Wiley Frank and Poncharee Kounpungchart (aka PK): Existential Noodles at Little Uncle
How does having a permanent location compare to running Little Uncle as a pop-up?
W: It's nice to go straight to work, as opposed to running around to a half-dozen places and packing up all our gear.
What advantages do the beef cheeks in your steamed buns have over other cuts of beef, besides probably being somebody's scarring middle-school nickname?
W: No other kind of meat creates the juice-dribbling-down-your-chin feeling that beef cheeks do.
PK, being from Thailand, are you surprised by the Thai dishes that have become popular in the United States?
PK: No, they're popular in Thailand, too—pad thai, pad see ew.
Which dishes bear the least resemblance to things you ate growing up?
PK: I'm surprised swimming rama exists here. It doesn't in Thailand.
Do you really have noodle-less pad thai, or is that on the menu as some sort of existential riddle?
W: It's real! It has more tofu and egg. We ate it at this riverside restaurant in Bangkok.
Little Uncle was called Shophouse until Chipotle decided it wanted the name for its chain of Asian restaurants. Were you sent a truckload of ramen noodles wrapped in tortillas as compensation?
W: [Laughs] The main reason we changed our name was that people were getting confused and calling to ask about the Southeast Asian chain I was opening.