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Wedding Catering Dilemma

We're trying to decide on a menu for our wedding and we're having trouble finding caterers who understand Southeast Asian streetfood. The food is one of the most important parts of the wedding, so we really wanted to make it personal. My grandfather raised a family of 6 as a street food vendor in Vietnam.

The problem is, no one we've spoken to seems to understand Vietnamese or even Thai streetfood. One caterer asked me what a Banh Mi was. The venue for the wedding has a limited catering list, that includes:

Four Seasons Catering
Word of Mouth Catering
Crave
Kurant Catering
Creative Creations
Primizie

Has anyone worked with these caterers before? If so, what was your experience like? Were they willing to work with what you wanted? Tell me about what you had at your wedding. We're trying to get a sense of whether any of these places can really do Asian food.

So far, we've talked to Crave Catering. The turnaround for a menu idea was super slow, but they seemed willing to accommodate us. I'm just not sure they'll be able to execute on the food.

We've also talked to Primizie. And we got an Asian fusion menu (wtf) that was all over the map. (Bacon Crusted Quail with Avocado sauce, Wasabi crab cakes (more japanese than southeast asian). Also, I hate fusion.

Last question is: Should I just give up on this menu and do Soul Food?

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Primizie
1050 E 11th St, Austin, TX

Four Seasons
98 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701

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  1. Restaurants that inspired me when I thought about a more upmarket twist on Southeast Asian streetfood:

    Fatty Cue and Fatty Crab - http://www.fattycue.com/menus
    PokPok: http://www.pokpokpdx.com/menu/dinner/
    Whiskey Soda Lounge - http://www.whiskeysodalounge.com/home...

    4 Replies
    1. re: chubbybunny

      If the wedding is being catered in Austin those out of state places won't do much good

      1. re: amykragan

        I only listed them as inspiration -- as the type of food I was hoping a caterer could pull off and not because I wanted them to cater the wedding. As I said, the catering list is rather limited, and I was just hoping for some helpful suggestions from people who have worked with those caterers.

        1. re: chubbybunny

          Try East Side King (local) for southeast Asian street food inspired catering...

          1. re: Philip Speer

            her wedding venue only allows the caterers she listed.

            but, OP, if you find that you like one in your list, you could give them an example of east side king's menu, and the menus of your inspirational places from other states as well.

            hopefully it will work out for you!

    2. It is definitely going to be tricky finding a caterer from such a short list who "gets" what you're going for. That's a very specific genre that I don't think most caterers will have experience with. In general, I think Word of Mouth and Four Seasons both have great reputations - just don't know personally whether their folks will be familiar with that kind of food. Just FYI in case you were not aware, Primizie specializes in Italian food (they used to own an Italian restaurant here in town).

      I assume your venue is non-negotiable, but if it is, I think you'll have a lot better luck. You mentioned that the venue's list _includes_ the above - are there others? A (Korean) friend of mine had Korean-themed food at her wedding, and it was fabulous. Slightly fusionish, but not overly so. It was done by Ecstatic Cuisine.

      -----
      Primizie
      1050 E 11th St, Austin, TX

      Four Seasons
      98 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701

      1. If you're happy with the menu that Crave offers you, but worried about the execution - then set up a sampling appointment with them. They should be willing to provide you a taste if you're going to give them your business, especially for your wedding.

        However, I'm not well-versed with wedding/venue protocol - but I'm very confused as to why you would have limited catering options allocated by the venue. Why is it up to them who you choose to pay to provide your choice of food? I don't know, maybe this is normal and I'm just not aware... I just don't understand why they would feel the need to control your catering options. I certainly would not choose a venue that didn't allow me full control over such a thing, especially when the food you want is so specific and carries deep sentimental meaning for you.

        If you can't figure out a good solution, then maybe you could consider doing the Thai/Vietnamese food for your rehersal dinner instead of the reception. My favorite Thai/Vietnamese place in Austin is Mekong River downtown.

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        Mekong River Restaurant
        215 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

        3 Replies
        1. re: TheSprinkler

          hey sprinkler, it's actually quite common for venues to have a limited number of caterers you can choose from.
          some places only have one or two, believe it or not.
          i don't understand why, either, but unfortunately that's how things go.

          1. re: TheSprinkler

            What Dina said. I think there are some caterers that are a pain in the a** to work with, and some venues have very particular rules about what can and cannot be done in the venue (i.e., there are some venues that are a pain in the a** to work with). So most venues have whittled their caterer lists down to a few that they know they are comfortable with so they don't have to keep worrying about explaining their rules to new caterers and worrying about whether they will comply with them.

            1. re: Optimista

              and some only offer one "option"!
              it's a total racket.

              a good friend had major issues because her venue (in MA) only had 3 options, and two of them were way out of her budget.

          2. We used Primizie for our wedding and they were fantastic. But of course we wanted regional italian rustic food, and that it pretty much what they offered. But they were super easy to work with and very professional and organized.

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            Primizie
            1050 E 11th St, Austin, TX

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChrisStein

              I worked for Kurant Events catering for 5 years. I highly recommend them...Not sure that it will be authentic street food but it will be executed well, perfectly planned and beautifully presented if you are clear about what you want.