So I learned the hard way that most food trucks in Austin are dark on Mondays. Thankfully, East Side King’s trucks still operate on Mondays so the food conquest wasn’t a failure. East Side King has three locations, but we settled on visiting the East Side Kings at Liberty Bar.
The space is located in a pretty quiet area of Austin, but it was still pretty busy for a Monday night. After looking at the menu, I ordered Poor Qui’s Buns, Thai Chicken Karaage and Derek’s Favorite Chicken Buns.
Something I love about food truck (and East Side King is no exception) is the fact that things are cooked to order. East Side King incorporates a lot of herbs into the dishes and all were fresh and crisp.
The first thing I tried were the Poor Qui’s Buns — roasted pork belly in steamed buns, Hoisin sauce, cucumber kimchi and green onion. Delicious. The pork belly was crackly and blended perfectly with the crunch and acidity of the cucumber kimchi. The bun was light and fluffy and didn’t distract from the overall taste of all the elements.
Next I sampled the Thai Chicken Karaage — deep fried chicken thigh with sweet and spicy sauce, fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion and jalapeno. I’m willing to go on record and state that thighs are the most underrated cut of chicken. They have so much flavor and East Side King really brought out the flavor with the mix of herbs, jalapeno and the sauce. It was crispy, hot, cool and refreshing. The perfect dish for a warm night.
This dish also paired really well with my Shiner Bock. So don’t forget about the right beer.
Finally, I tried the Derek’s Favorite Chicken Buns. Once again, the chicken thigh pieces were crisped to perfect. This bun was composed of deep-fried chicken thigh, Thai flavored spicy mayo, fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion and jalapeno. This turned out to be my favorite dish. The pillowy soft bun mixed with the herbs and crispy chicken provided a very textured, yet simple dish.
I’m a big fan of Asian cuisine, and East Side King can hold it’s own as a serious Asian dining experience — albeit outside of the standard brick and mortar. It’s no wonder Anthony Bourdain stopped by on his most recent visit to Austin.
The brains behind East Side King consist of former chefs from Uchi, one of Austin’s top Asian restaurants. They’re really onto something here as they’re now up to three truck — each with a unique menu. They’re also smart to open on Monday nights, they pretty much have a Monday night monopoly.
I’ll have to wait to continue my food truck conquests on my next visit to Austin. Just not on a Monday.