About East Side King:
For those of you not familiar with Chef Paul Qui, who's something of a local celebrity in Austin, the fact that he's also a Top Chef winner alum during season 9 may ring a bell. Known for his adventurous cooking style, including winning a quickfire by incorporating the hottest ghost chili pepper there is, Chef Paul is always up for mixing things up and keeping it interesting.
While he owns a few upscale restaurants in Austin such as Uchi, Uchiko and Qui, Chef Paul puts just as much emphasis and attention into his street style mobile restaurant, East Side King. Boasting a unique spin on Asian street food, East Side King's 5 locations deliver a funky Japanese street vibe in Austin's hippest neighborhoods. Lucky enough to experience his pop-up locale downtown, especially positioned for SXSW, I got to see what the fuss is all about.
Admiring the many vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, East Side King is a great choice if you're specific about the way you eat, but still want to enjoy great flavor. Dan would be in heaven to see all that gluten free menu items, and I'm going to have to take him there next time we're in town.
Brussels Sprouts Salad - This dish came highly recommended, and wasn't a tough sell for me, as I always love to eat Brussels Sprouts. It helped that most of the week was spent eating really rich foods, so some hearty veggies were certainly in order.
While I can't say this salad was light, given the fried preparation of the Brussels Sprouts, it was flavorful as hell! Coated in a sweet/tangy/spicy sauce, each bite gave your tastebuds a run for their money. A sprinkling of fragrant herbs such as basil, cilantro and mint helped to freshen things up in the midst of all that fried deliciousness, including pieces of a deep fried bun. When in Austin...
Beet Home Fries - I've never had deep fried beets before, but when I saw these babies included virtually in everyone's order, I knew I had to try them. Happy to see I chose wisely, I enjoyed the beets' crispy exterior, which was fun to dunk into a creamy Kewpie Mayo (a popular Japanese mayo) further seasoned with spicy shichimi. I've never had beets prepared in this way, which made the experience that much more unique and memorable.
Service and Cost:
Due to the popularity of this truck, there's a bit of a wait (about 15-20 minutes), but I promise it's worth it. The ladies who worked the truck were pleasant and totally accommodating, especially when it came to splitting up our payment into thirds. It was also great that they accepted credit cards in addition to cash.
Lunch for two people, including drinks and a shared app set us back about $24 in total.
East Side King - 4 mobile locations and 1 brick-and-mortar location