So we were on our 3rd day in Austin and our quest for gastronomic indulgence had progressed. Having revelled in homestyle Texas BBQ (with several refills at home) we had now attained a mood for gourmet. Our guts were groaning for high society, delicate flavors and a je ne sais quois. Indeed, we were feeling decidedly…epicurean. Perhaps a roasted Quail with sweet-potato salad and soft-boiled duck egg, or perchance some Prime Rib with farm-fresh vegetables? What we wanted was flavour, indulgence, pizzazz, creativity and gourmet. In other words, we wanted it ALL, but being RVers, we wanted it without the black tie and wallet drain.
Obviously what we needed was a food trailer. Yes, believe it or not gourmet food comes down to the streets in Austin. We’d seen a show about it on The Food Network about a year ago, and the whole thing had fascinated us. Appealing to both our nomadic lifestyle and our stomachs, it was one of our main reasons for visiting this city.
Food trucks, of course, are nothing new. The history of mobile food dates back to traditional nomadic tribes with more modern versions coming in the form of field kitchens used during the various wars. The first motorized food carts (“mobile canteens“) evolved around WWII and spread quickly from there to serve local neighborhoods. From your local hot-dog stand in the US to kebabs in the UK or satay carts in Singapore everyone everywhere has tried one at some point in their lives. They’re fast, friendly and satisfy a quick urge.
But here in Austin they’ve taken on a totally new twist. Young chefs with budding ideas and limited capital have moved into trailers to deliver their creations. It’s spawned a rapidly growling and completely unique sub-culture of fine dining on the streets, and there’s literally no limits to what you can find.
Our quest went to South Lamar and a little cluster of 3 trucks, Trey’s Cuisine (succulent kabobs), Odd Duck (specializing in farm to market gourmet-style cuisine) and Gourdough‘s (Donuts a-la-creative with every type of savory and sweet version you couldn’t imagine). Our prime rib kabob from Trey’s was perfect. Juicy meat, perfectly grilled vegetables and home-made sauce (the jalapeno-pesto was especially tasty). In the mood for Japanese, try Love Balls Bus or leaning towards Korean/Mexican, taste Chi’Lantro, or going all the way to African, dig into Cazemance. No matter what your penchant, you can find a place that serves it up street-style. There are literally hundreds of these delicious kitchens on wheels around and a few online guides to help you find your favorite:
- Austin Food Carts – Complete guide and map to finding your favorite trailer
- Food Trailers in Austin – Blog and guide to the local scene
We’ve only just tasted the tip of the trailer food scene in Austin and plan on going back many more times before we leave. This is, most definitely, our kinda eating!