection of classic Chinese dishes that anyone who grew up in the 1960’s, 70’s or 80’s surely ate and enjoyed. Each dish is made fresh upon order and there are only a few tables to eat inside the restaurant (only seats about 13 people) so you can dine in, order your food to go, or use the drive thru for take-out.
For starters, I ordered the Wor Won Soup $3.99, a medium size bowl of piping hot chicken broth filled with pieces of chicken, shrimp, stuffed wontons, Chinese cabbage, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, carrots and canned mushrooms. The rich chicken stock was delicious as were the various goodies that were happily swimming in the soup. What a nice beginning!
Next came the half order of the Pu Pu Platter $5.99, and my all time favorite appetizer Rumaki $3.49. The popular Pu Pu Platter came with a large meaty Chinese sparerib; marinate Teriyaki beef on a skewer, one fried shrimp, two fried wontons, Paper Wrapped Chicken and a crispy triangular shaped fried Crab Rangoon. All of the items were excellent especially the Crab Rangoon and the sparerib. The 5 deep fried bacon wrapped chicken liver with a water chestnut was a real treat and was very good
Another wonderful and delicious appetizer was the Lettuce Wrap $7.49, three large crisp iceberg lettuce leaves served with a large portion of diced chicken with black mushrooms, onions, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and green onion wok’ed with a tasty dark soy sauce and served on a bed of white crispy fried rice noodles. The chicken mixture was very good but was a little too bland for my taste; however by adding some Chinese hot mustard, chili paste or Hoisin sauce into the mix, the dish really came alive. Speaking of coming alive, don’t be afraid to tell them the level of hotness you want in your dishes.
Some of the many entrees I sampled include the Kung Pao Shrimp $8.49, 14 large succulents shrimp with peanuts, onions, celery, baby corn, green pepper, bamboo shoots water chestnuts and carrots in a really delicious spicy Kung Pao Sauce, a half order of Pork Chow Mein $5.49, which comprised of crunchy combination of slices of pork, bean sprouts, carrots, celery, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots in a light tasty thick sauce and the extremely popular Tangerine Chicken $7.49, a huge portion of deep fried chicken tossed in a bright orange colored mildly sweet and tangy orange flavored sauce topped with green onions. I loved this dish and can see why this dish is such a hit with the locals who dine here.
Oh yes, the fresh Lo Mein Noodles with a ton of sliced beef $6.69 was yet another worthy item to order. Overall, I was very happy with the entire dining experience and now know the old adage “you can’t go back in time” is not true. Thanks to Susan, Tony and Scott, their food did bring me back to my younger years and you know I will be coming back here again and again.
34557 Yucaipa Blvd
Yucaipa, Ca 92399
Tuesday-Friday 11am to 9pm
Saturday & Sunday 12 noon to 9pm
Price Range: $4.59 to $8.49
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