Cultural Cuisine Goes Mobile

By Dylan Rasbridge

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Food trucks have become inextricably entwined with Austin’s food culture. The choices of food they offer range so broadly that whatever gastronomic experience you seek is more than likely available. The popularity of food trucks in the city makes it possible for entrepreneurs to serve food without opening a full-scale restaurant. Additionally, the number of staff needed at a particular food truck can vary from one to a dozen employees. Many owners attract attention by giving their trucks witty names, adorning the exteriors, and producing original recipes. Some food trucks on the other hand pay homage to unique flavors and strive not to serve the masses – but to cater to a particular palette. Many immigrants come to Austin from abroad, bringing their entrepreneurial spirit. Some of these people choose to sell food to members of their own diaspora, cooking it the way they did back home.

This week, I explored a variety of Latin-American food trucks, met owners like these and discovered authentic dishes that I would recommend.

Sabor a Honduras- 2538 Elmont Dr

When I asked what the best dish on the menu was, after a few seconds of thought, the cook told me it was their Tacos Catrachos. The word “Catracho” is used in Latin America to refer to Hondurans. The Honduran idea of tacos is more like what we call flautas or taquitos here. They are made by wrapping cooked chicken in a tortilla, frying it, then topping it with hot tomato sauce and cabbage. The quintessential Honduran food, however, is the baleada. Baleadas are flour tortillas filled with beans, cream, cheese and practically any kind of meat.  Both are delicious, and this food truck produces authentic versions.

Taquería Huetamo – 2905 Pecan Springs Road

Tierra Caliente is my favorite region of Mexico, so I was thrilled to find this truck. The owners are from Huetamo, Michoacan and opened the truck a couple months ago. According to them, the “Guisado de Huilotas (doves) en Chile Rojo” is the best dish on their menu. The dove has a strong and gamey flavor but tastes perfect with chile. Although it’s intensely spicy, it is hard to stop eating because of its deliciousness. Other traditional plates served here include: Puerco en Chile Rojo, Pollo en Chipotle and Chile Relleno.

La Fogata – 8513 Burnet Rd

This small taco truck embodies a piece of San Luis Potosí here in Austin. When there, you should try the Enchiladas Potosinas. They are different from typical enchiladas because they they are made with corn masa flour instead of wheat flour.

I ordered a gringa because I had grown fond of them from all my trips to Mexico. They are essentially pork tacos with cheese that are fried in the same manner as a quesadilla. Eating them made me nostalgic for being in Mexico.

Aurora Latin Food – 408 E. Rundberg Ln

Every night around dinner time, people gather front of the Monte Carlo Market in North Austin. There are upwards of 6 food trucks there, offering cuisine from Honduras, Venezuela and Mexico.

I checked out Aurora, a Venezuelan food truck, while my friend got a baleada at Antojitos Gladis. I ordered a Patacón with which is like a sandwich – except fried plantain is used instead of bread. It was filled with roast pork and melted cheese and a tangy, red sauce. They also gave me a complimentary tequeño which is like a fried cheese stick, but better.

Austin is full of immigrants, many of whom take advantage of the city’s progressive food truck regulations. Food provides an excellent way to experience other cultures and connect with people from different places. Go try some of these so that you can interact with this immigrants, enjoy a fabulous meal, and let your tastebuds transport you to a far away place without having to travel there.