Brisket, Tex Mex and pecan pie are all quintessentially Texan cuisine, but here are six more tastes that are typical to the Lone Star State.

Big bowls of Texas Chilli

Chilli, chili, chile… Whichever way you spell it, there’s nothing quite as tasty – or traditionally Texan – as this hearty meat-based meal. While chilli is a Tex-Mex classic (the original type originated among working-class Mexican women in Southern Texas), today a very specific version called Texas Chilli has earnt its status as the  Lone Star State’s official dish. Affectionately referred to as ‘Bowl o’ Red’, a true Texas Chilli doesn’t include beans or tomatoes – and instead is only made with beef, homemade hot paste, and a few spices such as cumin. With the city of San Antonio often considered the spiritual home of Texas Chilli, some of the best bowls can be found at Luther’s Cafe, Bolo’s and H-E-B Central Market.

Kolache Pastries

The influence of German settlers in Texas is well-established (and proudly found in cities such as Fredericksburg). However, the pull of residents originally hailing from neighbouring Czech Republic has also permeated Texan culture – and most notably its culinary landscape. 

The most popular example is the Kolache (pronounced kuh-lah-chee). While the European version of this pastry typically features sweet rounds of circular dough filled with preserved fruit, the American incarnation has evolved to make use of local ingredients like dewberries and prickly pear, as well as being transformed into a savoury variety made with spicy sausage, ham, or chorizo. Today, both old-school and uniquely Czech-Mex versions of Kolaches can be found at bakehouse across the state, with some of the best including Lone State Kolache in Austin, Weikel’s Bakery in La Grange, Hruska’s in Ellinger and and The Czech Stop in West.

The Original Whataburger

New Yorkers are all about Shake Shack, and West Coast-natives may believe that In-N-Out is best. But ask any Texan and you’ll quickly realise that they have beef with these claims – and are quietly confident that they’re the real burger kings. A visit to local chain Whataburger (which has 670 stores across the State) will confirm the source of this self-assuredness is not misplaced, with the Corpus-Christi born, San Antonio-based restaurant serving up a juicy (and giant-sized) menu with meals like the Original Whataburger, Hash Brown Sticks, Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits and Hot Lemon Pie. Oh, and Whataburger takes is brand jingle (‘just like you like it’) pretty seriously – allowing you to customise your order any way you like.

 

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Healthy fare from Whole Foods Market

The burgers may be bigger in Texas (as is almost everything else!), but fortunately, the Lone Star State also takes a larger-than-life approach in its eateries designed to appeal to healthy foodies. As well as a plethora of juice shops and bowl bars which continue to pop up quicker than a rodeoing cowboy, Texas is actually home to Whole Foods Market – with one of the biggest organic grocers in America, originally coming from humble beginnings as a health food store founded in Austin in 1978. If you need a break from bbq, head to Whole Foods and try its exclusive avocado ice cream, Skinny Dipped Raspberry Chocolate Almonds and a signature self-serve salad bar stocked with ethically-sourced, locally produced, and damn delicious fare.

 

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A bounty of wonderful things from @wholefoods #wholefoodsaustin. Count this as a lunchtime win!

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A ‘slice’ of the Frito Pie

Don’t let the name mislead you! Instead of pastry and chunky filling, Frito pie is actually more akin to nachos – made of a pile of corn chips with chilli ladled on top. Additions such as shredded lettuce, salsa, and sour cream can also be included. 

Although the exact origins of the Frito Pie are mired in myth and mystery, the oldest-known recipe using Fritos brand corn chips was published in Texas in 1949 – where it is claimed it was invented by Mary Livingston, the executive secretary of Fritos’ founder Charles Elmer Doolin, or his mother Daisy Doolin – the first person to use Fritos as an ingredient in cooking. Regardless of its roots, many believe that Frito pie owes its popularity to Texas high school stadium canteens – where it’s made by tearing open the bag of chips and offering all of the topping options in the condiment holder. 

Dr Pepper

While it is highly unlikely that a can of sweet soda is ‘just what the Doctor ordered’, it would be un-American to visit Texas without trying a little Dr Pepper – the carbonated soft drink, created in the 1880s by pharmacist Charles Alderton in the city of Waco. The beverage may now readily available across the world, but for an only-in-Texas experience, pair your burger with a drink in one of the special-edition bottle labels inspired by the state itself. Yes, in its quest to become the Official Soft Drink Of Texas, the good people behind Dr Pepper created 15 unique labels with artwork depicting some of the state’s most iconic landmarks and landscapes – and they’re only available for purchase in Texas! Be sure to visit the Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute in Waco too – a tribute gallery examining the history and memorabilia of soft drinks in a 1906 bottling plant.

 

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Nothing says Texas like Dr Pepper. Sign the petition to make it official. See link in bio.

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