It’s not always easy to rank the food trucks and restaurants in Austin. There are so many diverse options, it really is hard to decide what’s “best”. But East Side King is nearly always a top contender, if not a winner, when eateries around town are ranked.
The South Lamar brick and mortar East Side King is no exception to the quality that many have come to know and love from the East Side King food trucks scattered around town. The Asian fusion menu comes packed with delicious options, and for the quality the prices are not too bad. Expect to spend around the same or just a little bit more than the average food truck.
When I first went to the East Side King (I think the truck at Liberty Lounge) I wasn’t too impressed. The food itself was excellent, but the portions were way to small for my liking.
I’m pleased to say this minor complaint seems to have been fixed, my order at the South Lamar East Side King (ESK) was plentiful, not a huge plate, but for $8 I still got a decent amount for the price, and the quality more than made up for my all too common complaint that the dish didn’t provide at least double my daily calorie intake.
Walking in to East Side King, it doesn’t look like much, but with it’s reputation already established, lets face it, ESK doesn’t need to peacock. It also adjoins the excellent Irie Bean coffee bar, one of my favorite outdoor working locations in Austin. They share a cute enclosed back patio that feels surprisingly tranquil and open, despite the close proximity to the heavy Austin SoLa traffic.
The food arrived quickly, and it looked amazing. I ordered the Thai Chicken Kara-agé and a side of the liberty rice, both of which were delicious. The Thai Chicken Kara-agé is a lightly battered chicken thigh (sans bone) in a sweat and sour sauce topped with some herbs, onions and jalapenos. The Liberty rice is simple but tasty jasmine rice, topped with a little cilantro and jalapenos. I wouldn’t normally go out of my way to mention rice specifically, but in this case, it was excellent, and was a great accompaniment to mix with the Thai chicken. The simple looking menu hides just how great the food from East Side King actually tastes. The menu items sound pretty basic, but once they hit your plate you might end up wondering how these culinary magicians created something that tastes so excellent from such basic ingredients!
If the food itself wasn’t appetizing enough, the East Side King on South Lamar offers some fine local beers as well, the 512 Pale Ale making a refreshing entrance to my afternoon, and Irie Bean is the perfect place to finish off the meal!
The biggest reason I love East Side King so much right now is that it is keeping up the quality of the food. There are a ton of new food trucks opening up around the city, many of which are not really offering anything spectacular (Though many are seemingly attempting to charge restaurant prices). Sure, the food trucks that don’t deliver quality tend to fail fast with so many choices available in Austin, but at the same time, seeing owners focus on quality over a quick buck is always refreshing.
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