by Steven Doyle
One of the greatest late night meals we have experienced in a long time was after a party in the King William District in San Antonio. It was nearing 1am and I had a hunger that only food would cure. Fortunately for me, there was a beacon that cried out in the night, not too unlike a blazing holy grail, and it lead me to the path of Hot Joy.
Hot Joy is all about the funkiness. The decor is cheesy Asian resell, the drinks are blow-me-down crazy good. The food, well the food is a blend of fusion that may have lost its way, but in a good sense of deliciousness. Here you will find a bowl of ramen such as the Double Miso with its shitake sofrito, burnt garlic oil,baby corn and soft egg that is ever so delicious. Get it further un-vegetarian-ized by adding pork belly for an extra 4 bucks. They also make a more traditional Tonkotsu ramen.
The menu is all about the Asian, and doesn’t mind lifting recipes from Japanese, Chinese, or even Indian cookbooks. his is just fine by me since you can also find a very decent, heavy-handed seasoned green curry with toasted yeast, paneer, sour cream and long bean.
The thing to get totally giddy over would be the legendary Crab Fat Caramel Wings, so delicious that Bon Apetite made mention of them in their August 2014 issue. These are spicy, rich, meaty and thoroughly worth the mega calorie count. Be sure to have running buddies standing by to help you devour this very large order, and I could not make it past just a few, they are so rich. If you are going at the wings solo, never fear since I know first hand they are pretty damned delicious cold many hours later. This is coming from someone that rarely takes food home, but they are that tasty.
If you need a fine accompaniment to your wing order, and not in the mood for ramen (seriously?) then might we suggest the spam fried rice with its charred corn, green onion and egg. This is seriously good chow. There is also a migas fried rice which I did not attempt, but a fellow diner suggested was uniquely delicious.
Cocktails are not an after thought, after all, the restaurant is centered by the gravity of its massive large bar. We might suggest that a drink called Pinche Knees pairs very well with the wing order This is made with blanco tequila, Gran Classico, and Umeshu. The latter is a mild Japense spirit distilled from ume fruits These are unripened and green plums and apricots and clocks in at an alcohol content similar to wine. There are also plenty of decent beers and wine at Hot Joy.
To purists Hot Joy may appear a hot mess, but I like to think of it as a hot bed of lovin’. Place this spot on your must do list when visiting San Antonio.