Houston was recently named the most ethnically diverse city in the United States—and that diversity is reflected in its culinary melting pot, which combines Texas classics with everything from South African sandwiches to Korean braised lamb. Here are some of the city’s must-try dishes and food experiences.
In Houston, as in much of Texas, two food icons reign supreme: barbecue and Tex-Mex. The former typically features slow-smoked brisket with a dry rub instead of a sauce. The latter is somewhat of its own food group in H-town, encompassing everything from tacos and burritos to fajitas and enchiladas. No matter what Tex-Mex dish you’re nomming on, it’s best served with a side of gooey chile con queso. Those who believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day are in luck: breakfast tacos are sure to get your day off to the right start.
Houston’s diversity has given birth to some rather unique fusion foods, none more famous among locals than Viet-Cajun crawfish. Cajun influences combined with one of the country’s largest Vietnamese populations has yielded this succulent seafood favorite, made from boiled crawfish tossed in garlic butter and cayenne pepper as well as Southeast Asian ingredients like lemongrass, ginger, and Thai basil. It’s location on the Gulf of Mexico means seafood features prominently in the gastronomic landscape, particularly gulf shrimp, which are often served fried.
- Explore the diversity of Houston on a walking food tour of the downtown, Sugar Land, Montrose, or Houston Heights neighborhoods.
- Satisfy your thirst with a tour of Houston’s exploding craft beer and spirits scene through the lens of breweries and distilleries in the Woodlands, Houston Heights, Pearland, or Cypress.
- Combine a pub crawl through some of downtown Houston’s most historic buildings with stories of the city’s haunted history.