After a week in Austin for South By SouthWest (SXSW), I strongly suggest you 1) at some point attend this festival and 2) make a trip to Austin. Obviously you can’t do the first without the second, but Austin deserves a separate trip if for nothing more than the burgeoning food scene. As I was there to attend SXSW, I didn’t have much time for sit down dinners and ended up mostly eating out of food trucks. This is by no means a reason to complain. The mix of Mexican and Asian (as well as local BBQ) flavors put the food truck scene up there with any in the US. It’s also nice that unlike New York, the are able to be centrally located without fear of ticketing. Below is a rundown of what and where I ate. Special thanks to Austin blogger Jane Ko of A Taste of KoKo for recommendations.
Chi’Lantro If you only have time for one food truck meal, make it this one. Great blend of Korean and Mexican flavors and they don’t hold back on the spice. The Kimchi Fries come smothered in cheese, onions, caramelized kimchi, sriracha and topped with pork belly. Yes they’re decadent and you may need a nap after, but the blend of flavors is incredible. Also available in burrito form. The Tacos are similarly amazing and you’ll definitely want the spicy kimchi which puts these up there with the best tacos I’ve eaten.
The Peached Tortilla offers another great blend of Asian and Mexican flavors, although here it’s more southeast Asian flavors. Make sure to try the Banh Mi Tacos which is a fun take on the classic sandwich. The Pad Thai Tacos I could take or leave as the crunch peanuts add a funny texture. Not bad though.
Three Little Pigs is another truck offering twists on the taco, though most are Americanized here. To be fair, I tried their free offerings for conference attendees, which were smaller and may not represent their best work. Still, I found the Asian Fried Chicken a little dry but still a nice spicy / sweet flavor combo. The pork belly slider was tender and I enjoy the sweet maple glaze.
Bar-B-Q Heaven may not score points for originality, but the Brisket Sandwich has all the moist, tanginess you look for in a trip to the southwest.
Yume Burger offers Japanese burgers from The Peached Tortilla crew. I tried The Original for lunch one day which is basically a fast-food style cheeseburger with jalapeno-onion relish. It’s quite good, but I would have liked more spice form the relish.
Mmmpanadas offers a variety of “gourmet” empanadas. I’ve spent some time in Argentina and love these things, but my Green Chile Chicken was a little plain and the pasty a little too soft.