In Texas, residents are said to eat out four times a week on average and they’re spoiled for choice with more than 10,000 restaurants serving food from over 70 countries. Don’t leave town without trying these 10 dishes.
Being so close to Mexico, Texas has its own version of the country’s favourite food: Tex-Mex. The best place to devour delicious enchiladas, burritos and tacos is Tacos a Go-Go, famous for their generous portions, fresh ingredients and cheap prices. Described as having a “combination of rockabilly vibe and old school Mexican kitsch”, the restaurant serves up great breakfast plates and salads too. Experience it at any one of their four locations in Houston.
2. BBQ ribs
Nothing says southern hospitality like a good ol’ barbecue. And the place to get the best is at Gatlin’s BBQ according to the Houston Press, which has given them the Best Barbecue award twice. The eatery isn’t big or fancy, but the family-owned business serves up some incredible smoked meats. Make sure you order a rib platter: St Louis Spare Rib, Baby Back and Beef Ribs. Meat lovers can also get the platter as part of a combination meal for a selection of pulled pork, brisket and sausages too.
3. Fried chicken
Fried chicken is one of the city’s most iconic dishes and the local Frenchy’s franchise consistently offers a great, no-frills meal. With the proximity of Louisiana to Texas, Creole-style food has a huge influence on Houston’s dining scene. Many people flock to this joint, established in 1969, that’s loved by celebrities including rapper Big Sean. Famous for their crispy chicken recipe, the restaurant is regularly featured on radio and TV programmes.
4. Chicken fried steak
This indulgent dish is a tender piece of steak, coated with seasoned flour before being fried in a pan. The meal is synonymous with the southern states and comes with a side of peppercorn buttermilk gravy at Ouisie’s Table (below). The restaurant originally operated on the famous Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles for 15 years before relocating to Texas.
Crawfish & Noodles dishes up a Vietnamese version of this typical Cajun meal – a garlic, butter and spicy concoction that will satisfy your taste buds every time. The Chinatown spot is especially popular at the beginning of the year when there’s a bigger supply of crawfish. Customers like to pair the peppery dish with a nice cold beer.
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With Nutella and pumpkin on the list of sweet options, and mac and cheese on the savoury side, the menu at Seabrook Waffles Company proves that waffles go with practically everything. The difference is in the dough which is not the regular batter most Americans use. Situated in the bay area of Houston, the restaurant is also an art gallery run by six friends who were inspired by a trip to Belgium.
One of Houston’s top restaurants, Tony’s, is famous for this squash-filled pasta. With the name of the Italian dish literally meaning ‘pot-bellied’, don’t be surprised if you have to roll out of the venue after trying the pansoti. Influenced by Naples and inspired by Milan, the fine dining establishment has served seven sitting presidents, plus Mick Jagger, Frank Sinatra, Princess Grace and more.
8. Dim sum
Fung’s Kitchen claims to have the best dim sum in Houston. It’s usually served brunch-style at weekends between 10am to 3pm. Chef Hoi Fung has served famous personalities, such as the Queen of Thailand and the Houston Rockets professional basketball team, so guests at his restaurant have plenty to look at in their Hall of Fame.
Despite their humble beginnings in Houston, the fame of House of Pies has spread far and wide. They still vow to keep their homemade pies free from preservatives. The restaurant has become especially popular with those after late-night dining options, serving up cheesecakes, meringue pies, cakes and other treats.
10. Po’ boy
For a hearty sandwich with a Cajun twist, try a po’ boy (short for “poor boy”) from The Cajun Stop. It’s the southern equivalent of a sub or hoagie, that’s made with good quality French bread. A Louisiana household would use scraps of shrimp or beef it would have around. This restaurant, however, has many different fillings available: catfish, crawfish, shrimp, sausage, oysters, and beef and gravy. It’s a great option for a Louisiana-style lunch.
– TEXT BY LEAH SIMPSON
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This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.