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Sonya Coté Loves Los Comales and First Chinese Barbecue

First Chinese Barbecue.
First Chinese Barbecue.
Photo: Gary K./Yelp

Austin is a food-obsessed town, but there are plenty of hidden gems that most Austinites have yet to discover. Eater is enlisting the help of the city's many food professionals to track down some of Austin's most under-the-radar destinations. Welcome to Dining Confidential.

Chef Sonya Coté has made a name for herself as an advocate for local foods since her time in the kitchen at East Side Showroom. Now she divides her time between neighborhood cafe Hillside Farmacy and her restaurant-on-a-farm Eden East. When not at her own restaurants, Coté seeks out family-owned establishments like Los Comales on East 7th and Asian delights like First Chinese Barbecue.

One of my favorite places is Los Comales on East 7th, and their caldo de res or de pollo. I can't go for a week without eating their soup. I'm actually there right now. It's so cold and rainy, and the beef stew is really hitting the spot right now. I always bring my cooks in here to do menu reviews or eat when we have a minute. Those two items are the only thing I ever get.

My other favorite place is First Chinese Barbecue over by MT Supermarket. It's been a tradition with my son since he was little. There's a First Chinese Barbecue in Dallas, in Richardson, which is where he was born, and that's where we would go when I was trying to teach him food culture when he was a kid. I go there and get their roast duck and marinated chicken, the sautéed snow pea tendrils, and corn and chicken and soup. My son always orders the salted fish fried rice.

I'm obsessed with Asian food, and every time I hear of a place I'll go try it. I've probably been to ever place around that MT Supermarket complex. I look for family-owned places, like here at Los Comales. The father and son cook, and the mom runs the register, you go in and they recognize you. I love the community feeling, and of course I look for places using fresh ingredients. That is one of my main things.

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Hillside Farmacy

1209 East 11th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 628-0168 Visit Website

First Chinese Barbecue

10901 N Lamar Blvd Austin, TX 78753