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Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
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Food & Drink

Asian Festival and New Eastern Eateries Highlight SA’s Latest Food Trend

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Bulgogi, kebabs and more await at the 2014 Asian Festival

Myth or not, Eastern cuisine continues to take SA by storm year-round. As Patel puts it, San Antonio has always been a melting pot of cultures, but the recent Asian eatery additions point to an interesting trend. Viva Pho (2114 NW Military), Pho Fresh (2895 Thousand Oaks), Pho Kim Long (4029 Spring Mountain) and Thai It (7914 Culebra) all opened up within a year of each other. That’s not counting the various Asian-flavored joints newly opened or coming soon from SA names that first won success in the American and European categories.

Chef Michael Sohocki’s Kimura has been inundated with ravenous ramen lovers since its doors opened. David Gilbert’s Tuk Tuk Tap Room focuses on providing authentic Thai and Vietnamese fare, while Jason Dady’s early tagline for recently opened Umai Mi was “so not authentic, its absurd” [sic]. And then there’s Hot Joy, the little pop-up that could (opening in mid- to late February), which takes a different approach altogether. Located inside the original Rosario’s and former China Latina at 1014 South Alamo, Hot Joy’s permanent location can seat 110 people and includes a lineup of cocktails created by The Brooklynite’s Jeret Peña.

“I think people responded pretty quickly because of the informality of it,” Chad Carey, co-owner, said of the warm reception given to Hot Joy as a pop-up, also noting the resto’s simpler plating and modest price points.

Hot Joy’s revamped menu will include favorites from the pop-up’s time at the Monterey along with several new items including a tater tot chaat—a savory combination of paneer, miso gravy, tamarind ketchup, small crunchy noodles made of chickpea flour (or sev) and cilantro.

“Chaat is one of those things I’m so excited about because there’s a million different things to do with it,” said Hot Joy chef Quealy Watson.

As for competition, Carey put it best:

“If a city of 2.3 million people can’t support Tuk Tuk, Kimura, Hot Joy and Umai Mi, then fuck us, what are we doing?”

Consider that as you nosh Asian offerings from more than 11 different vendors during this year’s festival.

Asian Festival 2014

$8 (advance), $10 (day of festival)
10am-5pm Sat, Feb 1
Institute of Texan Cultures
801 E Cesar Chavez
(210) 458-2224

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