Perhaps this is one of the many reasons we decided to find roots here and open Hot Pot Milpitas. We wanted to share our culture and the delicious cuisine that defines Taiwan with anyone who wished to indulge. With the many people that visit and live in the Bay Area we often see many customers come and go. The handful of visitors that find their way back to our restaurant frequently when they are in the city become friends and often like family to us here at Hot Pot Milpitas. While we appreciate all of our patrons one such customer has pulled on our heart strings and has opened our minds to possibly branching out with our cuisine past California!
Rick, first dined in our restaurant when in town for the San Francisco marathon. Having ran the full 26.2 miles(no small feat) he came through our doors looking for a hearty and delicious meal as well as wanting to try something new. From Fort Collins, Colorado Rick owns a local hot tub repair business and loves to support other family owned businesses. While dining on Hot Pot, beef rolls and You Fan he told us stories of his years in Fort Collins and what it was like living in the cold winter temperatures and the warm green months of summer. While you can find good food in Colorado it is not often that you come across an authentic Taiwanese restaurant like ours he explained. We shared our culture and told him stories of Taiwan and the night markets that can be found there with the delicious aromas of our cultures food wafting through the air.
The next time Rick came in he was in town for a hot tub conference and made time and an effort to make sure he stopped in to grab a bite to eat and talk with us. He also proposed the idea of brining a Hot Pot Milpitas to the Fort Collins area! At first we laughed about it but then began to talk seriously about the what if’s of opening a branch in Colorado. Afterall according to Rick Hot Pot in the winter would be AMAZING!! While Rick is not ready to leave his hot tub business to run a Colorado branch of our restaurant he would be a avid and frequent customer he promised as well as send his hot tub clientele to eat too!
While opening another location in Colorado or another state for that matter is a dream for now, we did realize that Taiwanese food is not as easily found as many other ethnicities. We hope in the near future we are able to realize our dream of branching out and sharing our Taiwanese cuisine with many others throughout the United States. Should you ever come to the Bay Area, a city that is a melting pot of cultural diversity please stop in for delicious Hot Pot or house made beef rolls or any other delicious menu item we may offer. Until we make it to Fort Collins we hope to spread the love for Taiwanese cuisine one San Francisco native or visitor at a time!
Now that Autumn is upon us and many are getting prepared to celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas here in America, we thought we would share one of Taiwan’s most favored traditions and celebrations, The Full Moon Festivalor Mid-Autumn Festival. As many of you may know Taiwan is a country and a culture that is big on both family and traditions, the Full Moon Festival being one of the most looked forward to celebrations among Taiwanese families, because afterall it is a family celebration! Read on to learn a little more about this coveted celebration and all that it has to over:
Taiwanese Full Moon Festival
Mooncakes- Mooncakes are perhaps what the Mid-Autumn or Moon festival is centered around. These round “cake” delicacies are shaped for the full moon and the meaning of family. They are traditionally filled with minced meat such as pork, but in recent years have also been known to be filled with sweet treats such as ice cream. They are sought after by many at authentic Taiwanese markets, restaurants and bakeries and there really is no celebration without a moon cake!
Tales of the Moon-The children of Taiwanese culture look forward to hearing their parents rendition of the two tales centered around the moon. One tells of Chang’e or the Moon Goddess. She is said to have drank a potion that would give her everlasting life and then went to live on the moon where she still resides. The next tale is centered around her and her rabbit companion. It is told to children that if they look up at the moon they can see the rabbit marked in the full moon.
Admiration of the Moon- When the night is clear you gather your family in Taipei and head to the beloved national park named Yangmingshan to gaze up and admire the moon. Something so simple and majestic yet so fulfilling and great quality time spent with family. You don’t have to be in Taipei or its national park to admire the moon. You can simply take a few moments anywhere you are and gaze up and appreciate its beauty and light.
While the Full Moon Festival or Mid Autumn Festival is one that is simple it is a prized tradition among most Taiwanese families. Just like you do not have to be from the Taiwanese culture to appreciate the delicious food or make beef noodles from home, you do not have to be Taiwanese to celebrate this beautiful family oriented festival. The Taiwanese invite you with open arms for you and your family to enjoy this autumn tradition as well.. You never know just how much you may love it yourself!
