One of the most popular vendors at the famed Shilin Night Market in Taiwan is Hot Star, a purveyor that claims to make fried chicken cutlets as big as your face. The Taipei street food has gotten so popular that it’s since expanded to more than 100 locations internationally, including three in the Los Angeles area.
In this episode of Cult Following, host Serena Dai and her Taiwanese-American buddy Melody Peng visit an outpost in Pasadena, California to try the dish that’s been called “the food” of the Shilin Night Market. Peng has been to the original and says a huge line always snakes around the stand. Although Peng grew up going to the market when visiting family, fried chicken cutlets didn’t become a destination, she says, until Hot Star opened there in the early ’90s. Peng savors her first bite: “I feel like I’m back in Taiwan.”