Pop-Up eateries proliferate in Austin. But why? To experiment? To offer variety? To spice up a slow night? To preview a possible permanent kitchen?
Eaters don’t care in the end. They take it all in. Such was the case at the Kaki Lima pop-up at Sway. The Boston-based husband-and-wife team behind the Indonesian street-food fusion concept served 14 dishes from all over the islands.
The regular Austin Sway servers — always knowledgeable about their Thai inventions — couldn’t readily explain the dishes, so diners at our communal table had fun guessing with the program as a guide.
Vegetables played a large role, as did tropical fruit. Cayenne and sambal provided the heat. In keeping with the Spice Islands that were represented here, we enjoyed punches of clove, tamarind, tumeric, coriander, etc. Two hints of seafood appeared in the Udang Pacri Nanas appetizer and in the Krupuk — addictive shrimp crackers.
Slow-cooked beef served over jasmine rice turned up as the entree. The dessert? Coconut rendered three ways and rolled into a sort of crepe.
Is Austin ready for a steady diet of innovative Indonesian food? Who can say? We’ve readily adapted to many a cuisine, if done right and presented consistently.