Now that the weather is getting cooler and the idea of eating a warm dish is even more appealing, we thought we would share this video on making Taiwanese Beef Noodles. Not only are they delicious and can be enjoyed anytime of year, they are also relatively easy to make at home! Try them out yourself you never know what a great Taiwanese chef you might be!
While we love having our restaurant Hot Pot City here in the Bay Area, and love the view we have created for our patrons while they dine in our establishment, we thought we might branch out a little bit. We wanted to be able to provide and share our recipes and delectable Taiwanese cuisine with as many visitors, native San Francisco dwellers, and foodies as possible. What better way to do that then adding a food truck to our business. That’s right in the near future we here at Hot Pot City will be roaming the city of San Francisco and perhaps it’s surrounding areas with our Taiwanese food truck. There is a lot that goes into establishing our truck and the recipes we will be offering from it as well as the overall design for our truck. Our dream for our food truck is to make it memorable and recognizable by those looking for great food all while strolling the streets of San Francisco. With so much diversity here in the Bay Area, as well as the abundance of great restaurants to choose from we hope to also gain a little more exposure for Hot Pot City. So where did we start?
First things first, after purchasing our food truck we looked to vehicle vinyl wrapping experts to help us transform our new restaurant on wheels into a noticeable and vibrant advertisement. What we also discovered in the process was that vehicle vinyl wraps are a great way to advertise your business or restaurant and a sound investment at that!
The Benefits Of Vinyl Wrapping Our Food Truck
We are able to reach the masses of people found here in San Francisco with our restaurant name & cuisine
Best ROI pertaining to advertising our delicious fare
Helps us stand apart from the numerous other food trucks & businesses in the city
Our vinyl wrap graphics and design is memorable
Helps to brand your business
Reaches a more diverse market of people in more than just our location
One of the hardest and perhaps the most challenging things when getting our food truck started is making it stand out from the crowd of some 200+ food trucks that inhibit the Bay Area. Another aspect that was a bit challenging is the fact that there are still a lot of people out there that have yet to try Taiwanese cuisine. With our restaurant location those seeking great Taiwanese cuisine generally come to us. Now with so many people milling about and our food truck in the mix of it we are reaching more people but some or many are a bit apprehensive in trying food from a culture they are not all too familiar with. What did we do to help close that gap and encourage love for Taiwanese cuisine? We have started going to different areas and providing samples of some of our food. I mean who doesn’t love a sample and a free one at that! Our viewpoint is, is if we can introduce Taiwanese food to those who have yet to experience it we may find those who love it and do not know what they have been missing all this time! Afterall, if you have read a few of our other posts you may have read about the great night markets in the Taiwanese culture. Food trucks and street food is in our blood and Hot Pot City is ready to get the food on the rode and share our fare with all those who are hungry and ready for some delicious and truly great cuisine!
Night Markets, also known as street markets, are a Taiwanese tradition and attraction that are enjoyed by not only the people of Taiwan but also the many tourists who come to visit this beautiful country. While there are a few night markets that occupy actually built & designated marketplaces, most night markets can be found filling the streets and sidewalks throughout Taiwan. Not only do these wonderful markets operate daily, they also offer everything from traditional Taiwanese cuisine to handmade Taiwanese crafts, clothing, snacks or small eats called “xiaochi” and specialty drinks. Night markets originated from the Chinese Tang Dynasty and have grown more and more popular throughout the years. In fact the night markets of Taiwan are huge tourist attractions that many come from afar just to see and be part of. With the many vendors, loud fast paced music, and delicious food you will definitely want to check one out should you ever visit Taiwan! We have a list of some of our favorite night markets you don’t want to miss!
Night Markets of Taiwan
Raohe Street Night Market- This market is one of the oldest and most traditional found in Taiwan and stretches more than 600 yards or roughly 2,000 feet throughout the streets of the city. You will find traditional eats, handmade Taiwanese crafts and an amazing atmosphere of people milling around and enjoying the food and everything this market has to offer
Shilin Night Market- Probably the most famous night market you will find in Taiwan, it’s been operating since 1999. This market is considered a big part of Taipeis nightlife and offers more than 500 stores(vendors). You will also find many local specialty dishes here and a huge crowd of people!
