One state, six distinct cuisines, and 12 chefs…if you want to taste a variety of authentic Texan food, consider going to San Antonio, Texas, for the 126th annual Fiesta, one of San Antonio’s biggest and liveliest events. Fiesta San Antonio been a signature event since the late 1800s and it’s meant to honor the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto. Fiesta starts April 19th and continues on for 11 days. Find out more about the festival here: Fiesta calendar of events.
Here’s a highlight of the 6 regional cuisines you’ll find at Fiesta San Antonio:
East Texas: Piney Curtain
Of any region of the Lone Star State, East Texas has the most Southern influence. Considered the gateway to the American South, in those beloved towns, east of the Trinity River, Southern-style comfort food is king. Think sweet potato pies, peach cobbler, and fried food. “Beginning in the region east of Houston, one can easily see the slow, sweet culture of the deep south taking root,” said West, “It is especially evident in the food.”
The Gulf: Acadian Coast
Influenced by the French-Canadians known as “Acadians,” the Gulf is home to Texas oysters, when at their peak, have been called “the tastiest in North America.” These large, juicy delicacies are immensely diverse in flavor and vary in taste depending on which part of the gulf they come from. Prepared simply with usually just a dash of Tabasco, Texas oysters are in high demand – especially in “Oyster County” of the North East.
Central Texas: Hill Country
When it comes to Texas barbecue, smoke is king. From the beef brisket of the cowboys to the smoked sausage influenced by German and Czech immigrants, Texas barbecue has evolved over time. Compared to its Southern, Carolina, and Kansas City cousins, Texas, in part, has a Mexican influence. Textbook Texan barbecue sauce starts with a tomato base and brisket is served sliced, not shredded, to preserve the fat and flavor.“Texans know that we have amazing barbecue, and no one know this more than those in Central Texas,” said West. “It’s clear it is the most unique in flavor and presentation in the country.”
South Texas: Tex-Mex
Just as “traditional” Mexican food evolved from two great cultures of Spain and the natives of Ancient Mexico, Tex-Mex took its inspiration from American and Mexican traditions. Add beef to chili, cheddar cheese to enchilada s, and breakfast sausage and eggs to a tortilla and you’ve created a few of staples from its rich history.“The nachos, breakfast tacos and enchiladas we love are ours alone,” West said. “No, they are not Mexican, but we have a long tradition of cooking this way for hundreds of years and it deserves to be a part of the spotlight.”
North Texas: Cowboy Cuisine
Beef is a staple in all six culinary regions of Texas, but North Texas owes its prosperity to the cattle industry. In Dallas or Fort Worth, foodies can dine in upscale restaurants enjoying juicy ribeye steaks of high-quality Texas beef. Texas has a long history of exporting its choicest beef to the Northeast and contributing to the reputations of New York’s and Boston’s top steakhouses. While few name Texas as mecca for steakhouses, the best cuts of beef are Texas grown.
West Texas: The Green Chile Line
West Texas could be considered the Gateway to the Southwest. Influenced by the Native-American and Spanish culture, one boundary sets West Texas apart, and that is what West calls “The Green C hile Line.”“It starts with the Pecos River, which runs from New Mexico into Texas,” said West. “On the West side, green chiles are the staple; on the side more attuned to Texas, we do things differently.”From Adobo sauce and roasted pepper salsas to a variety of stews and more pork-centric dishes, bold flavors from chipotle and ancho chiles shine in West Texas cooking.
For more information on the Fiesta San Antonio Food Festival, visit the Fiesta calendar of events.
Tip: If you’d like make some drinks at home to celebrate, try these made with Patron Tequila.