Eight more tastes of Asia

Austin American-Statesman - - FOOD & DRINK - — Mike Sut­ter

If dim sum and In­dian cur­ries have you in the mood for food from the vast Asian con­ti­nent, here are mini-re­views from the Austin sub­con­ti­nent.

Chen’s Noo­dle House. Zhao Chen makes noo­dles by carv­ing them from a liv­ing loaf of dough into boil­ing wa­ter with light­ning speed, and no two are alike. The com­bi­na­tion soup brings to­gether pork, tofu, egg, black mush­rooms, carrot, spinach, potato and ci­lantro in an aro­matic beef broth in a big bowl with a low price. 8650 Spice­wood Springs Road. 336-8888.

Chon Som. Sep­a­rate menus of Thai spe­cial­ties and sushi. And they toss a mean plate of lus­cious, spicy pad Thai. 2013 Wells Branch Park­way, No. 109. 989-5559, www.chon­som. com.

East Side King. The manic brain­child of three cooks at Uchi. What do you call a place with pork belly and cu­cum­ber kim­chee on steamed buns? Or deep-fried beets with kew­pie mayo? Call that place Asian-eclec­tic, de­li­cious and about $4 to $8 per dish, be­cause it’s all those things, plus Thai fried chicken and a bowl of gin­ger-gar­lic-jas­mine rice. Be­hind the Lib­erty bar at 16181⁄ E. Sixth

2 St. www.east­sidekingaustin.com.

For­tune Chi­nese Seafood. The front part is a re­strained Chi­nese bistro with a teapot dis­play and red up­hol­stery; the back part is a bright ban­quet fa­cil­ity the size of a soc­cer pitch. The menu of­fers sev­eral hun­dred dishes, from real Chi­nese and pan-Asian to Amer­i­can­ized styles and dim sum. 10901 N. La­mar Blvd. 490-1426, www.for­tuneaustin.com.

G’Raj Ma­hal Cafe. Part trailer, part In­dian pavil­ion, part back­lit mi­rage when the ser­pen­tine bi­cy­cle dragon off to the side glows in the night. A full In­dian menu, with cur­ries, birya­nis, tan­doori meats and Goan spe­cial­ties. Need a night­cap? Clive Bar and Lus­tre Pearl are just down the street. 91 Red River St. 4802255, www.gra­jma­hal­cafe.com.

Lulu B’s. At $4.50, a banh mi sandwich at this trailer starts with a ro­bust, chewy baguette and a shower of crunch and color: carrot, daikon, cu­cum­ber, green pep­per, ci­lantro. It ends with grilled, bar­be­cued or lemon­grassstyle pork or chicken, with avo­cado and tofu veg­e­tar­ian op­tions. Plus ver­mi­celli bowls, sum­mer rolls and Viet­namese cof­fee. There’s a con­vivial, al fresco joy if you have the time, a book or, like sev­eral of our fel­low trailer trav­el­ers, a dog. 2113 S. La­mar Blvd. 921-4828, www.mys­pace.com/lu­lub­ssand­wiches.

Mekong River. This Viet­namese/Thai place in the East Sixth Street bar district has so many noo­dle, soup and stir-fry bowls that it’s eas­ier just to or­der by num­ber. A ver­mi­celli bowl with sliced grilled pork and pieces of eggroll? That’s No. 87. But No. 22 on the pho menu had my num­ber. Mush­rooms, brisket, red bell pep­per, round steak, broccoli, meat­balls, zuc­chini in a bowl the size of a wad­ing pool. 215 E. Sixth St. 236-8878.

Zen Ja­panese Food Fast. Sit-down noo­dle and rice bowls in the kind of set­ting you’d get if a feng shui mas­ter de­signed a Chick-fil-A. The place to go for a taste of sushi if your belly and pock­ets share a cer­tain empti­ness. Four lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing 2900 W. An­der­son Lane, Suite 250. 451-4811, www.eatzen.com.

Mike Sut­ter 2009 Amer­i­cAn-StAteS­mAn

Chen’s Noo­dle House packs a lot into com­bi­na­tion soup; with green onion pan­cake.

Mike Sut­ter Amer­i­cAn-StAteS­mAn

Saag pa­neer, front, and chicken masala fea­ture on the full menu at G’Raj Ma­hal.

Amer­i­cAn-StAteS­mAn FiLe

Bowls come fast at Zen; this one’s the Hibachi Bowl with beef.

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