Huaxi Night Market- This market is known as probably the biggest tourist attraction of all the night markets that are found in Taiwan. It has been in operation since the 1950’s and is known for its reptilian ways! Think offerings such as snake wine and cooked snake dishes. In fact it is so well known for its snake fair that its nickname has been dubbed Snake Alley Night Market. Built for the tourists of Taiwan it is also the very first market to operate! Another big attraction found here is the Tainan Tantsumien Seafood Restaurant, with seafood so fresh they literally pick it live before it is cooked for their patrons! This is also one of the few markets that operate in an actually designated marketplace
There literally are so many wonderful night markets and delicious street food to be found in them when visiting Taipei. We especially love these three but recommend to you all to explore and decide for yourself which one you think is the best. Each market may be similar but they also offer different things and have their own uniqueness to them. So forget clubbing and the traditional kind of nightlife should you visit Taiwan, and instead enjoy one of the fantastic night markets. We promise you will not be sorry!
Should you ever have the chance to visit Taiwan, there are simply things that you must see and do. Especially if you want to be able to get the full experience of this beautiful country and see and immerse yourself in all that it has to offer. We also know that when visiting a foreign country it can be quite hard to really refine your itinerary so that you have the best experience possible! Check out our list of must do’s and things to see when visiting the incredible city of Taiwan.
Things To Do When Visiting Taiwan
The Golden Waterfall- This waterfall is not only beautiful it is unlike any other. Located in an area where copper and gold mines were once located, the waterfall is set against the Green-Hulk like Mt Keelung and the Yin Yang Sea. In fact the waterfalls run off runs into the sea. What’s so spectacular about this waterfall is that although the mines have been shut down for years the rain the area gets seeps into the land and reacts with the metal deposits that are still left there creating a beautiful gold shimmer all around and throughout the waterfall. Seeing it is believing it.
Keelung Mountain- A 45 minute hike to the top of this now extinct volcano will give you sensational panoramic views of the area!
Long Shan Temple- This religious temple was built in the 5th year of the Qing Dynasty and is located in Taipei City. It holds a lot of culture and daily religious practices of some Taiwanese locals can be observed when visiting.
Shi Fen Old Street- This is Taiwan’s city of lovers and dreamers. There is a constant release of blue lanterns in to the sky throughout the days and is a city to be explored and enjoyed by all.
Shi Fen Waterfall- This beautiful natural waterfall has also been dubbed the Niagra Falls of Taiwan. It is the located along Pingxi Line and is the largest waterfall in the area!
Yang Ming Shan National Park- This mountain dwelling is lined with hot springs that many locals and tourists visit to soak in the warm water full of minerals to rejuvenate their mind body and soul. It’s known as a place of relaxation and tranquility
These are only a handful of the many exquisite places and natural beauty the country of Taiwan has to offer. Whether exploring nature’s boundaries or the city packed with some of the largest companies and tallest skyscrapers you have ever seen, Taiwan holds something for all types of adventure seekers!
Taiwanese are known for their amazing night markets and much sought after street food! Check out this video for an upclose look on different Taiwanese dishes, preperation techniques, and to catch a glimpse of the streets of Taiwan!
Not only did we want to share our love for preparing delicious Taiwanese recipes and expose the Bay Area and it’s visitors to the joys of our food, we also wanted to create an atmosphere that looked out on the entirety of the melting pot of cultures found here in San Francisco. We opened Hot Pot City Milpitas with the dream of spreading our culture and cuisine here in America and having it alongside the others cultures and their exquisite fare. When we first acquired our restaurant space it was a simple space with room for our kitchen, tables, and Taiwanese decorations. We wanted to “open up” our restaurant so that those from the outside could see in and those from the inside could see out. In fact how amazing do you think it is that we are able to blend cultures their beliefs, traditions, food and religions with those of other beginnings? To me I think that is one of the most amazing things for all people.
So we set out about renovating. First we added custom window replacements, taking out an entire length of wall and installing big windows so that those dining in could see the hustle and bustle of the city going on. Not only that it allowed for those passing by to take a look into our fine establishment and get somewhat of an idea of what we were like.
