Celebrating our Diversity: Food Truck Fusions

It feels like every month there's a new festival celebrating the diversity of Houston, and any celebration wouldn’t be complete without food.

The variety found at the Great State of Texas Food Truck Festival gives a snapshot of one of most diverse food cities in the nation.

“It’s really diverse,” says musician Hunter Bond.

"I saw a Chinese truck that had some weird yogurt and gummy things in it- it was delicious!” Bond only had to walk a few yards away to explore a tamale menu where he is singing while waiting for his next meal.

Houston's melting pot of food and cultures began with immigrants. Today, top nationalities include Mexican, German and Vietnamese.

"We were a global city before we were a national city,” says Rice University sociologist Stephen Klineberg.

“We all come from somewhere else. We are watching these children of immigrants become 100 percent American, but we are keeping the connections to their countries of origin.” 

And those connections are also birthing new creations.

"Houston is well known now as one of the best places to eat in, extraordinary restaurants, largely because of the fusion of these cultures and cuisines from all over the world,” adds Klineberg.     

Fusions are a specialty of the Foreign Policy food truck where Greek meets Mexican meets Asian.

"We’ve got Mexican food, Korean food- everything always with an American twist to make it like home, Houston-style!” says Ray Rodriguez.

The Mexican-American owner has found a following by adding international flavor to familiar foods.

At the other end of the flavor spectrum, a German-born Texan dishes out his own fusions from The Sauerkraut Food Truck.

"I grew up on it; that was my food,” says owner Eric Morise.

He’s dishing out exposure of west European culture through his peppered-up versions of German fast food.

"We have jalapeños, [but] Germans don’t eat spicy food at all,” says Morise.

"Once I get them with one burger, I can talk to them about trying something German.”

Through the creative combos, chefs are also serving up an appreciation of other cultures.

The owner of Abu Omar is expanding across Texas with 12 trucks serving Mediterranean classics fused with local favorite, and the food truck crowd also checks out fusions like pork belly fried rice and brisket egg rolls nearby.

"Pretty much everybody is here different cultures- different races,” says guest Marie Ocampo while waiting for a meal at Wokker.

"We open up our minds to them, and they open up to us, and it’s really nice having that connection with every single person you meet,” adds her friend Myles Amante.

It’s a connection that gets stronger by the bite through unique foods fit for a uniquely diverse city.