Houston is one of America’s most diverse cities and it also happens to be one of the country’s best places for food. That’s thanks to a global-inspired culinary scene that blends the best of both cultures.
From experimental Viet-Cajun dishes to Czech pastries and classic BBQ, Houston’s got a food scene you won’t want to miss. Here’s everything you need to know about eating your way through the city.
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1.Spicy Fried Chicken
If you’re a fan of spicy foods, you’ll find plenty of spots to enjoy this popular menu item. From street-verified chicken places like Sticky’s to the fried chicken shack inside Sawyer Yards, Houston has no shortage of places to get your hands on the spiciest Southern food.
The savory chicken is a staple in many American homes, and this version of the dish uses a special blend of spices for a mouthwatering flavor. It has the crispy exterior of traditional fried chicken, but with the spicy kick that everyone craves.
For the perfect crispy coating, it’s important to soak your chicken in a brine made with pickle juice. This sour-and-salty brine will ensure your chicken is super juicy when it’s fried and also creates a deliciously crisp exterior.
Another key to making a crispy and juicy fried chicken is to use the right type of oil for frying. Using the wrong kind of oil will make your fried chicken too soft and watery, and it’ll lose its crunchiness.
2.Barbecued Beef Ribs
Barbecued beef ribs are one of the most popular barbecued foods in America. They have a rich and meaty flavor that can be easily complemented with additional flavors.
Beef ribs are also more fattier than pork, which helps to keep them moist and tender. It’s important to cook ribs at a low temperature so that they retain their moisture.
To check if your ribs are done, insert a toothpick between the bones. If the toothpick penetrates without any resistance, they’re ready.
Alternatively, lift the rack of ribs up by one end and see if it forms a crack between the middle bones; this means they’re tender.
The ribs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. If they aren’t done, leave them in the smoker longer to finish cooking until they are tender and fall off the bone.
If you’re planning to barbecue beef ribs, make sure you have these tools: a metal drip pan, aluminum foil, and a basting brush or mopping tool. You can use these to collect the liquid from the ribs and keep them from drying out in the oven.
3.Crispy Fried Shrimp Tails
Crispy fried shrimp tails are an excellent choice for appetizers. They are easy to prepare and can be paired with cocktail sauce or tartar sauce for dipping.
They are also perfect for grilling and broiling. Simply skewer them with toothpicks, brush them with your favorite sauce, and cook until they are cooked through.
The tails are made of chitin, a tough, brittle substance found in shellfish and insects that becomes crunchy when fried.
While they are generally considered a waste product, many people enjoy eating them because of their texture and taste. They are also a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Some chefs leave the shrimp tails on, while others remove them from recipes like salads, pasta, and paella to preserve their juiciness. It is up to the chef whether or not the tails are left on, but if you don’t want the extra effort, ask the waiter for them to be removed.
4.Fried Shrimp Paired With Remoulade
Remoulade sauce is a classic Louisiana dipping sauce that’s used to serve with fried foods like po’ boy sandwiches, boiled shrimp and fried green tomatoes. It’s easy to make and incredibly tasty!
Often served with fried green tomatoes, remoulade is a creamy mayonnaise-based sauce seasoned with Cajun and Creole seasonings. It can be served with a variety of other dishes, including fried chicken and boudin balls.
One of the best places to try fried shrimp with remoulade is Christie’s in Montrose. Its remoulade is made using homemade mayonnaise and garlic, making it a flavorful way to dip your shrimp.
Another place to get a delicious remoulade is at La Guadalupana, a beloved Montrose restaurant that’s known for their enchiladas verdes and breakfast tacos. It also has an excellent remoulade sauce for dipping your crab cakes, fried green tomatoes and more.
Aside from its tangy and smokey flavors, this Louisiana-style remoulade is easy to make with mayo, spices, horseradish and pickle juice. It’s a must-have for your next po’ boy or fried shrimp sandwich!
Fajitas are a classic Texas-Mex meal that combines strips of steak, peppers, onions, and fresh tortillas. They’re usually served with guacamole, sour cream, and salsa as part of a build-your-own fajita dinner.
The traditional version of fajitas is made with skirt steak that’s marinated for tenderness and then grilled to perfection. However, there are plenty of options these days, from chicken to shrimp, smoky beef, and vegetarian.
Another great thing about fajitas is that they can be customized to the preferences of every member of your family or party! You can add or subtract things like sour cream, avocado slices, and cheese.
You can also make your own fajita seasoning for more control over how spicy or smoky you want it to be. This is a great way to save money in the long run!
The best fajitas are made with a good amount of fresh ingredients. Using quality meat, such as grass fed beef from ButcherBox, will help you enjoy a healthy meal that’s both delicious and satisfying.
Tacos are a classic Mexican dish that have been embraced all around the world. From fancy-shmancy restaurants to food trucks, there are plenty of options for anyone looking for a delicious taco in Houston.
They’re a great source of protein, too! Whether you choose beef, chicken, or vegetarian fillings, most of them provide between 6 and 13 grams of protein each.
Aside from being a tasty meal, tacos are also a healthy option as long as you choose the right ingredients and don’t go overboard on the calorie-heavy toppings like cheese and sour cream. For a healthy alternative, try topping your tacos with refried beans and veggies.
For a unique twist, try adding kimchi or other fermented vegetables to your tacos. They’re not only delicious, but they’re also nutritious and add an extra dimension of flavor to your tacos!
Thanks to the easy pairing of Vietnamese traditions with Cajun flavors, Houston has become home to one of the most sought-after fusions: Viet-Cajun crawfish.
While crawfish is not native to Vietnam, it has been a popular staple of Louisiana’s boils since the influx of Vietnamese refugees to the Gulf Coast in the 1960s. Like Tex-Mex or Creole cuisine, this Louisianan dish has a distinct identity that’s rooted in its Southern roots and its proximity to new immigrants.
Throughout Houston, enterprising Vietnamese restaurants have created their own variations of this beloved shellfish, which is now a staple in the city’s diet. Here’s a list of some of the top places to get a taste for this tasty dish.
Trong Nguyen’s Crawfish & Noodles is the most famous of these restaurants, a James Beard-nominated institution that’s been featured in several food and travel shows, including Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. You’ll get your mudbug fix here boiled in a secret blend of Cajun seasonings, then tossed in mouth-numbing garlic butter. They also offer a Thai basil version that’s delicious, too.
If you’re in the mood for a spicy bite, tamales are a great choice. These traditional Mexican snacks are made of a corn dough called masa that is filled with a variety of meat, cheese, or vegetable fillings.
Tamales can be prepared in a variety of ways, including steaming or air frying. They are traditionally served with a piece of corn husk or banana leaf, which imparts a special flavor to the dish.
The dough inside tamales is called masa, and it is usually prepared by mixing dried cornmeal with a liquid (such as broth), spices, and fat, such as lard. The mixture must be mixed until it becomes a soft dough that is easy to handle and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.
The most common ingredient used in tamales is a type of corn flour called masa harina. Masa harina is made from ground corn that has been treated with lime, and it has a distinctive flavor. It can be purchased in many grocery stores, or you can make your own.