When it comes to cheap meals, you can’t beat food that’s served out the side of a truck or miniature Airstream trailer. And in no place is the food truck scene more thriving than Austin, where you can find everything from cupcakes to tacos to Indian cuisine. Here are the some of the city’s must-try food trucks.
may be home to great live music, but it's also home to one of the coolest food trucks in Austin. East Side King’s website claims its food truck fare is so good it will “make your eye roll back,” but I’d be willing to go so far as to say that it’s so good it will make both of your eyes roll back. The food here is varied and eclectic, ranging from fried Brussels sprout salad to beet home fries to curry buns to gizzard karaage (that’s deep-fried chicken thigh, sweet and spicy sauce, fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion and jalapeño). But even though they serve some high-class fare that would likely cost you $25 in a fine restaurant, everything here runs around $6.
Technically this place is a food truck, although the wide lawn, numerous tables and happy strings of lights might make you feel more like you’re dining at an open-air café than at a trailer. Either way, the food here is wonderful, with Indian treats such as samosas, naan, tikka masala, korma and saag gracing the menu. Most entrees are $10 or under. Open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.
OK, the first thing you need to know is that the doughnuts at Gourdough’s are more expensive than your average 50 cent roll of deep-fried dough. But that’s because rather than being intended as a quick bite with coffee, the doughnuts here are a meal — and a delicious one at that. Menu items include the Mother Clucker (fried chicken strip with honey butter), Flying Pig (bacon with maple syrup icing), Slow Burn (habanero pepper jelly with cream cheese topping), PB&J (grape jelly filling with peanut butter icing and peanut butter morsels) and Heavenly Hash (marshmallow with chocolate fudge icing topped with fudge candy). A doughnut here will run you about $4.25, but you’ll be full for the rest of the day.
There is a belief among certain sects of foodies that anything served inside a cone is going to be delicious. And while this theory tends to apply to sweet treats, it also holds true at the Mighty Cone, where deep fried chicken, shrimp and avocado come served in a delightful tortilla cone. Other options here include sliders, chili dusted fries and fantastic milkshakes, and the picnic tables in front of the truck make for perfect people-watching.
There's no shortage of breakfast options in Austin, and this is one of the best. This onetime taco stand has now expanded with eat-in restaurants all over town, but the original truck is still around and still the best place to go if you want a quick, quality taco. Open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (later on Friday and Saturday), the truck serves up fantastic homemade tacos with fillings such as green chile pork, fried avocado, fried chicken, smoked beef brisket, scrambled egg with fried poblano chile and Jamaican jerk chicken, all for $4 or under. Not into tacos? Fajitas, burritos, guacamole, queso and desserts are also available.