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Insider Austin Travel Guide: Top Chef’s Paul Qui Loves BBQ, Oysters and Vietnamese Sandwiches

Chef Paul Qui rocketed to food TV fame when he won Top Chef Season 9, garnering even more attention for one of America’s best new food cities, Austin, Texas. Qui is executive chef at the Japanese-accented Uchiko, but like most Austinites, he’s crazy for traditional Texas barbecue. Here, Qui shares more insider’s picks like Austin’s best bánh mì sandwich and where to find great oysters.

Value Pick: Deckhand

“This is an out-of-the-way oyster bar and seafood joint owned by a Thai family, who harvest their own oysters. It’s so cheap and they have this crazy-good Thai green sauce that’s delicious with the raw oysters.” deckhandoysterbar.com

Top Pig: Barley Swine

“Bryce Gilmore won F&W Best New Chef last year and serves really nice, honest food. His specials change all the time, but anything he does with swine is worth getting"—like pork belly, with curried eggplant, couscous and pickled peach. barleyswine.com

Go-To: Lily’s Sandwich

“I like eating at this place, which is like a mom and pop operation. They make the best bánh mì in Austin with great bread. It’s simple, hearty and comforting Vietnamese food.” 10901 N. Lamar Blvd.; 512-973-9479

Best BBQ: Franklin Barbecue + Snow’s

“I love Aaron Franklin’s brisket at Franklin BBQ. Snow’s BBQ, which is an hour outside Austin, is also incredible, but Snow’s is only open on Saturdays at 8 a.m. and they run out of barbecue by noon. Same deal with Franklin’s.” franklinbarbecue.com; snowsbbq.com

Favorite Bar Neighborhood: East Side

“I always reside on the East Side of Austin so I like hanging out at bars like The Liberty, Shangri-La or The Grackle since my food trailers [each called East Side King] are there too. When I go to bars, it’s usually a shot of Jameson followed by a Lone Star Beer.” eskaustin.com

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