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As The Great Food Truck Race has shown us, food trucks now roam the streets in small towns and big cities across the country. Austin was at the forefront of this trend — some of the best food in town, from barbecue to tacos to doughnuts, can be found at food trailers parked around the city. Top Austin chefs like James Beard award-winner Paul Qui operate trailers, so you don’t have to shell out much cash to sample their acclaimed fare.
For Austin’s massive South by Southwest festival and conference, Chef Qui curated a group of trucks to set up shop near the Convention Center in a trailer park of sorts called SouthBites. We took advantage of every opportunity to grab a bite at this outdoor food hall, and here are five of our favorite dishes. You don’t need a festival badge to try them — SouthBites is open to all, and the trucks are parked in different areas of the city year-round.
Tacos and Sliders from The Peached Tortilla: Go for the slider/taco combo with brisket (slider) and Chinese BBQ pork belly (taco).
Fried Brussels Sprout Salad from East Side King: Chef Qui’s super-popular trailers serve up Asian street food, Austin-style, like beet home fries and this bright, crispy salad.
Elvis Doughnut from Gourdough’s: Topped with peanut butter icing, caramelized bananas, a drizzle of honey and a generous helping of smoky bacon, this doughnut redefines over-the-top.
Tacos and Frito Pie from Micklethwait Craft Meats: This unassuming little cart smokes some first-rate barbecue. We couldn’t decide between the killer brisket tacos and the Frito pie with lamb sausage, so we recommend getting both and sharing.
Longanisa Tots from Be More Pacific: This looks like a huge portion of tots, but they’re so addictive that you’ll be finished before you know it. Dressed up with tangy banana ketchup, spicy mayo and bits of sausage, this Filipino mash-up is perfect late-night (or morning-after) food.
Bonus Bite (from Houston):
Fryders from The Waffle Bus: Yep, these are juicy little sliders with waffle fries standing in for the bun. This top Houston truck (it really is more of a bus!) made the trip to Austin for the festival and will be at SouthBites until Saturday.
Check out our On the Road Guide for more FN-approved places to eat in Austin.