Learn the inspiration and technique behind some of Chef Eric Silverstein’s favorite dishes at his restaurant, The Peached Tortilla.
“I would say my style of cooking is approachable,” says Chef Eric Silverstein, Chef and Owner of The Peached Tortilla and Bar Peached in Austin, Texas. “My inspiration comes from the type of food I grew up eating in Japan, which was a lot of street food, food from convenience stores, holes in the wall, and stands on the street.” But cooking wasn’t always his calling.
Before opening his restaurants, Chef Silverstein was an attorney in St. Louis. However, he felt a disconnect from the city, and in 2010, he stopped practicing law, packed up, and moved to Austin to start his own business. What began as a food truck has since expanded into two brick and mortar restaurants, an event space, and a full-service catering company. The food is delicious, ranging from fried rice to barbecue inspired bao.
Here are five dishes at The Peached Tortilla and the inspiration behind them.
“I grew up eating a lot of Chow Fun at home, which incorporates thinly sliced marinated beef, bean sprouts, and sometimes onions. Our Southern Fun is kind of like the Chinese version of Pad See Ew. It was one of my favorite dishes growing up so I wanted to bring it to everybody. It turns out that not many people have had Chow Fun.” Chef Silverstein honors Austin by using brisket as the protein, instead of classic steak or chicken.
“Mom’s Toast is a riff on shrimp toast, which is a Chinese dim sum dish I grew up eating a lot of. My mom made it for dinner parties and would fry the toast at home. I tweaked it a little bit for the restaurant by adding ground pork, but this dish was heavily inspired by my upbringing.”
“This Laksa bowl is kind of like a coconut curry noodle dish. We incorporated some of those Indian and Malaysian flavor profiles into a noodle dish. I used to travel to Singapore a lot, and they incorporate a lot of curry into their dishes, whether it’s the fried rice or different chicken marinades. It’s a pretty seafood-forward dish because we make our own shrimp stock and use that as the base. We buy shrimp shells and roast them off and then make a stock out of them with vegetables. It’s a wonderful base for the Laksa.”
“We call this dish the number 60 fried rice because when you go into a Chinese restaurant everything has a number. So it’s a play on that, and a play on the fact that we started the business in a food truck, with the route number of 60. We use day old rice, lap cheong (a type of Cantonese sausage), shiitake mushrooms, oyster sauce, and compound butter. It’s topped with peached pickled red onions and rice puffs for texture.”
“We were already making pork belly, and so I felt like we needed another way to serve it. Pork Bao kind of had this moment and we knew it would become a fan favorite but we wanted to make it special. At the restaurant, we use a really thick slice of pork belly, we braise it and then we slice it. It’s served with a hoisin based barbecue sauce, some green onions and thinly sliced cucumbers.”