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Loving Hut (Vegan Chinese) opens 10/11 in SF, 10/4 in Palo Alto

Xiao Yang Oct 3, 2008 05:20 PM

Suma Ching Hai's Loving Hut has announced an October 11 opening for its SF Chinatown/North Beach branch (Stockton & Vallejo) via a sign in the window. Its website also promises a Palo Alto opening tomorrow, 10/4.


Go Veg! Be Green!

Me, I'll be off in Shanghai getting down and dirty with all manner of flesh.

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  1. RWCFoodie Oct 5, 2008 04:41 PM

    Thanks for the news - I look forward to checking out the Palo Alto branch when it opens... Have a great trip!

    1. Melanie Wong Oct 15, 2008 11:14 PM

      Any reports on any of the three Loving Hut locales?

      I'll confess that I've stepped inside the Milpitas location twice now and haven't tasted anything. The first was when it had only been open for a couple days. But we'd just had our chowdown lunch at Chili Garden across the mall and I couldn't think about eating anything else. Then Derek "chowfun" and I took a look when we were waiting for the others to arrive for the Dongbei chowdown at Nutrition House. I will say that the stuff in the case looks as pretty as on the website. What's especially worth mentioning is how friendly and pleasant the staff have been both times. Welcoming and lots of smiles that are fitting for the name.

      Loving Hut
      516 Barber Lane, Milpitas, CA

      Loving Hut
      1365 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA

      Loving Hut
      165 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA

      4 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong
        thejulia Oct 17, 2008 02:17 PM

        i stepped in today for lunch in the palo alto location. it's one of the more pleasant vegan experiences. the food was extremely fresh, prettily prepared, very well seasoned, and i definitely didn't feel deprived. (as an omnivore, i have munched glumly through many uninspired and dry quinoa salads with lentil loaf on the side at other veggie restaurants).

        i had a substantial tempeh avocado blt- the tempeh was seasoned with paprika that was in a delicious foccacia, seemed like acme, and a black bean soup that lacked the depth of pork, but was spicy, cuminy and filling. my dining companion had some fresh spring rolls that had a piquant sauce, and not the normal stodgy peanut stuff. highly recommend for veggie food.

        the service is extraordinarily pleasant, which makes sense as this is a buddhist organization's restaurant. i felt a bit like they were in a cult, which was a little off putting, but as far as i can tell, the buddhist organization is very benign. there's a little controversy over the leader the "supreme master ching hai" and whether or not her lifestyle is very buddhist, but they don't seem to be total whack jobs. (there's info on wikipedia).

        1. re: thejulia
          Melanie Wong Oct 21, 2008 10:47 AM

          Sounds like a winner, julia, thanks for sharing! When I'm in Milpitas, I have too many other competing chow destinations. However, I'm sure I'll be trying the Palo Alto location soon. Thanks for the info on the Buddhist sect too.

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            igj Nov 11, 2008 10:06 AM

            I have enjoyed sandwiches from the Palo Alto Loving Hut a few times now - service can be spacey, but the food is good in that faux-meat way.

        2. re: Melanie Wong
          Joel Oct 31, 2008 05:25 PM

          This cult also has a restaurant in Oakland:
          Golden Lotus

          And the website of their organization is here:
          I like the name of that website.
          We had a ChowLunch there four years ago:

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

        3. K K Oct 21, 2008 02:34 PM

          I remember I took a peek at the Loving Hut menu (Milpitas) following the chowdown at New Nutrition House, and Loving Hut's offerings seem more like a mix of South East Asian styles rather than Chinese. There's nothing in there that looks remotely Northern Chinese Buddhist vegan and the place has a rather fancy decor to boot.

          10 Replies
          1. re: K K
            thejulia Oct 21, 2008 05:48 PM

            it's not at all northern chinese buddhist, actually. the loving hut's (palo alto) cuisine is vaguely asian, but mostly western. can't speak for the milpitas location. the organization doesn't seem to be northern chinese buddhist, although many of the followers seem to be vietnamese/chinese.

            today i went to merit vegetarian on lawrence in sunnyvale and found that it was also run by the supreme master or ching hai cult thing. the food was also really great, and much more asian/chinese/vietnamese. two of us were omnivores and one was a vegetarian and we all ate with gusto.

            1. re: thejulia
              thejulia Oct 21, 2008 05:50 PM

              here's the link to merit.

              Merit Vegetarian Restaurant
              548 Lawrence Expy, Sunnyvale, CA 94085

              1. re: thejulia
                Xiao Yang Oct 21, 2008 06:02 PM

                The cult leader, Ching Hai, is Taiwanese but a jet setter who spent a lot of time in Europe. She seems to march to her own drummer.

                1. re: thejulia
                  Melanie Wong Oct 30, 2008 12:44 AM

                  Cool, do you feel spiritually enlightened after a meal at Merit or Loving Hut?

                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    thejulia Oct 31, 2008 08:42 AM

                    i'm not much one for spiritual enlightenment, but i daresay that an afternoon at ridge vineyards, gazing down at the rolling hills, munching on a bunch of meat products slathered on bread, with a good glass of zin at my side is closer to nirvana for me :)

                    1. re: thejulia
                      Melanie Wong Oct 31, 2008 12:55 PM

                      A devotee of the patron saint of butchers . . . I understand completely!

                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        wolfe Oct 31, 2008 01:11 PM

                        Which one?

                      2. re: thejulia
                        Xiao Yang Oct 31, 2008 06:13 PM

                        "meat products slathered on bread"

                        Deviled ham? Potted meat? Meat that can be "slathered" would turn me into a vegetarian quickly.

                        1. re: Xiao Yang
                          thejulia Nov 3, 2008 09:16 AM

                          xiao yang, potted meat is quite close! how about pâté and the like? :)

                          1. re: Xiao Yang
                            wolfe Nov 3, 2008 01:44 PM

                            What an awful/offal reaction. What about chopped chicken livers with onions and gribenes slathered on challah or rye?

                  2. Robert Lauriston Sep 13, 2010 10:31 AM

                    Anyone tried the SF branch? Apparently they all have different menus.

                    Loving Hut
                    1365 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA

                    Loving Hut
                    165 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      Chandavkl Sep 13, 2010 05:22 PM

                      I only tried the potato salad at the Stockton St. location and was surprised that it tasted so real, for a vegan version. Also went to the location in the Westfield food court and once again by taste it wasn't particularly different from non-vegan food.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        Windy Sep 13, 2010 06:17 PM

                        I had a really delicious fake shrimp stir fry with snap pea pods and fried rice at the one in the food court in Westfield center. In fact someone came over and asked where I'd gotten it because it looked so appealing. They have a steam table, so you can try a combo.

                        1. re: Windy
                          milklady Sep 13, 2010 10:22 PM

                          I also recently tried food from the steam table at Westfield center. I had a sweet and sour dish, a noodle dish, and spicy tofu. The tofu was a little greasy, but overall it was very tasty. Much better than other "steam tray" Chinese I've had.

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