Iconic Foods That Define San Antonio 

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San Antonio may not yet be considered a widely-recognized food destination, bug we can safely say that we know how to eat. Obviously, we know how to eat. Here are some foods that are either puro San Antonio or a common food we have made all our own.
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Chicken-on-a-stick
Fiesta favorite chicken-on-a-stick is basically the supreme food booth snack from all of Fiesta. San Antonians look forward to eating it all year, and usually commemorate their first chicken-on-a-stick of the season with a selfie. It’s inspired chicken-on-a-stick necklaces, earrings, stickers and more from local designers, and has appeared on menus across SA so folks can get their fix. Thank goodness for that.
Photo via Instagram / ssharpe31
Pan dulce
Head to the South Side or West Side and you’ll find panaderias on every other street. We’re grateful for that, given that pan dulce is a treat both as a sugary breakfast or post-meal dessert. In other parts of town, a solid panaderia is harder to come by, but with so many options across San Antonio you never have to go too far to get your hands on a delicious concha or maranito.
Photo via Instagram / countdowncityconnoisseurs
Barbacoa and Big Red
When a city packs itself into an entire festival dedicated to a food combination, you know said city really loves said food combination. Such is the case with barbacoa and Big Red, a food and drink pairing that San Antonians just can’t get enough of. Everyone has their favorite spot for barbacoa, choosing to enjoy it as a taco or on its own. Whether sobering up or just in the mood for good food, barbacoa and Big Red always hits the spot.
Photo via Instagram / iamstephyg
Mangonadas
Mangonadas are largely loved by Latinos, and San Antonio is known for getting the snack just right. Especially is the case for snack vendors who douse the treat in Tajin and chamoy to the point that the pica feels so, so good.
Photo via Instagram / stine.eats
Mini tacos
Mini tacos, street tacos – whatever you call them, they’re delicious AF. With so many places Mexican restaurants and taquerias having mini tacos on their menu, it’s not hard to find quality bites no matter what meat you prefer. Oh, and did we mention the bounty of taco trucks that post up throughout San Antonio serving up plate after plate? Yes, we’re definitely a taco city.
Photo via Instagram / little_sa_treasures
Fideo
It’s the dish that everyone grew up eating on the regular. While everyone will claim that their mom/grandma/aunt makes it best, we can all agree that fideo just satisfies in a way not all foods can. If you really know what’s good, you know that fideo loco is best.
Photo via Instagram / jesselizarraras
Paletas
Paletas are just one of those treats that are good no matter what time of year it is. Though obviously best during summer, these bars – usually either sweet or sour – come through for flavorful snacking that cools you down or just tastes delicious as heck.
Photo via Instagram / elparaisoicecream
Breakfast tacos
While we won’t fight anyone to “claim” breakfast tacos anymore, it’s undeniable that breakfast tacos are crucial to San Antonio’s food landscape and culture in general. With so many taquerias/Mexican restaurants as well as fillings to try out (unless you’re dedicated to your favorites), eating a breakfast taco is never the same experience. So go ahead and eat all the breakfast tacos you desire, in the name of San Antonio.
Photo via Instagram / eatmigos
Elote
Corn is just one of those snacks that San Antonians can’t get enough of. We’re not talking about corn on the cob. We’re talking about decked out corn en el vaso, or elote with lots of toppings piled on. From chile powder to crema fresca, this classic snack is one that hits the spot when you’re in the mood for something small but flavorful.
Photo via Instagram / wichos_deli
Margaritas
San Antonio can party, just look at how we do during Fiesta. That means we’re more than knowledgeable about what makes a great margarita. Just look at this – we know what we’re doing.
Photo via Instagram / latinxyogi
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Puffy tacos
If there’s one food that San Antonio can claim, it’s definitely puffy tacos. Ray’s Drive Inn has claimed to have originally made the fluffy tortilla that holds the taco fillings, but many local institutions have perfected their take on the puffy taco. Henry’s Puffy Taco, a literal brother restaurant to Ray’s, is famous for the dish nationally, and has competition in Teka Molina, Los Barrios and Oscar’s Taco House to name a few.
Photo via Instagram / smet313
Pozole
Consider pozole one of those dishes that people really, really love – but only if it’s made right. And by right we mean either by someone in your family or a restaurant/vendor that makes it taste homemade. A favorite in colder months, pozole is made all the more special to each foodie depending on what items they throw in – from cabbage and radishes to even avocado if you’re about that.
Photo via Instagram / audreyrgm143
Bloody Marys
Most cities may have places that make Bloody Marys, but city makes the boozy drink all our own. Seriously, the more stuff you stuff into your Bloody Mary, the more puro it is.
Photo via Instagram / sip_sa
Hot Cheetos with cheese
A go-to snack for any San Antonian, any local can testify that they grew up on this iconic duo. It’s cheesy, it’s spicy, it’s crunchy – it’s everything you could ever want in a snack. Not only do ice cream trucks and snack shops sell the puro snack, it has also inspired restaurants to incorporate the duo into its menus.
Photo via Instagram / lavidayessi
Buñuelos
Though a seasonal treat, San Antonians love for buñuelos knows no bounds. Whether someone in your family or a close friend makes them for you every year, or you have a go-to panaderia/molino where you’re willing to wait in line for them, these sugary discs are totally worth the mess they makes.
Photo via Instagram / almaehdz
Tamales
Tamales are loved by foodies near and far, but how many cities can have multiple tamal-focused events? Countless numbers of vendors who sell tamales, either from their storefront, or even their own home? And that’s on top of all the families that make dozens of tamales that will last them a few weeks – though to be fair, that’s a Latino thing. But overall, that’s San Antonio for you.
Photo via Instagram / roninreckless
Raspas
Plenty of cities have their take on raspas (or snow cones if you’re not cultured), but not many do them like San Antonio does. Where else can you go and see raspas stuffed with ice cream, dripping in syrup and other sauces plus topped with a variety of snacks – from sweet to spicy and even sour?! That’s right, San Antonio is special in that way.
Photo via Instagram / ariceeeee
Pickle-flavored anything
Pickles on their own are pretty great, but add them to other stuff or incorporate the tangy flavor in a new way and most San Antonians will love it. Whether it’s a raspa flavor or a topping to your snack, you can’t go wrong with pickles in the Alamo City.
Photo via Instagram / elparaisoicecream
Churros
While churro-flavored snacks seem to be on the rise, churros on their own are pretty dang delicious, just ask all of San Antonio. While there are dedicated churro vendors throughout the city (yes, it’s that serious), the sweet desserts are also found at panaderias and Mexican restaurants throughout the city. So yes, we obviously really love them.
Photo via Instagram / honchoschurros
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Chicken-on-a-stick
Fiesta favorite chicken-on-a-stick is basically the supreme food booth snack from all of Fiesta. San Antonians look forward to eating it all year, and usually commemorate their first chicken-on-a-stick of the season with a selfie. It’s inspired chicken-on-a-stick necklaces, earrings, stickers and more from local designers, and has appeared on menus across SA so folks can get their fix. Thank goodness for that.
Photo via Instagram / ssharpe31