Let’s face it: Austin is weird, and the city’s residents are proud of it. From graffiti galleries to turtle races, Austin dances to a much different drummer than the rest of Texas. Between touring the city’s famous yard art and watching a million bats emerge at sunset from under Congress Avenue Bridge, tantalize your taste buds with the best of Austin’s weirdest (but tastiest) foods.
Who Don-ut? Gourdough’s Public House
Who says you can’t eat doughnuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Gourdough’s Public House has a menu of doughnut burgers and entrees alongside its sweet confections. Feeling hungry (or hungover)? Order the Drunken Hunk: It’s a huge doughnut topped with bacon-wrapped meatloaf, fried egg, a potato pancake, candied jalapenos and your choice of barbecue sauce.
Where the Wild Things Are: Hudson’s on the Bend
You don’t have to limit your appetite to just one unique item at Hudson’s on the Bend. The stone ranch house-turned-restaurant has a menu chock full of wild game meats like rabbit tenders, marinated buffalo and venison. For something really out of the ordinary, try the smoked rattlesnake sausage served up with jalapeno sauerkraut, or the wild boar quesadilla accompanied by red onion marmalade.
Just Jar It: Uchiko
If dinner served in a mason jar sounds a little weird, you’ll soon forget its strangeness when you visit Uchiko. First opened in 2010, the restaurant features contemporary, farmhouse-fresh Japanese cuisine. Order the Jar Jar Duck and pop open the lid; your mouth will water from the aromas of tender duck leg, bitter endive, sweet pickled kumquat and rosemary wafting from the jar.
Fish With a Twist: Shoal Creek Saloon
If you love chicken-fried goodness, you’ll want to check out “the Brian” from Shoal Creek Saloon’s secret menu. The dish centers around a meaty tuna steak batter-dipped and deep fried. The Brian comes with a heaping serving of mashed potatoes, country gravy and green beans. The saloon sits on the banks of Shoal Creek and is a favorite haunt of sports fans, lobbyists and “Keep Austin Weird” enthusiasts.
Treats From the East: Love Balls Bus
The Love Balls Bus brings Japanese street food to the avenues of Austin. Their specialty? Tokoyaki: pan-fried pancake balls filled with chopped octopus, ginger and scallions. Choose from four creative toppings, including Ponzu—ponzu-marinated bean sprouts dusted with red pepper seasoning—and Caprese—mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes and basil-pesto mayo. Tokoyaki is only on the menu Thursday through Sunday, but you’ll find other unusual delights during the rest of the week. Try the Tako Kara-age—deep-fried octopus—or the Buta Kimchi—pork belly and kimchee stir-fried and served up with a rice ball.
In a Pig’s Ear: Foreign and Domestic
Tucked in an unassuming building in midtown, Foreign and Domestic features elegant and unusual fare at moderate prices. Fried pig’s ear with Brussels sprouts makes a piquant surprise for the palate with its unusual combination of barbecue pickles, hot sauce, mint and dill. But that’s not the only weird food on the restaurant’s menu: Ask for the venison heart tartare or crispy beef tongue for a change of pace.