Thai-Kun is a new food truck that has been hitting the Austin scene hard since opening day on March 1, 2014. The iconic food truck is a spicier version of one of Austin’s favorite food trucks, East Side Kings. Not only is it spicier but, it’s owned by the same guy who created those mouth watering dishes from ESK filled with jalapenos, cilantro, and juicy chicken (or beef tongue). Austinites love their spicy food so it’s no wonder that this creative, funky trailer is rising to the top of the charts quickly and was named #8 Best New Restaurant 2014 by Bon Appetit.
WARNING! If you are hungry right now, this will only make you want to leap from your desk and rush to Thai-Kun outside of the Wonderland bar (beware, they open late). If you take the trek down to the East Side, go ahead and splurge. Buy the whole menu, it will cost you a whopping $56 to try everything they’ve got to offer. Try the Beef Panang Curry, it’s loaded with spicy “beef chuck simmered in homemade panang curry, Kaffir lime leaf, steamed jasmine rice, and holy basil” (tip: add the fried egg for an extra $1). This dish packs a serious punch and is not for the faint of the heart.
Vegetarians rejoice! There are a couple of vegetarian options, even a few that are vegan and gluten-free. Try the Grilled Bread with Peanut Curry Sauce, it’s a “grilled baguette from Easy Tiger served with Thai’s peanut curry sauce, and pickled salad”. Or, go for the Cabbage Two Ways which is a vegan and gluten-free option. If you are going to survive here in Austin it is essential that you offer vegetarian and gluten-free options.
So, why are we even talking about all this food? Why is Thai-Kun important to Austin? That’s easy, because they are a local business that is improving the economy around Austin. Not only have Thai Changthong and Paul Qui (co-owners) been making delicious, mouth watering dishes but, they have been supporting other local business owners around the area. By posting up a food truck outside of a local bar, they have successfully brought business to that particular bar and the area as a whole. East Austin is an up and coming neighborhood that historically has been inhabited by low-income, struggling families. With the new food truck scene booming in East Austin there have been new housing developments and a range of local restaurants and yoga studios popping up. The sleepy, forgotten East Side is now a haven for hipsters and food lovers alike.
The moral of the story is this: Thai-Kun and East Side Kings are not only extremely successful at preparing authentic Thai food but, they have been spicing up the community with the money that is being poured back into the local economy. If you live in Austin or are just visiting for a few days, Thai-Kun is a must. Get there before they get too big, there are rumors that they are planning a franchise and want to go national.