Kongsy Howard has been cooking since she was a 9-year-old girl in Long Tieng, Laos. "I'm a people person," saidHoward. "I love to cook for people."
Howard turned her love into a business. In fact, she is on restaurant number two. The business woman closed eatery number one after meeting her husband and moving to Bermuda.
After returning to San Antonio, the Southeast Asian grew tired of sitting around the house. So, her husband found her restaurant space at 10259 O'Connor Road. They called the space Long Tieng BBQ.
"The main course for here is the barbecue for here is barbecue," said Howard. "But I like to throw in a bit of my authentic food to let people know where I am from."
And customers haven't stopped coming into the small northeast-side business that sits under 30. "I just really don' t care to go any place else," said one customer.
Howard is a warm host who cooks from an open kitchen. The mother and wife is up early chopping wood to crank up the barbecue pit. "The barbecue is my specialty," she said.
The 'cue' is cooked slowly and infused with a touch of Asian spices. Long Tieng serves brisket, tender ribs and sausage. To compliment the meat, Howard will whip up a papaya salad blended with lemon, mud fish and Thai peppers. Order your meat or salad on a spice level of 1-10. When you reach 10 be prepared to sign a waiver.
"Some of my customers came by and they said Long Tieng is Asian. I thought you serve Asian food," she said. "I said okay I'll let you try some of my Asian dishes."
Howard adds, at least, three fresh dishes of her native food to the menu daily. She recalls cooking in the ground in Lao without electricity. Of course, the process is different in San Antonio.
Neighborhood Eats was served Howard's spring rolls which are said to be a customer favorite. Then, there was steamed fish and sticky rice. Nice and light on the stomach, It is eaten with the fingers. Our favorite eatable was the chicken curry. The spice was nice!
Just when Neighborhood Eats wanted to wobble away from this taste test along came the fried banana and homemade ice cream. Que Rico!
Long Tieng BBQ may seem hidden on O'Connor Road, but the accommodating atmosphere, crowd free space and cuisine make it worth the trip.
She even offers Laotian cooking classes to her customers.