A Full Tray
Most of the dishes from the Liberty location.
Behind the Liberty Bar
A big beer garden outside the Liberty Bar is the perfect place to sit and sip a cold beer on a hot Austin night.
Our order. Yep, that's one of everything, and the ticket says BALLS.
Yaki Imo ($3)
Roasted Okinawan sweet potatoes are a classic street food all over Japan. The butter, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce glaze are not, but delicious nonetheless.
Beet Home Fries ($7)
Sweet candy-like centers surrounded by a paper-thin crust of crispness, eat these guys fast because they don't stay crunchy for long.
Thai Chicken Karaage ($8)
Traditional Japanese-style starch-coated, crackly fried chicken, with fish sauce in the marinade, served with Thai style herbs and condiments.
Fried Brussels Sprout Salad ($7)
A riff on the awesome fried brussels sprouts served at Uchiko, this version has a sweet and spicy chili sauce, cabbage, sprouts, and a bit pile of herbs topped with deep fried Chinese steam bun "croutons."
Curry Buns ($4)
How do you make vegetarian Chinese steam buns a little more unhealthy and a little more delicious? Deep-fry them whole. The buns come out like good fried dough, stuffed with fresh herbs and jalapeño, and a homemade peanut curry sauce.
Tongue Buns ($7)
Beef tongue cooked sous-vide until gelatinous and tender, then roasted and served in a steamed bun with herbs and peanut curry. Don't ask where Paul keeps the sous-vide machine. Seriously, don't.
Poor Qui's Buns ($7)
The most standard item on the menu, but executed flawlessly. Tender slabs of pork belly seared on the griddle until crisp, stuffed into a bun with hoisin sauce and pickled cucumbers.
Derek's Favorite Chicken Buns ($6)
The same Thai-flavored chicken karaage served in a bun with spicy mayo and herbs.
Liberty Rice ($4)
It looks simple, but packs in fresh and complex flavors. Steamed Jasmine rice with garlic oil and a slew of fresh herbs and ginger. This is Paul's girlfriend Deana's favorite dish (and the one she dug into before I could even get a photograph snapped).
Inside the Shangri-La Tralier
The original East Side King trailer. It's tiny.
Spicy Edamame ($4)
The Kewpie mayo and togarashi onslaught begins with grilled shell-on edamame from the Shangri-La.
ESK BBQ Prok Belly Buns ($8)
A new menu item, it was one of the few I wasn't totally into. The sweet tare glaze on the pork belly burns a little bit on the griddle, giving it a bitter aftertaste.
Avocado Buns ($5)
"I wanted to make a vegetarian buns, so fried avocado—why not?" asks Paul. Slices of avocado seared on the flattop served in a bun with fried shallots, spicy mayo, and herbs.
Ebi Ebi Tacos ($8)
Perfectly crisp and snappy tempura fried shrimp in a griddled corn tortilla with sweet chili miso sauce, Kewpie mayo, a ponzu-scented salsa, avocado, and herbs. When I asked Paul how he gets his tempura so lacy and crisp, he cracks a grin and says, "I just use a mix."
Fried Rice Balls ($8)
Think arancini with an Asian bent. Jasmine rice mixed with mushrooms, scallions, and cucumber kimchi, breaded in panko, deep fried, and served with a pickled jalapeño, chili miso sauce, and yes, Kewpie mayo. Hot and crisp with a steamy, tender center.
Buta Meshi ($7)
Sous-vide pork belly cubed and seared served with a grilled scallion, roasted corn tossed with Kewpie mayo and togarashi, and herbs on a bed of garlic and ginger-scented Jasmine rice. This is big enough for a meal.
Chicken Skin Buns ($6)
Who needs the chicken when the skin's the best part already? Crispy chicken skin stuffed into a bun with sliced Chinese sausage, hoisin sauce, and pickled cucumbers.
ESK Elotes ($6) and Green Curry Ebi Ebi Tacos ($8)
The same straight-from-a-box-but-who-cares-it's-freaking-delicious tempura shrimp, this time with a tomatillo salsa, and a coconute green curry sauce. The corn tacos are bound with Kewpie mayo and ponzu salsa.
Tongue on Rice ($7)
A tender, beefy, sauce-fest. Sous-vide tongue glazed in a sweet sauce and drizzled with tonkatsu sauce and Kewpie mayo with ponzu salsa, caramelized onion and jalapeño, and fresh herbs on garlic-ginger jasmine rice. It's a kick to the mouth in terms of flavor, but comes off remarkably balanced, if a little over the top.
"Pho" Buns ($7)
"It's sort of like a French dip, but Vietnamese," is how Paul describes is. Shaved beef eye round served in a bun with hoisin, Sriracha, onions, and herbs with a side of pho broth for dipping.
Deana Snaps a Pic
Paul's girlfriend/publicist Deana Saukum snaps a quick photo for their Twitter feed.