Where to start among the city’s many food-truck offerings? We’ve done the fork-lifting for you.
1 of 6Photo: Robbie Caponetto
Five Food Trailer Favorites
These days, you can take a tour of world flavors without leaving central Austin. Foods from around the globe—India, Korea, Argentina, Vietnam, Japan, Italy, and more—are all cooked up inside the many trailers peppering the city streets. Why so many choices? For one thing, we’re talking Austin, a place of diversity and enterprise. Secondly, aficionados are leaning toward eating experimentally and casually. From the many, here are our faves.
2 of 6Photo: Robbie Caponetto
Sit under a giant live oak at this Vietnamese fast-food trailer, and enjoy avocado or tofu summer rolls, lemongrass pork vermicelli, and Báhn Mì sandwiches (flash-grilled marinated chicken with daikon, carrot, cucumber, cilantro, and chili, all tucked into a crusty baguette). Wash it all down with a Vietnamese coffee (softly sweetened with condensed milk) or tropical smoothie.
One of the early arrivals on the Austin trailer scene, Flip Happy is a vintage Avion that opened its windows in 2006. Owners Nessa Higgins and Andrea Day Boykin blazed a path for a long line of other mobile-food pioneers. Past victors on the Food Network’s Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, Andrea and Nessa whip up sweet and savory crepes, stuffed with such delights as Gruyère cheese, shredded pork, caramelized onions, and Nutella and bananas. Take just one bite of these French johnnycakes and you’ll believe the slogan: “Made from Scratch with Love.” Be sure to check the Web site before visiting, as the hours change on a regular basis (often open until 9 on Friday evenings).
You can’t miss this bright red mobile Mmmpanada truck in ever-changing locations in the heart of Austin’s downtown. Kristen and Cody Fields, two artisan empanada makers, use only fresh ingredients for their modern take on traditional Argentine fare. One empanada version combines asparagus, prosciutto, and blue cheese; another pairs soy chorizo with Brie; a sweet take comes coated in cinnamon over marshmallows and chocolate, making you long for a campfire.
It was inevitable that Austin’s vibrant eat-local movement would eventually collide with the city’s food-trailer mania. The result? The Odd Duck Farm to Trailer, where a half-dozen locally sourced, changing-daily dishes are created every Tuesday through Saturday evening. Savor creamy cauliflower soup while noshing on a side of grilled broccoli with goat ricotta and farm egg aïoli. Odd Duck fans swear by the melt-in-your-mouth braised duck and pork belly sliders.
The side of this gleaming Airstream reads: “Big. Fat. Donuts.” So when you need a little something to boost your blood sugar, this south Austin sweet spot will do the trick. The 25-plus types of doughnuts at Gourdough’s are fried to order and emerge from the truck piping hot. If you’re a chocoholic, order the Black Out, an over-the-top combo of brownie batter, fudge icing, and chocolate-covered brownie bites. A fruit lover? Go with the Miss Shortcake, a simple funnel-like hole drenched in cream cheese icing and fresh-cut strawberries. Experimental? Try Slow Burn, a combo of habanero pepper jelly with a topping of cream cheese.
1219 South Lamar Blvd., gourdoughs.com, $4.25 per doughnut (add $1 each for meat or ice cream)