I really wanted to write an article about where all the trailers were going to be set up during SXSW so you could have a comprehensive guide, but it’s just not that easy. Some food trailers get great offers to wrap their units with corporate branding and move for one or two weeks during SXSW, others stay put in their own skin. Many of those who are normally stationary are also booking parties and moving for one-day-only events during this time of year. It’s a mixed up, crazy world in trailer-land during SXSW, so my best advice is to pay attention to their social media status updates before you make a special trip.
As for recommendations, I’m leaning on the results of a recent poll taken by members of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance as to which trailers rank tops with some of Austin’s favorite food writers. In the survey, bloggers voted for their favorite places to eat, drink and be merry. Within the food trailer portion, there were four main titles to be won: Best New Food Trailer, Downtown Austin Food Trailer, East Austin Food Trailer and South Austin Food Trailer.
With their picks, and my favorites, in mind, here are 16 trailers you won’t want to miss this SXSW:
The Peached Tortilla was recognized in multiple categories and, although hardly new with the first truck opening in 2010, it took home the title of Best New Food Trailer in Austin. The Asian/Southern Comfort fusion trailer also won in the downtown food trailers section. The Jalopy, Kebabilicious and Lucky’s Puccias all rightfully tied for second in the best trailers downtown section. Three Little Pigs, The Seedling Truck and Wasota African Cuisine all tied for second in the best new food trailers category.
East Side King won best East Austin Food Trailer and remains one of the most popular food trailers in Austin with three carts on the East Side (behind the Grackle, Shangri La and the Liberty Bar all on East 6th). With Top Chef winner Paul Qui behind their concept and multiple awards by media darlings, the East Side King will win your hearts with their beet fries, Brussels sprouts and pork belly buns. True to their motto, they are ‘so good, make your eye roll back!’ Other recognition for trailers owning tastebuds in the East went to Bits and Druthers, Love Balls, Arlo’s and Three Little Pigs.
Gourdough’s big fat donuts and Luke’s Inside Out tied to win the South Austin Food Trailer category, each having received multiple media recognition throughout 2011. Other favorites tied for second include La Boite, Lulu B’s, The Mighty Cone and Wasota African Cuisine.
As a bonus, Austin Food Carts gathered a list of downtown Austin food trailers that newcomers and SXSW-goers might find useful. South Austin Foodie put together a review of South Austin Food Trailers and I also compiled a review of East Austin Food Trailers that are but a pedi-cab ride away from most SXSW venues.
Speaking of pedi-cabs, keep your eyes peeled for the guys wearing mustard-yellow shirts with the Trailer Food Diaries logo for a ride to Way South Philly, Lucky J's Chicken and Waffles, the Peached Tortilla, Yume Burger, That's Amore and Boss Hogs' Kitchen.