Next we went about adding our cultures decor and the right type of lighting. On tuesdays and thursdays you can walk past our windows and see one of our talented kitchen staff members stretching dough for our handmade noodles that can be found in our “Niu Rou Mian” or beef soup. Why do we believed this new renovation helped to make our restaurant a success?
Different Can Be Scary- in all actuality when you are from one culture and are used to your cuisine, practices, and beliefs it can be somewhat intimidating to branch off into another culture entirely new. Many people take one look at taiwanese meatballs and can’t fathom how they may be good when they have a sticky rice flour shell around them. The unknown is scary. But if you take that leap and try new things you may just find those meatballs are your new favorite dish of all time.
Embracing Everyone- We don’t want to push our taiwanese culture on everyone we want to SHARE it. San Francisco is perhaps one of the finest cities in the world, in the sense that you can find people from all avenues of life here. One of the things I like best about living in this city and owning a business is that it is ok to be different and embrace your difference.
Dining Experience- Whether you are going for sushi, a fine italian meal, southern BBQ etc, all cultures offer a different dining experience. In the french culture they see meal time as something to be savored and enjoyed, thus taking 2 hour lunch breaks and even longer amounts of time over dinners. Dining in Hot Pot City you are immersed in taiwanese culture and cuisine and get to enjoy our idea of sitting down for a meal.
The world today has begun more and more to embrace difference. Although for some it may be harder than others, our world is a place filled with so many wonderful people and things to learn. Branching out and experiencing other cultures opens your mind and spirit up to all the different walks of life out there. If we can share our culture and cuisine with all that would like to try it and learn about it, we are sharing part of ourselves and the things we cherish and love. Just like our big windows that cover one side of our restaurant, we want you to see into and experience the beauty of the Taiwanese culture!
Lin Ho, Hello,once again. Hopefully you fellow readers have read our last post giving you some insight on the Taiwanese culture. If not that’s ok too, however although we are a culture of East Asia and many associate us with Chinese and the like our culture in all reality is all it’s own. Reading a bit of the facts and beliefs of the Taiwanese people may help you to better understand our food and magnificent dishes. Although a lot of people may first be a bit apprehensive in tasting some of our most popular and delicious dishes because of what they see or the ingredients they read, in general we think you will be quite surprised by the flavor and the incredible satisfaction these dishes bring to your taste buds. When we first opened our restaurant Hot Pot City Milpitas here in the bay area we knew that many of the Taiwanese people in the area would appreciate it, but we also hoped to engage those who were not so familiar. Check out a few of our most popular and famous dishes and get ready to experience true flavor at it’s finest.
Favorite Taiwanese Dishes
You Fan- also known as glutinous oil rice is a small dish made up of a mixture of sticky rice, pork slices, dried shrimp, mushrooms, soy-sauce and shallots. It is usually finished with a chili sauce and peanuts. While it may not be for everyone it is one of my very favorite Taiwanese snacks
Cho Dofu- or in other words stinky tofu. But don’t let the name fool you this dish is actually delicious! Many people however, can’t seem to get past the smell but if you are someone that can we know that you will utterly enjoy this dish. Tofu is fermented with milk, veggies and meat. It is served with pickled veggies and soy sauce if you wish. You can’t knock it until you try it.
Taiwanese Beef Rolls-These might be a bit safer to try when just introducing your tastebuds to our cultures food. Think crispy green onion pancakes that act as a wrap for braised beef slices, pickled veggies and cilantro. Next we add a semi sweet bean sauce and the flavors just explode in your mouth!
Ba Wans- also known as Taiwanese meatballs can throw some off by their appearance. Rice flour, starch and water make up the coating of the meatballs and are sticky and translucent in texture. The filling is minced meat, bamboo shoots and shitake mushrooms. Again it may appear a little strange but it just may turn out to be the best meatball dish you have ever had
Niu Rou Mian- “Beef Noodle Soup” comprised of a somewhat spicy broth and noodles. The soup is then topped with pickled greens, beef shanks and different veggies. Americans eat chicken noodle soup when they are in need of comfort or are treating a sickness, the Taiwanese turn to this magnificent soup.
There are so many wonderful dishes when it comes to Taiwanese cuisine. Each cultures food is different and while it can be absolutely delicious and amazing it is safe to say sometimes it takes some getting used to.