Yang's Beef Noodle (Union City)

Yang’s Beef Noodles, the Bay Area’s only Guizhou style restaurant, recently opened in Sama Uyghur’s original, smaller, location. The owner, a Guizhou native whose family is originally from northern China, said this was her first restaurant and I admire her willingness to focus— the thing to get here, well, really the only thing besides a few appetizers, is the beef noodle soup.

The soup comes either with brisket, tendon, beef flank, honeycomb tripe, or some combo thereof. Noodles are long round rice noodles by default, wheat available too (or rice plate). I got the combo bowl, and the soup was beefy from start to finish and had no MSG. A thin film of chili oil was on the top, and pickled cabbage and pickled mustard, added upon assembly in the kitchen, gave the soup a sour edge and possibly the main source of sodium. The owner said they will eventually ramp up the spiciness to approximate how it would be eaten in Guizhou, and hope to add more items to the menu.

Meats in the soup were all excellent. My favorite was the tendon, darkened and flavorful from braising, and that happy texture a few notches harder than gelatin.

As apps, they have four cold vegetable salads (black fungus, cucumber, bean curd stick, or seaweed; each $3.99) and two cold meats, similar to what’s common at non-Guizhou restaurants. Pink-hued complementary pickled daikon was very good—- I wish I’d taken them up on their offer more seconds.

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Hyperbowler, do you know how Guizhou beef noodle soup differs from other beef noodle, especially those from Sichuan? This version is not numbing, right?

Good question. I wish I’d done some research before going there, but I was planning to go to Din Ding (which is closed on Wednesdays)

It’s not numbing. The sour/spicy mix is dominant. The pickled mustard tasted like zha cai. The pickled cabbage was assertive, possibly made in house or a tweak I’m not familiar with. The rice noodles are similar to those used in bun bo hue (or IIRC Guilin noodles) but not so in Sichuan or Taiwanese soups as far as I know.

According to an SCMP article ( I don’t know why they mention Guilin in an otherwise Guizhou article, unless the mean the noodle type)

“ The must-try dish at their restaurant is Guizhou chilli oil beef rice noodle. “We are the first in Hong Kong to make the authentic Guilin-style beef noodle,” says Guo.

The stock – the soul of the dish – takes almost 12 hours, simmering a mixture of beef, pork and chicken bones. Chilli oil spices up the umami-rich liquid. Two varieties of chilli peppers are used to get the desired result – one from Zunyi (a city in Guizhou) and the other from Huaxi district in Guiyang city.”

Yang’s owner said their chili oil is made from Chinese chilis, but she doesn’t have a source for Guizhou chilis. I should have asked about the broth!

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I’d love to give them a try some time, though I am so rarely around Union City. I think I am more likely to be in the area where the Guizhou joints are in Hong Kong than Union City, lol.

How’s business? How big is the dining room? You should ask them whether they are willing to cook Guizhou food with advance notice!

I was at GOGO Dessert a week ago and chatted up the owner, and found out that he’s from Guizhou. So I asked him about Yang’s, and he mentioned that Yang’s the only place to get Guizhou food around the Bay Area.

His assessments of the food were that of disappointment. He said that all the Guizhou people he knew went once and didn’t return. He thought that the beef didn’t have any taste. He was a bit busy at the time so he suggested we talked more about that, but never had a chance to chat further afterwards.

So that’s a local boy’s opinion!

Good to know!

I’ll share a tip now since it’s been reported a bunch of times on Yelp at this point—- behind the counter, if you ask for it, they have a dry spice mix made from some type of Guizhou chilis. It’s smoky and quite good, and apparently too laborious/expensive to just put out on the tables.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold