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Sep 24, 2008 05:27 PM

From Po Kee to Fast Food with a side of Vegan love

The extent of the construction at Po Kee, the venerable Chinatown joint at Stickton and Vallejo known for cheap food and jokes about slow service made me suspect that more than a simple refresh was in the works. My hunch was right: Gone is Po Kee, and, soon to open in its place is the second(?) US branch of a Taiwanese chain, Loving Hut.

What is Loving Hut? Read on, if you can stand it:

"Loving Hut was created with a vision that all beings could live in peace, love and harmony with each other and the planet. Loving Hut chain restaurants are newly opening around the world. It is an invitation to gourmet international cuisine at a great price that is all animal-free made and made with wholesome vegan ingredients offering an accessible starting point for those who want to make the noble transition to a plant-based diet......all dishes are prepared free of animal ingredients (vegan) and served lovingly, in a graciously decorated, pure and peaceful environment, giving one a heavenly feeling....

"As more and more people around the world adopt a plant based diet, Loving Hut is a beacon of light for an alternative way of living. It’s healthier, it’s compassionate, it’s peaceful and it’s the only way to a sustainable planet.

"Be Green, Go Veg!! Save the Planet!!"

Their well-done (if nausea-inducing for some) website has plenty more purple prose, photos, lunch and dinner menus, even a video.

Actually, knowing what I do about what the Chinese can do with vegetarian food, you might even catch me in there (the price is right) but I'll have to avert my gaze from the maudlin logo on the wall.

(coming soon):
Loving Hut
1365 Stockton St. at Vallejo
SF 94133

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  1. I finally checked out the video, which reveals that Love Hut is an enterprise of the eccentric guru Supreme Master Ching Hai (the bird lady). I don't think that would deter me from eating there; AFAIK she's a benign figure.

    1. Thanks for the heads up. Obviously they missed their July 13 grand opening (unless it's 2009). Have any guess as to when they might be open?

      6 Replies
      1. re: Chandavkl

        July 13 was the grand opening of their first US outpost in Milpitas. I didn't see anything on their website about the SF location, but their hearts and flowers logo is painted on the wall and I verified the new Fictious Business Name for that location..

        Construction wise, It looks very close to opening, possibly within days.

        1. re: Chandavkl

          By way of an update, they had the new awning up and painted today. Yesterday the front door was open (it being a hot day) and workers could be seen assembling tables. A big plasma TV had been installed over the service counter and it was broadcasting what appeared to be Suma Ching Hai's Supreme Master Television station. On the one hand they look like they are rushing to open it soon, but on the other hand they have yet to float any hype of the type that went with the opening of the Milpitas branch.

          1. re: Xiao Yang

            curious, off the top of your head, do you know what other restaurants are affiliated with the bird lady here? I know of some in SoCal but am not quite as familiar with the places here. Most of them serve the same food, but I admit I do like this one kung pao dish.

            1. re: choctastic

              I don't know of any in this part of California (other than the Milpitas one). I have learned that some of her restaurants apparently fly under the Buddha Hut and Quan Yin and even Qing Hai names, that I know of.

              1. re: choctastic

                There's a place in Oakland that seems similar, and is operated by some cult. The food is pretty good, though the place is too noisy for me.

                Golden Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant
                1301 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94612

                1. re: Joel

                  According to this article in Metro Active, Suma Ching Hai and her followers own 56 restaurants around the world.


                  I thin some are in the name of individual followers, like Golden Era in San Francisco, which I just figured out is affiliated (the giveaway is the link to Supreme Master TV -- click on the SOS logo).


                  I'm starting to wonder how Loving Hut slipped by Aaron Peskin's watchdogs.