East Side King was created by Paul Qui and Moto Utsunomiya as a side project when the chefs worked together at Uchi and Uchiko. Since that time, the number of East Side King food trucks has multiplied, and two brick and mortar locations have opened up as well.
Paul Qui is perhaps best known for winning Top Chef Texas in 2012. To the advantage of Austin foodies, he has continued to dig his creative roots deep into Austin’s food scene.
Additional media exposure has spread the word about East Side King, benefiting the business itself and Austin’s reputation as a foodie attraction. The trailer empire was featured on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. One of the newest trailers, dubbed Thai-Kun after chef Thai Changthong, was ranked 8th on a national list of best new restaurants in 2014 by Bon Appetit.
However you heard of it, there are now 5 places in Austin to experience the Asian-inspired street food of East Side King.
#1 Thai-Kun Trailer
Where: Whisler’s at 1816 E 6th Street
Hours: 4 PM- 1:45 AM, 7 days/week
What to Get: The Thai-Kun trailer is the brainchild of chef Thai Changthong. The menu is entirely unique from the other East Side King locations, although it maintains a flavorful, creative style.
Try the Cabbage Two Ways: fried and pickled cabbage are featured as the dish’s namesake, and all your tastebuds will be stimulated by the multitude of herbs, peanuts, cucumber and “boom sauce” involved in the salad-esque snack. The symbiotic crunch of peanut and fried cabbage is delightful.
#2 The Liberty Trailer
Where: In the back of Liberty bar on 1618 E 6th Street
Hours: 4 PM– 1:45 AM, 7 days/week
What to Get: Try the East Side King spin on chicken wings. Three up and coming chefs offer three different versions of an American classic, with Asian influences including flavor references to Filipino adobo and Korean BBQ . East Side King is unique, in that even its new chefs have room to grow and experiment.
#3 Hole in the Wall
Where: 2538 Guadalupe Street in the back building of Hole in the Wall
Hours: Mon-Fri from 11 AM–midnight, Saturday 2 PM–midnight, closed Sunday
What to Get: Try the Ramen here – Shiner Beer Miso Ramen brings the trending dish straight to the heart of Texas. This location is East Side King’s first venture into brick and mortar, although it’s still affiliated with the bar. At this location, 18 and up is allowed in.
#4 Pop Up Truck
Where/Hours: This truck “pops up” all over Austin. Although it’s mostly used for catering, the Pop Up truck makes appearances across Austin. Check the website to learn when it might appear at Austin Beerworks and other sporadic locations. For now, you can find it at certain times at the north Austin spots below.
- Wednesdays from 11 AM–2 PM @ The Domain, 3110 Esperanza Crossing
- Thursdays from 5:30–10:30 PM @ Draught House Pub & Brewery, 4112 Medical Parkway
What to Get: As East Side King’s catering truck, the Pop Up offers cuisine most suited for its purpose. Try a lunch box for a nice sampler of classic East Side King dishes. One combination includes the Thai Chicken Karaage, Brussel Sprouts Salad, Jasmine Rice and a Pork Belly Bun.
#5 South Lamar Storefront
Where: 2310 South Lamar, Suite #101
Hours: Mon–Sat from 11 AM–10 PM, Sun from 11 AM–9 PM
What to Get: This is the only location where you can order sake, so take advantage of the $4 carafe. Also, fusion at its height: East Side King tacos. Seeing nori (seaweed) and guacamole (oh, heck yes) in the same phrase makes my heart sing. Try the Chasu Pork Taco, built on a white corn tortilla, for a new take on an old favorite.
East Side King Is Austin’s Food Truck Royalty
Once a side project of local chefs, East Side King has transformed into a food truck empire with a growing legacy. Whether you’re in east Austin, south or north, seek the location near you to get your fix.
@erinmayyyy wants to know:
What is your favorite East Side King location and why?