Big and Tasty Map of the Best Food Cities in Texas
Texas is one of the culinary capitals of America.
It is blessed with proximity to the Mexican border, a sizeable immigrant population and more beef than any other state. This translates to a mix of flavors good enough to warrant a food-centric trip (or several).
But the days of stressing over where to go are gone. We've made a handy map of Texas food cities — and what you should try in each.
San Antonio: Tex-Mex
Let's start with the very obvious. If there were a single cuisine that defined Texas, it would be Tex-Mex. Yes, even more than BBQ because this signature fusion is a reflection of the state's history as a part of Mexico.
You'll find basically any type of food you can want in San Antonio, and it'll all be good. But people come here to try the delicious Tex-Mex, and it puts famous chains that will remain unnamed to shame.
Head to Market Square, the largest Mexican market in the country, and dine at Mi Tierra. Or get the fajita nachos at Rosario's.
The other most defining food in Texas is BBQ. As the top beef producer in the country, Texas has several cities that fight for recognition. But the general consensus is that no one can do BBQ like Lockhart. With under 14,000 people, it's really more a town than a city, but we simply couldn't neglect including it.
There are only four BBQ joints here, but they're so absurdly good that they manage to earn the town its title — even while competing with other bigger cities. If possible, visit all four.
But if time is not on your side, head to Black's Barbecue, which has been operated by a single family since 1932, or to Kreuz Market, a veritable local institution that has fed hungry locals and road-trippers since 1900.
Houston: Vietnamese Food
Many will be surprised with our food choice for Houston. But before you troll your way into the comments section, hear us out.
Texas' largest city provides a tour of the world through food. Of course, Tex-Mex, Mexican and BBQ are all available, but the city also shines in unexpected areas. Namely, Vietnamese food.
Given the large Vietnamese population in Houston (Vietnamese is the third-most popular language here), you have your pick of authentic restaurants. Go to Mai's for food with a side of history, as this was the first place to bring the cuisine to the city. When your heart calls out for the warm comfort of pho, there's no better place than Pho Saigon Noodle House.
New Braunfels: German Food
Did you know Texas has a German city? New Braunfels is located near San Antonio, but many travelers who don't know better miss the opportunity to come here and see a German-American heritage that continues to thrive.
Alpine Haus is the place to go for food. You'll truly feel as if you're in the German Alps in this little cottage that offers traditional foods like a sausage sample platter, schnitzels and Black Forest cake.
Dallas: Indian Food
Dallas beats out the competition for Indian food while drinking tea and penning a memoir. As one of the major cities in Texas, Dallas has a large Indian immigrant population.
In fact, Dallas has two of the best Indian restaurants in the entire country: Kalachandji’s and Mumbai Grill. The former is vegetable-forward and uses Ayurvedic principles when making its food. The latter specializes in Mumbai cuisine in a cozy restaurant setting.
Texas' state capital is often considered its best foodie city. Yes, you can find a wide array of cuisines here, but we encourage you to not ignore American fare. The city elevates it like no other place can.
Dai Due stands out, and we encourage anyone who eats meat to make it a point to dine here. This isn't your typical restaurant. In fact, it's not a restaurant at all, but a butcher shop. Part of the project, however, is a supper club whose menu changes daily.
What never changes is that every single ingredient is sourced locally. Even beer comes strictly from Texas.
Many people forget that Texas shares a long border with Louisiana, so Cajun food is actually pretty incredible in the state.
Many cities in Texas do Cajun well, but none compete with Beaumont. The city has a Cajun Trail designed to take your tastebuds on a tour of its best joints. If you have time at your disposal, this trail will leave you in love with the cuisine.
But if you're only here for a short amount of time, try Vautrot's Cajun Cuisine or Juju's Cajun Crawfish Shak.
El Paso: Mexican Food
A Texas map with cities that have a strong Mexican or Chicano culture would be very busy. But we'd head to El Paso the next time we craved real street tacos without having to use a passport.
Divided from Mexico by the Rio Grande, El Paso is 82.7 percent Hispanic, with the vast majority of this demographic being of Mexican descent. This translates into food so good that you'll think for a second that you're south of the border.
Try great tacos at Los Tragones Grill or go for tamales at Gussie’s Tamales and Bakery.
Waco: Czech Food
A tiny Czech community has left its mark on the road between Dallas and Austin. If you ever find yourself in Waco, head out into the small adjacent town of West, Texas. Here, you'll find the best Czech food in the state.
Though there are a few places to choose from, Czech Stop enjoys the most fame and recognition. It is right along the road but also has some delicious klobasnek. This traditional food from Czechia is now a staple of central Texas.
Gavelston is often put in as part of Houston, but the island city has its distinct identity. With a privileged location right on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, this is the place to get fresh seafood.
And we really do mean fresh, since it's caught right on Galveston Bay and often served on the same day. Just make sure that you're asking for local specialties. Gaido's is the place where everyone goes. Given that it's been open for over 110 years, we trust it to deliver quality.