Richard Glasgow — a white guy from a small town in northern Louisiana — studied economics at LSU, finished law school in Washington D.C., practiced law a few years in Little Rock, and then opened a food cart specializing in Bangkok-style curry. Yep, you read that right. And just for kicks, he calls his cart kBird, which is a family nickname for his five year old daughter Kate. Glasgow first grew interested in Southeast Asian cuisine while working as a green grocer at Washington D.C.'s renown Eastern Market. Many of his co-workers were Southeast Asian. He watched, ate and learned, and soon Glasgow was making Pad Thai like a pro.
"That's what started this all," he said. "I loved Pad Thai so much, I had to learn to cook it for myself." Soon he was cooking for his friends' parties. After a few years of practicing law, he realized that he preferred working with food to working with briefs, so he consulted a friend in Portland who runs a food cart, went up there for a week to learn the ropes, took a pilgrimage to Bangkok with his wife Aimee, ate loads of street food and took notes (this is something he'd done a few times in the past, as well), and came home to commission a food cart.
Like many food entrepreneurs, he figured the low start-up costs made a mobile restaurant a safer bet than a brick and mortar establishment, and the freedom lets Glasgow jump-start operations, even as he's still making arrangements. Kbird officially debuted at April's Sip and Shop in Hillcrest, and Glasgow plans to be at the May 3 Sip and Shop, as well. He's done a few events, has a few in the pipes and is looking for a steady place to park somewhere along Kavanaugh. Next week, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (April 19-21), kBird will be in at 611 Beechwood, in the parking lot behind Mrs. Polka Dot. Thursday and Friday hours will be 5 - 10 p.m.; Saturday hours will be 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Eventually, Glasgow envisions a long-term evening gig, Wednesdays through Saturdays, where people can call in orders or just drop by on their way home from work or after shopping in the neighborhood. Right now the menu has four items — Pad Thai, Thai-fried rice, and red and green curry. Anything can go vegan (there's even dedicated cooking utensils for such purposes), and some things can go gluten-free. Glasgow is partial to the Red Bird Curry with either tofu or pork, and he explains the difference between red and green curry as simply "red or green chile." Basically, green is a "wetter," spicier curry, using fresh green chile. Red curry uses dried chile. Green is more popular in southern Thailand, and Red is a northern dish. "Bangkok Style" is a sort of fusion, pulling from all over the country.
According to Glasgow, Southeast Asian food is more about prep work than actual cooking. "Thai's trinity is galangal (Thai ginger), shallots and garlic," he said. These are the base of the homemade curry pastes he makes — "which actually isn't the way they do it in Thailand anymore," he added. "Mostly they buy whatever is the best on the market, but Thais used to make it themselves." Other common spices are Thai basil, which has a licorice flavor, and cilantro.