Top 10 Ways to Eat Corn in Austin

We're thinking outside the cob

Roland's Soul Food (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

Suerte has a thing for corn. It appears in some form in nearly every dish on the menu, and they do an irresistible job of showcasing the ancient grain. Although there is no right way to eat the masa at Suerte, the tostadas are where it really shines in combination with overlapping layers of silky refrito beans, a nutty sauce, and kale.

When it comes to soul food, forget restraint – just enjoy a hearty serving, top with a square of goldenrod-yellow cornbread, and sop the sauce. Perfectly browned on the top and spongy throughout, eating at Roland's is not complete if you haven't asked for a second piece to clean your plate.

Elotes Fanny proves that corn in a Styrofoam cup is the golden child of corn dishes. With monstrous portions – the medium is substantial and only $3 – and a wall of sauces and spicy sprinkles, elotes quickly becomes as much fun to order as to eat. We recommend tamarindo, but you might also want to grab a fruit cup while you're here.

Corn nuts were fashionable circa 2000, and it's time for a comeback. Yuyo's Peruvian version reinvents a vending machine staple, but make them Texas-sized. Dusted with flavor, it is most satisfying to eat the corn one-by-one to savor the texture as much as the taste.

The menu changes with the seasons, but thank goodness the hush puppies are nearly always available – they're my siren song. Presented as pocket-sized clouds of corn, these puppies wallop a heady flavor of blue corn. When slathered in a tallow soubise that boasts pickled Anaheims and smoked tomato powder, it's heaven. The delicate crust melts, rather than pops, paving the way for layers of flavor to hit the tongue in all the right places.

Sunday mornings often begin with daydreams of Yellow Jacket Social Club's shrimp and grits in a patio setting. When dreams become reality, the rush of salty bacon fat, nubby-textured grits, and succulent grill-marked shrimp exceeds all imagination. The spinach is there just to make you feel better.

An early American staple, Johnny Cakes – aka cornmeal flatbread – go to 11 when sprinkled with grilled sweet peppers and cheddar and finished with a rivulet of crème fraîche. Each bite is a foil between the charred grill flavor and muted dairy sweetness, which is lovingly paired with the grainy texture of corn.

When you chop and crisp some rotund taco wrappers, it's difficult to say no to another handful. That's why El Milagro has you covered with their tortilla chips that come in both thick and thin so you have choices for all occasions – at just the right price.

If you've forgotten the joy of Frito pie, the Texas Chili Parlor has you covered. Revisit memories with a steaming bowl of those seriously crunchy, handily salted corn chips and a ladle of pungently spiced chili. When necessary, there's always a Mad Dog Margarita to cool off.

Cisco's has those perfectly greasy migas that balance cheesy, fluffy eggs with the crunch of tortilla chips and the hangover-curing addition of sausage and refried beans. They've mastered this art, so don't bother resisting.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

MORE Suerte
Dive Deeper Into the World of Mezcal in Austin
Dive Deeper Into the World of Mezcal in Austin
It's agave all day at these local bars

Veronica Meewes, March 1, 2019

Top 10 Constant Cravings: Bites
Top 10 Constant Cravings: Bites
These dreamy dishes are in constant rotation

Jessi Cape, Dec. 28, 2018

More by Jessi Devenyns
East Austin's Rocheli Patisserie Brings Haute Couture to French Pastry
East Austin's Rocheli Patisserie Brings Haute Couture to French Pastry
The Garcia family weathers multiple storms to open their paean to luxury

Dec. 10, 2021

Simple But Flavorful: Sardine & Kale Rillette Recipe
Sardine & Kale Rillette
A French dish refined with some Texan twists

May 29, 2020


Suerte, Roland's Soul Food, Elotes Fanny, Yuyo, Lenoir, Yellow Jacket Social Club, Emmer & Rye, El Milagro, Texas Chili Parlor, Cisco's Restaurant

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle