Sunday marked the inaugural installment of Austin’s Far East Fest, which brought together some of the city’s best Asian cuisine to give hungry attendees all-you-can-eat samples. Despite it being Far East Fest’s first crack at the Austin festival scene, the festival succeeded in proving that it can go on to become one of the city’s more popular events in the years to come. In addition to the delicious food samples, great activities kept patrons entertained as they took the occasional break from inhaling tasty treats. Some of the entertainment included a live art demonstration by Sapporo Beer, a basketball tent with the Austin Spurs and a noodle-eating contest judged by Texas Secretary of State Rolando B. Pablos.
Naturally, there were a few convenience hiccups, specifically the long line for the drink ticket station, but these were issues that an expanded staff could easily remedy in the future. The lack of shade in the Austin American-Statesman’s parking lot also made the Texas heat a bit troublesome, but everyone seemed too ecstatic about all the food to care that much. Overall, the Far East Fest was a huge hit and went above and beyond in delivering on its promise of not letting any attendees leave with an empty stomach. That said, here are The Daily Texan’s picks for the best dishes sampled today.
Wu Chow — Honey Pecan Prawns
Fried to perfection with a wonderfully crispy breading and a delicious honey glaze, these massive prawns were easily one of the major highlights of the day. The chunks of pecan made them a little more specific to Texas, and a whole lot more tasty. At a festival that consisted of a whole lot of raw seafood, some outstanding fried prawn was a great change of pace in between sushi samples.
Rosarito — Ahi Tuna Tostada
There was a whole lot of fusion going on at Far East Fest, but this example definitely managed to stand out from the crowd. The sample featured chile toreado dressing, serrano-soy marinade, yellowfin tuna, avocado and fried red onion all atop a crispy corn chip. It was a great blend of Asian and Latin flavors and a creative way to serve raw tuna. The decision to serve this sample was a great one that surely encouraged attendees to go back and see what else Rosarito has to offer in the future.
Mama Kong Cambodian Soul Food — Prahok Ktiss
This was a pleasantly interesting dish consisting of spicy minced pork
simmered in kreung, which is a combination of herbs, and prahok, which is a Cambodian fish paste, and served with some fresh cucumber and rice. Despite looking a bit off-putting at first glance, this dish proved to be a wonderful aggregation of contrasting flavors. It also proved to be genuinely spicy, so the rice and fresh cucumber were extremely appreciated.
Cho Sushi Fusion — A variation of sushi and nigiri
Stopping by the Cho tent and watching the chefs work was a treat in and of itself. And then there was the food, which made the longer line completely worth the wait. As opposed to most other participating restaurants who served only one dish, the folks at Cho were cranking out a rotating variety of unique creations from behind their sushi bar. Some of the more notable ones were the cajun escolar with a phenomenal spicy sauce brushed over it, the shrimp nigiri with cocktail aioli and the spicy Texas roll topped with a chunk of raw tuna and mango salsa. They were also serving a great spicy tuna poke salad that was nice and refreshing in the midday heat. It was a cool move on Cho’s part to put all that effort into offering attendees so many samples.