Kate Kramer/ The Paisano
More than just the restaurant’s name, “Hot Joy” is what your taste buds will scream after every bite of Asian cuisine.
Stepping into Hot Joy, you are immediately transported from the heart of downtown San Antonio to an Asian city. The bright, multi-colored walls reflect the spices in the food, and the casual dress of the servers depicts the relaxing atmosphere. Even the mismatched chairs and tables add to the restaurant’s charm.
The chefs at Hot Joy are bold and not afraid of a little spice. General Chad’s fried chicken is tossed in a medley of seasonings along with Kewpie mayo, cabbage, and peanuts. Despite the kick, there is no way you will be able to resist going in for more bites.
If you prefer not to tackle the spice, Twice Fried Chicken Wings is a sweet and salty dish. Crispy chicken wings are drizzled with crab fat caramel, peanuts, and cilantro.
Ramen is also available, but not the kind you are used to. Different meats and spices flavor the noodles, creating a unique experience in every bowl.
The menu offers other options such as mussels and curry. If you are having trouble deciding, ask your server. They are very knowledgeable about all of the dishes. Chopsticks are available at every table, but request a fork if you are not stick savvy.
Although reservations are not required, they are encouraged during lunch or dinner hours, as the restaurant fills up quickly. If you have to wait for a table, though, you can lounge on the couches and chairs piled with pillows.
The bar is also available to guests on a first-come, first-served basis. Wines, beers, and cocktails are all available, but if you are willing to try something different, opt for some Sake, a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice.
As the night goes on, the restaurant fills up and conversations are carried from table to table, creating a light, enjoyable atmosphere. For larger groups, cozy booths provide a more private environment.
Be prepared to park on one of the neighboring roads. The nice walk only adds to the experience of being downtown, and you may even discover a shop or restaurant you have never noticed before.
Small plates range from $6.99 to $14.99; large plates are priced from $10.99 to $13.99 and come with a bowl of rice.
Hot Joy is open daily from 11 am – 3pm, and from 5pm – 2 am. A limited menu is available from 11pm – 2 am.
Hot Joy is located on 1014 S. Alamo St., 78210. For more information and to view the entire menu, visit HotJoySA.com.