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Aug 12, 2008 10:27 AM

Won Stew House

We were planning to go to Darda for lunch, but by the time we got there they were closed, so we grabbed a few items from Sheng Kee for a quick snack.

On the way back to the car, we looked into Won Stew House, and got a great cold, spicy green bean (long bean?) dish with diced daikon pickle? for $3 that was really good and ridiculously cheap. I wish we'd gone in there first so we could have tried more.

From reading the one previous report I guess WSH is Taiwanese? They might have a few tables but it's basically a takeout joint. Lots of simmered meats by the pound, a few dozen cold items, fried rice, noodles, bentos, pearl tea and various other drinks.

Won Stew House
1715 Lundy Ave, San Jose, CA 95131

Won Stew House
477 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA

Won Stew House
46813 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont, CA

Won Stew House
300 Barber Ct, Milpitas, CA

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  1. Based on the Chinese name (萬家香滷味, courtesy they apparently feature "lu" cooking, or simmering in a master sauce. "Lu" sauces are sometimes kept going for years, with the flavors getting deeper and deeper. A loose translation of the chain's name might be "the flavor of 10,000 families". It is a style that's apparently popular in Taiwan (and tailor-made for takeout!) I recall seing a whole cookbook on the technique by Fu Pei Mei or her daughter, Angela Cheng.

    1. WSH is Taiwanese, but between Milpitas and Saratoga locations, the latter wins by a landslide (even though they technically sell the same things). We got a bento to go one time from Milpitas and it was horrid. The bentos are similar to what you would find in Taiwan, basically your pick of various fried, baked, or simmered items with veg, rice, and maybe a comp side of soup. Buy ten bentos, get a stamp each time on the card and get one free. WSH Saratoga and Milpitas, also sell various other small dishes, like oyster noodle, oyster pancake, pig feet noodle (the kind Vliang talked about in the Sunny Shanghai thread) etc. The Saratoga location has a pretty decent fried Taiwanese style pork chop that I think is better than their fried chicken leg.

      As XY has stated they do specialize in lu wei (in addition to their name that already suggests this), a soy sauce based marination (with a ton of Chinese herbs) for simmering. This style of cooking is mondo huge in Taiwan especially amongst those of Hakka descent, and arguably had its beginnings in Shanghai (there's is a famous lu wei snack place in Taipei that actually started off in Shanghai then they settled in Xiemending area of Taipei and have been around for 80+ years).

      At the night markets in Taiwan, you can easily find street food stalls that sell nothing but lu wei snacks, from pig, chicken, beef, fish (inclusive of parts and organs), and even tofu (dou gan in particular) to seaweed (hai dai), and naturally the lu dan or simmered egg (synonymous with the shoyu tamago you get in ramen shops but more of a hard boiled texture).

      WSH carries smoked chicken and smoked duck (legs) although I'd rather get it from Saratoga location. Haven't tried them yet but they looked pretty good.

      One of the signature items at WSH is their Man Luan Ju Jiao, it is a humongous pork foot (bone in) and simmered in its sauce. When you buy one, they charge per pound but they only allow you to buy the whole foot (and usually goes over). They can slice it up for you but even after you clear up the skin, collagen and whatever meat, you are still left with dense bones. The flavor is great, you can reheat this and serve with rice or let the marination soak into noodles. Frankly I think Cafe Taiwan does a much better job with this item, as they make it in house, debone it, cook it till the collagenous skin part melts in your mouth and provide a great dipping sauce to go with it (soy sauce paste, garlic, vinegar, ginger).

      1. Cold marinated tofu in the plastic containers is very good and very convenient for later consumption.

        1. There is also one in Cupertino, but with a different name. From this link

          I.S. Stew House, a unit of the Won Stew House chain, opened on Torre Avenue and Town Center Lane. The Chinese restaurant features Taiwanese specialties and all-day lunch boxes.

          Here's an online menu

          I S Stew House
          10271 Torre Ave, Cupertino, CA 95014

          2 Replies
          1. re: rworange

            I saw a Chinese newspaper ad posted in the window of H C Dumpling House in Cupertino for this location. Guess it's related somehow.

            1. re: rworange

              I've only been to the I.S. Stew House in Cupertino once when it first opened. It doesn't seem like this location carries as many varieties of stewed items, and I was not so impressed with the bentos. The Saratoga location is definitely superior. I hope I.S. Stew improves though, as it is very close to my home (whereas the Saratoga location is close to my work). Lucky me! ;)