North and Northwest

photo by John Anderson

There’s no firefighting Kurt Russell here, but there are tremendous pizza pies – bubbly crust, ooey gooey cheese, and badass toppings – all made in a shipping container. And what if we told you they also crafted thin and crispy Liège waffles into breakfast sammies? It’s not fiction; it’s BackDraft.

10001 Metric Blvd.

It’s painfully easy to dine out. It’s hard to feel good about it. Thankfully, this Vietnamese vegan food truck – owned and operated by a collective of Buddhist nuns and volunteers who use homegrown vegetables to brighten up their delicious, nutritious, and mind-bogglingly cheap bánh mì, bao, and vermicelli – is good for you and the world.

2301 W. Parmer Lane

courtesy of Carabao Express

Though Filipino cuisine is meant to be a messy affair, owners Nick and Coleen Saunders tidy up that delicious culinary collision to offer a convenient and downright cute package in this casual, modern take on Filipino food. Start off with the Boodle Box to sample it all, then order it again and again.

2309 W. Parmer

Anchoring one end of a Highway 290/Cameron Road shopping mall is, hands down, our favorite poke place in town. Heartily portioned and incredibly fresh, options abound for the beautiful bowls. Make it raw, pescatarian, keto, gluten-free, vegan, or cooked. Make it spicy or, heck, make it nachos. It’s perfect to-go, but dine in to enjoy a one-of-a-kind Kerry Awn mural with your rainbow lunch.

6448 Hwy. 290 E. Ste. A-100

photo by Jessi Cape

The most dependable lobster roll joint in Austin, Garbo’s not only delivers the East Coast classic in two styles (hot with butter in the Connecticut roll; cold with mayo in the Maine roll), but other classic offerings like a rich lobster bisque, lobster mac & cheese, fish sandwich, and crab cakes. It’s a wonderful taste of the ocean in our landlocked city.

12709 N. MoPac

It doesn’t get much better than multiple momos (dumplings) and mountains of (gobi) Manchurian, but throw in just about every classic Nepalese and Indian dish your heart desires, and you’ll be sending love letters to this Spicewood Springs shopping center spot.

8650 Spicewood Springs Rd. #148

John Anderson

photo by Jessi Cape

We’re forever grateful that this restaurant – named for the owners’ adolescence spent in China’s Three Gorges region – opened just before the pandemic hit. Without their delicious eggplant in garlic sauce, quarantine would’ve been way worse. The large menu features lots of hot pot, braised offal, fish dishes, and a killer mapo tofu.

8557 Research Blvd. #144

Wait, seafood from a truck in the parking lot of a brewery? At Circle Brewing near the Q2 Stadium, to be precise? Yes, because chef Davis Turner’s got the direct Gulf hookup and creates such succulent, sea-sourced wonders (and equally craveable sides) that he’s in demand all over Central Texas.

440 E. St. Elmo

photo by John Anderson

courtesy of Julie's Noodles

Soup dumplings might be a more recent Austin fad, but they are a delicious, amazing fad that we hope sticks around. Those hot, plump, pillowly delights are only the beginning at Julie’s: Quality Chinese cuisine can be found up and down the menu. But seriously, those dumplings.

8557 Research Blvd. #110

Born out of necessity and innovation, Little Ola’s picked up the Olamaie biscuit mantle and ran with it, slinging little bundles of Southern-style love in the form of tomato, egg, and cheese and fried chicken biscuit sandwiches – not to mention breathtaking desserts from pastry chef Jules Stoddart – at the original Olamaie location and at Butler Pitch & Putt. Now Little Ola is all grown up and has a place of her own in Wells Branch. Mamaw would be proud.

14735 Bratton Ln.

photo by Yvette Benhamou

courtesy of NG Cafe

Known for the 11 options of delectable bánh mì made with co-owner Nguyet Quach’s baked-fresh-daily baguettes (order à la carte to dip in soup), the menu also offers an assortment of Thai classics and scratch bakery goods. Step inside for their bonus Vietnamese menu. And if you’ve never had a brunch meatball with tomato sauce and fried egg, what are you waiting for?

13000 N. I-35 #200

One of the few Palestinian restaurants in town, this cafeteria-style restaurant features fare from several Middle Eastern regions. They’re experts in classics like shawarma, falafel, baba ganoush, and more, but the coriander potatoes (fried and mixed with cilantro, garlic, sriracha, and lemon) are a can’t-miss. And the bakery? So many baklava choices, you’ll need to make several trips.

11220 N. Lamar Blvd.

courtesy of Salty Cargo

With two locations – a stand at Hana Food Market and the truck currently parked at Celis Brewing – you’ve got double the chance to become addicted to their Hawaiian Asian fusion dishes like mochiko fried chicken, char siu braised ribs, and Shanghai lumpia.

10001 Metric Blvd.

There’s nothing dainty about this Korean bar-food joint, so come ready to eat some of the best fried chicken anywhere, sip 50 different flavors of soju, and watch K-pop music videos on multiple screens. Their service team is wonderful, and the bulgogi kimchi fries are addictive (add brisket on the weekend). Familiar classics like dakgalbi and seafood pancakes join several kinds of hotpot, ensuring everyone leaves stuffed and happy.

9515 N. Lamar Blvd. #230

courtesy of Seoulju Korean Kitchen & Bar

photo by John Anderson

Vietnamese cuisine is great. Texas barbecue is great. Guess what happens when these two meet? You get some mind-blowing creations, like a brisket bánh mì that packs a wallop. Frito pie, covered fries, and loads of meat-packed dishes are ready for the eating at this most Texas of establishments.


Gone are the days when greasy burgers were beer guzzlers’ best friend. Beer has evolved. Food has evolved. You’ve evolved. Showcasing an impressive fusion of South American and Southeast Asian flavors through rib-eye skewers, pork buns, and nam khao tod, this food truck is bringing Laotian flavors to the world that needed them most.

415 E. St. Elmo Rd

Courtesy of SXSE Food Co.

Succulent slabs of meat immersed in blazing hot broth, crisp veggies buried in mountains of tender noodles, umami tinged with spiciness in effortless harmony. Pho is the perfect food when it’s done right – and it’s executed flawlessly here. Modest in appearance, generous with portions, and glorious no matter what you order.

1601 Ohlen Rd. Ste. E

From the moment you spot the rows of roasting ducks hanging in the foyer, you know Din Ho is here to party. This northern mall Chinese favorite would earn their place in the hall of fame for their whole roasted pig alone, but, honestly, you can’t go wrong with the pea shoots either. Inducted in 2018.

8557 Research #116

Photo by John Anderson


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