Pork belly is having a serious moment in Austin. I know it’s been a trend for awhile now (what, the past 3? 5? years…?) and I know I recently gushed over Tacodeli’s pork belly tacos. But seriously! I had never seen SO. MUCH. Pork belly love until I moved down here. This is evident in the popularity of East Side King, Top Chef winner Paul Qui’s Asian fusion food truck with three locations in East Austin. Ask anyone what they like about ESK and the answer is always the same: “oh my god, the pork belly!”And yes, it’s good. Really good.
I’ll happily state that East Side King is one of the best, if not THE best, food trailers in Austin. Their original trailer at The Liberty is my favorite. To be slightly controversial, though, I will say this: I think the ESK pork belly hype unfairly overshadows some of the other delights on their menus. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely amazing, but I feel as though most people discount the fried chicken and even some other less obviously delicious options like the tongue buns and beet fries.
Want to see what really, really, REALLY good food from a truck looks like? Of course you do. (I’m really trying hard to restrain myself from making any sort of obvious “food porn lol buns” remarks here.) Photos a the j.
Poor Qui’s Buns
Roasted pork belly in steamed buns, Hoisin sauce, cucumber kimchee and green onion
Derek’s Favorite Chicken Buns
Deep-fried chicken thigh in steamed bun, Thai flavored spicy mayo, fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion, and jalapeño
Roasted beef tongue in steamed buns, home made peanut butter curry, fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion, and jalapeño
Peanut butter curry? Cucumber kimchee? Thai spicy mayo? Yes, yes, and YES. And that’s only a portion of their original menu. Between the three trucks, there’s probably about ten times as many options. I’m telling you, East Side King is unparalleled.