On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," chefs Alex Au-Yeung and Cuc Lam join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss their various projects. Since Au-Yeung's last appearance on the show in 2019, he's expanded the dining room at Phat Eatery, his acclaimed Malaysian restaurant in Katy Asian Town; made plans to open Phat Kitchen, a cloud kitchen concept in the Third Ward; and partnered with Lam to open Yelo, an elevated banh mi shop that will be located next to Phat Eatery.
Au-Yeung says he recruited Lam for Yelo based his experience eating at Sing, the short-lived Singaporean restaurant she opened in The Heights, and the personal friendship they formed. Lam promises that Yelo will set itself apart by offering traditional banh mi as well as modern interpretations such as the Pho-rench Dip, which will be served with a side of pho broth and filled with ingredients typically served in a bowl of pho.
Yelo will open after Phat Kitchen, Au-Yeung's project in the Blodgett Food Hall. Slated to open in the next two weeks, Phat Kitchen will serve many of the same items from the Katy original, including curries, roti, and the restaurant's recently-introduced dim sum dumplings. The concept will also provide an inner loop outlet for Yelo and allow Au-Yeung to indulge his passion for Chinese barbecue with Pig + Duck.
"I spent quite some time in Hong Kong learning that back in the day," Au-Yeung says about Pig + Duck. "It's something I really love to make. I never got a chance to put it out there . . . at the cloud kitchen, we can do something I really love to do. We'll see how it goes."
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Michael Fulmer discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: burger-chan partnering with Click Virtual Food Hall to deliver its signature burgers and tater tots; chef Jane Wild taking a new job as chef and director of operations for Golden Bagels & Coffee; and The Union Kitchen permanently closing its original location in Southside Place.
In the restaurants of the week segment, Fulmer and Sandler visit two classic, Houston-area restaurants. First, they discuss their meal at Dozier's BBQ, the 50-plus year old institution where pitmaster Jim Buchanan has updated the menu to appeal to contemporary tastes. Then, they share thoughts about their recent meal at Giacomo's cibo e vino, the Italian restaurant in River Oaks.