Chef Paul Qui won Top Chef Season 9, producing really creative, visually appealing food. However, the problem with all of these television food shows is that the viewer can’t taste the food! Thus, my trek to Austin, TX. Chef Qui was previously chef at Uchiko, an acclaimed Japanese restaurant in Austin, and in 2013 opened his own fine dining restaurant, Qui. Before opening Qui, he also founded, along with Moto Utsonomiya, the East Side King food trucks, which has several locations in Austin. After a late night arrival in Austin, I went straight to the ESK at the back of the Liberty Bar, located in a hip part of Austin on E. 6th St. and near Qui. The relaxed beer garden at the Liberty Bar epitomized the really chill atmosphere in Austin. Lots of hipsters, but they were friendly, enjoying good food and beer. The menu has Asian influences with a few twists and is quite satisfying as a late night snack.
Thai Chicken Karaage – Deep-fried chicken thigh, sweet-spicy sauce, fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion, jalapeño. Delicious. Link to recipe here.
Liberty Rice – Steamed jasmine rice, ginger, garlic oil, basil, cilantro, mint, onion, jalapeño
Poor Qui’s Buns – Roasted pork belly in steamed buns, hoisin sauce, cucumber kimchi, green onion. Delicious, especially with the combination of tender roast pork and a slice of crackling skin.
Link to East Side King website here.
Coming soon: a visit to Qui as well as a couple of Austin’s (and the world’s?) top barbecue spots.