South By Southwest is an opportunity for Austin chefs to showcase their talents to a crowd of locals and tourists alike. This year, SXSW will be hosting the SouthBites Trailer Park on Driskill and Rainey streets, bringing together some of Austin’s finest food trucks to a single convenient location open to anyone who downloads a free SXSW guest pass. The Daily Texan has compiled a list of highlights at the food truck park worth checking out between shows.
Art of Tacos
This taco truck is like any other burrito joint that offers the options of a taco, a burrito, a quesadilla or a bowl. What sets it apart from those other burrito establishments, though, is a combination of delicious handmade tortillas and perfectly cooked meat. The brisket, specifically, is worth trying. It’s a bit more expensive than the other menu items, but paired with some cheese topping, it’s worth the extra bones.
A staple at nearly every Austin event, serving up some of the city’s best Korean fusion, Chi’lantro never fails to disappoint with its flavor. The food was even good enough to earn an investment from the hit TV show “Shark Tank.” A menu favorite is the kimchi fries, which are basically just french fries smothered in kimchi and magic sauce. The best protein to choose for any Chi’lantro dish is undoubtedly their beef bulgogi, although for vegetarians, the tofu is plenty good as well.
Standing for “Dang F’n Good Noodles,” this Singaporean restaurant serves up exactly that. The dish to order here is The Scholar, which has marinated vermicelli noodles, spiced ham, pork belly and a fried egg. For vegans there’s The Malay, which is equally delicious with its satisfying coconut curry sauce and house-made tofu. Aside from the noodle options, there are also plenty of “outlier dishes” worthy of trying. The chicken adobo, a dish from the Philippines, includes chicken quarter and hard-boiled egg in a delicious sauce that packs a sweet and tangy flavor, making you forget you’re just eating a chicken quarter and an egg. Simple, yet exceptionally tasty.
The Happy Lobster
The Happy Lobster boasts an impressive menu of northern and midwestern favorites. The lobster roll, which is a simple combination of fresh Maine lobster, butter, mayo and a soft french roll. The lobster grilled cheese combines two of everyone’s favorite meals to a fantastic result. The New England clam chowder and king crab bisque are both great calls in the off-chance that a cold front rolls through SXSW, and the angry lobster roll will satisfy anyone’s spicy tooth with the addition of spicy mayo and hot giardiniera.
For anyone looking to quench their thirst after trekking across downtown Austin to catch back-to-back shows, look no further than Juice Austin. This trendy juice truck offers an exciting collection of green tea, fruit and root-based juices along with a nice selection of smoothies and nut-based milks. There’s an option for everyone’s respective craving and dietary restrictions. My recommendation is the Picture Pear-fect juice. The combination of pear, cucumber, mint and lime makes for a wildly refreshing and distinctive beverage.
Wholly Cow Burgers
When SXSW festival-goers get worn out on ethnic and vegan food, Wholly Cow Burgers will be there to comfort them with a good old-fashioned burger made with pasture-raised and hormone-free patties. The burgers are messy and delicious and can be enhanced with any combination of special toppings such as grilled jalapenos, portobello mushrooms or sweet-roasted red peppers. For people looking for a different beef option, Wholly Cow also offers a delicious Philly cheesesteak.