After being away from Austin for months I found the old adage rings true “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” One thing that was lacking while I was in Deep South Texas was good Asian food. Yes, there are plenty of Asian buffets to be found. Those buffets were able to curve my yearning, but in Austin it is worth looking for more than just fried rice.
Finally back in the Capital City I set my sights on some the best Asian food I could fine on my meager budget. After my research I settled on Asian Cafe. It is not exactly a short drive (even from my side of town) so I picked up one my buddies and road tripped.
The place is not exactly easy to find as it is located off of Spicewood Springs, flanked by an Asian market and other stores adorned in Chinese lettering. Once inside, it is not exactly décor du jour. To put it nicely, it looks a little bland. The place has dingy walls of basic neutral color, high ceilings, a flat screen television on the wall, and a loud kitchen that could still be heard while sitting towards the front of the restaurant. Patrons order and pick up their meals at the counter
While appearance may matter for some, my buddy and I were not there to judge their interior design skills. We were there to have a great, authentic Chinese meal. The best thing about taking a buddy is that you get to try two meals. We ordered Szechuan duck, and Mongolian beef. Now, I am not a food critic, but the food was amazing! The Mongolian beef was a spicy affair (Note: I am not a spicy food type of guy). Still it was cooked well, served hot, and plentiful. The side of white rice and this tiny dish of cold spiced veggies with bamboo shoots was a beautiful complement as it made the spice of the main dish more than tolerable.
The Mongolian beef was admittedly a safe choice. The Szechuan duck was the main attraction for both of us. This was a whole duck cut into pieces served over a bed of greens. The duck itself was absolutely perfect. I can only describe the taste as a perfect marriage of tender brisket and well brine chicken. The outside of the duck was crisp with radiant flavor while the inside was moist. Both attributes mixed beautifully with the natural fat of the duck.
Despite our best efforts there was still plenty of food left over. It is safe to assume that any dish from Asia Cafe will be enough to serve two hungry people. The best part about this place is the price. The two of us were able to eat like kings for under $20. We are already planning our next trip back and maybe this time we will see you there.