After a career in cancer medical research, Yunan Yang opened Pepper Twins which serves organic and fresh, Sichuan Chinese food that retains the fantastic flavors from her homeland.
KATY MAGAZINE | March 2018 By Katrina Katsarelis
In a world where 25-30% of restaurants fail in the first year, Yang seems to have an uncanny ability to create, design and run successful restaurants, and does it in a way that looks effortless. But success didn’t happen overnight. Prior to starting Pepper Twins Restaurants, Yang was a respected medical doctor and researcher doing studies on early-stage cancers. Despite a successful research career, Yang eventually took a break from the medical field feeling there was something more in her future.
The Secret Formula
Through her medical research and training, Yang knew that having an additive-free, organic diet was vital in preventing cancer. She also knew that getting that type of food at your usual Chinese restaurant was next to impossible. Yang often longed for the authentic Chinese food from her homeland of the Sichuan province in China (previously spelled Szechuan). Eventually, she put two and two together and the unique Pepper Twins concept was formed. Was it possible for her to open a restaurant offering organic, healthy, and additive-free Sichuan Chinese food that still tasted amazingly flavorful and delicious? Yang knew she had to try.
An Instant Success
In 2015, Yang moved to Houston from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was living at the time, and joined forces with her sister to open Cooking Girl in Sugar Land. The following year, Yang opened her first solo project, Pepper Twins, which was a success from day one. Yang has opened three more restaurants including the Katy location which opened in October of 2017. A fifth Pepper Twins location will open this year in Pearland.
Yang says immediately customers responded very well to having the “best of both worlds” concept. Organic, additive-free Chinese food that tasted like authentic Sichuan food. “There’s nobody offering the same type of food anywhere in Houston, or the United States for that matter,” says Yang.
Pepper Twins’ Accolades
When Pepper Twins opened their doors to the Katy community on Grand Parkway last October the Katy community was ripe for such a concept. From the get-go, Pepper Twins was a hit and many Katy foodies considered Pepper Twins a “breath of fresh air.” Their traditional Sichuan Chinese food was a much needed gap that needed filling in the Katy restaurant market. Since the initial restaurant opening until now, Pepper Twins garners national recognition, receiving coverage from many respected media venues including New York Post, Texas Monthly, and famous Chinese media such as CCTV and China Daily, to name a few.
Extensive Menu Options
As you peruse the menu, the first thing you’ll notice is that 2/3 of the items have at least one chile. The base of this fire are the Sichuan peppercorns that Yang has flown in from Chongqing, China. The peppercorn is not a pepper in the sense that is thought of but a dried berry from Prickly Mountain Ash tree. The lemony overtones of the peppercorn give way to a tingly numbness of the mouth and throat that sets the stage for hot spices. Yang is so focused on the authenticity of the base ingredients that even the red chile oil, a must for authentic Sichuan cooking, is made in-house.
Spicy Food that’s Wonderfully Flavored
“This is a true Szechuan dining experience with organic and fresh food prepared by chefs actually training in Szechuan province,” says Becky, a Katy diner. “The food is spicy and wonderfully flavored. The quality of meat and vegetables is obvious. Truly fine dining Szechuan style!” And that’s just one of over 100 glowing Pepper Twins reviews. For those that can’t handle the spice, the chefs will adjust to your needs. If it’s too late and your mouth is on fire, the chefs have a fix for that as well. From open to close, this gem serves delighted customers that can be overheard planning their next visit as they leave.
From the moment you step inside Pepper Twins, you can see that this is not your typical Chinese restaurant. The theme of the décor is a combination of Chinese and Western and can best be described as minimalist elegance. The walls have large paintings showcasing well-known landmarks from the Sichuan region making guests feel as if they’ve stepped into a Chinese countryside.
A Reputation for Caring
Yang tends to every detail of the restaurant to make sure the customer experience is impeccable; top quality organic food, Sichuan trained chefs, a nice ambiance, and all the niceties that make din