The End of an Era: Xiao-hui’s Is Gone!

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Photos by MJ Klein

End of an Era: Xiao-hui's Is Gone

A neighborhood institution is gone.  Xiao-hui’s Thai Style Cuisine is no more!  Xiao-hui sold her restaurant to some enterprising Vietnamese ladies who have transformed the place into (yet another) Vietnamese karaoke.  Xiao-hui herself has moved back to Southeast Asia, in northern Thailand.

End of an Era: Xiao-hui's Is Gone

When they bought the place, the new owners were adamant about keeping the cuisine the same, and not changing the menu.  At first, they kept it identical.  Xiao-hui personally trained their staff in her style of Thai cuisine.  They used the upstairs rooms for karaoke rooms.  Now they’ve decided to remodel the downstairs to build new karaoke rooms, due to (what I understand is) complaints from owners of the floors above.

I’m going to say it:  There are already two Vietnamese karaoke places in the same number of blocks.  This new place makes three.  There is another karaoke place in between too, making 4 total karaoke places in 2 blocks.  Do we really need another karaoke place in this neighborhood?  I say no.  We do however, need more good food places.  Naturally I’m concerned that food will be secondary at the new place because as you can see in the photos, there isn’t much room for tables with those new karaoke rooms and the giant counter in the front.  It remains to be seen.

Years ago I used the pinyin “shao-hui” for tagging photos and articles on this blog.  Since studying Chinese, I’m now using “xiao-hui” as tags.  To make it easier for you to find all the great articles about this neighborhood institution, you can look here, and here.  I’ll do a story on the new place once it’s back open.  I just hope it will be a place we can hang out at like the old days….

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  1. A Thai woman sells her place to a couple of Vietnamese ladies… they want to keep the menu “the same”… so the Thai woman trains the new staff.

    So then once the new owners get rid of people (for one reason or another) and replace them with new people… the food quality/menu will probably change drasticlly as the people that were trained by the Thai woman will no longer be there.

    So in time… this Vietnamese karaoke place will be just like the other Vietnamese karaoke places.
    mike01905´s last post ..Aerosmith Performs On Commonwealth Ave

    1. hi Mike. well, it’s already like all the other karaoke places in one aspect – their low-class clientele. i’ve seen a drunk guy at 2pm on a work day, being carried in and out by 4 guys, one on each limb. these idiots to there during work hours to cop a feel of a VN girl while their wives and family think they are hard at work making a living. plus, every single one of them chain smokes. i cannot stand being around those types at all. thanks Mike.

  2. That’s too bad. I had a good time there with you and Michael. I guess you can’t have too many Vietnamese karaoke places.

    One of the many minor bugbears I had about life in Taiwan was the lack of variety when it came to eating out (Taipei excepted, of course, as it always is). To my wife’s annoyance, I liked to compare Fengyuan to Yokkaichi, the small, industrial Japanese city where the two of us lived circa 2004-05. There were more places to eat in Fengyuan, but a much greater range of restaurants in Yokkaichi (both for Japanese and non-Japanese cuisine). There was no shortage of beef noodle, hot pot and fried rice joints in our neighborhood in Fengyuan, but not much else.

    Oh, and plenty of Vietnamese karaoke places, too.
    Kaminoge´s last post ..You’re just going to have to take my word for it…

    1. hi Jim. i’m just glad you got to experience the original place and meet Xiao-hui herself. of course, people have the right to make whatever business they want, but i’m not interested in the girls. i frequent those places for the food. but often i have to put up with those girls going in and out (not to mention the drunken clientele) and many of those girls are inappropriately dressed for a family business. just the other day i was eating at another such place and a girl came in wearing a dress that was so sheer you could see her butt clearly. i really don’t want to see that, especially when i’m eating. sometimes one of those girls will spot me and decide to sit with me and ask a bunch of stupid questions. i usually get up and move to another table. i just wish the karaoke part of the business had a completely separate area and entrance to the restaurant part. i guess i’m just an old man ranting about how things aren’t how i would personally like them!

      beef noodle, hot pot and fried rice just about describes Taiwan entirely! thanks Jim and take care.

  3. There is a breakfast shop near my apartment block, that keeps changing owners. The food is more or less the same, but my wife and I keep wondering, how long they can survive there. For some reason nobody seems to survive longer than a few months. It’s the same a bit further down the street, a bubble shop keeps changing owners and has the same problem. It’s not the same as your story, but my point is, that things constantly change here and sometimes I think about my hometown in Slovenia, that has 1000 years of history and a medieval core almost fully intact. Some things haven’t changed for ages, it kinda gives me a sense of security, on the other hand it tends to get boring. Something what I never felt since I moved to Taipei.
    MKL´s last post ..My Kafkaesque life blog statistics 2010-2012

    1. hi MKL. you make an interesting point. the way businesses are opened here is vastly different than most Western countries. it seems that someone has an idea and doesn’t do any real study to figure out if the business has a market, etc. often, they just copy what’s next door. also, there is a lot of family money in Taiwan, and many business owners got the money from their parents, so they didn’t have to convince a bank with a detailed business plan, etc. so you see a lot of trial and error style business operations here. thanks for your comments MKL.

    1. the good news is Jeff, i ate there today, and the girl that was personally trained by Xiao-hui herself is still cooking! so, all it not lost just yet! take care.

  4. I’m sad about this by proxy. Even though I have absolutely no connection to the place it still feels wrong … Sorry for your “loss”, MJ.

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