Chinese restaurant

Tin Yuan 6/5/99
1222 Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), Harbor City, CA 90710
take out 310-530-8964, phone 310-530-5864

Location. This is at the south west corner of PCH and Normandie, just west of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, in the small Normandie Village Shopping Center. This is about a mile west of the 110 Harbor freeway.

Geography. This intersection marks the eastern limit of a couple-of-mile long strip of Oriental restaurants along PCH, centered on Lomita and extending west to Crenshaw Blvd. There must be a dozen or more on this strip; mostly Chinese, but also some Thai, Japanese, Indian, and Korean. The Indian spice store and two Chinese restaurants have closed in the last few years. I've tried most of them, and they were at least ok.

Hours. Mon - Thu 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Fri & Sat 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sun 3 to 9:30 p.m. Lunch specials Mon - Sat 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner specials Mon - Sun 3 to 9:30 p.m. Call to verify.

Menu. You can order from the menu, there are dinner specials for groups, but I usually get the lunch or dinner specials. They only list 30 specials on the menu, but there are more on the wall in the restaurant. The lunch specials include rice, egg roll, and hot and sour or egg flower soup. I also received wonton strips and a sweet dipping sauce. Lunch special prices range from $3.65 to $4.95. The dinner specials are $1.00 more and include a fried shrimp.

Best Dishes. The best is the #31 special, and I specifically ask for sliced chicken. It's roll-cut oriental eggplant, with sliced chicken breast, in a slightly sweet and spicy garlic sauce. The way the chef cooks the eggplant turns the skin to an radiant blue/purple and along with the white chicken and brown sauce, it's a pretty dish also. I also like the other sliced-chicken dishes, Mongolian beef, vegetable, the Kung-Pao and sauteed delights, and other dishes. The delights are what the chef calls the three-ingredient dishes and contain shrimp and sliced chicken and beef. They do make the moo shu at least two different ways, one without pancakes, so ask for details.

Conclusion. There's only one chef, he's very good, and he turns out great dishes. If you want something special, ask; maybe he can do it. Most of the business is take out, and they deliver. There's only about four booths and three tables. The server is there to process to-go orders but will also handle sit-down customers. The lunch specials are a bargain, and for only $1.00 more, so are the dinner specials. I've been eating here for several years, and don't remember getting anything but good food.