August 05, 2022

20 iconic San Antonio foods and drinks that show what our city is all about

Over recent years, San Antonio has racked up plenty of recognition for being a culinary destination. No small part of that comes down to the sheer volume of dishes and drinks our city either invented, made famous or elevated to new heights.

From spicy and savory to fruity and boozy, these are 20 of the most puro San Antonio food and drink options that define our city. Some were created here, while others are just so intertwined with our culture that, hell, they may as well have been. 
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Bean Burger
A puro San Antonio creation, this burger topped with tortilla chips, diced onions, refried beans and cheese is an Alamo City favorite. Though its original creator is in dispute — both Sills Snack Shack’s Frank Sills and Taco Cabana’s Felix Stehling lay claim to the burger — the fact that it was born in SA is undeniable.
Photo via Instagram / chrismadrids
Bean Burger
A puro San Antonio creation, this burger topped with tortilla chips, diced onions, refried beans and cheese is an Alamo City favorite. Though its original creator is in dispute — both Sills Snack Shack’s Frank Sills and Taco Cabana’s Felix Stehling lay claim to the burger — the fact that it was born in SA is undeniable.
Photo via Instagram / chrismadrids
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 by Jaime Monzon
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 by Jaime Monzon
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 / elfolklorbakerysa
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 / elfolklorbakerysa
Barbacoa and Big Red
When a city hosts an entire festival dedicated to a food combination, you know it really loves that pairing. Such is the case with barbacoa and Big Red, a food and drink duo 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 / atxfoodguy
Barbacoa and Big Red
When a city hosts an entire festival dedicated to a food combination, you know it really loves that pairing. Such is the case with barbacoa and Big Red, a food and drink duo 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 / atxfoodguy
Mangonadas
San Antonio is known for getting mangonadas just right. This is especially 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 / hannahmayeats
Mangonadas
San Antonio is known for getting mangonadas just right. This is especially 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 / hannahmayeats
Mini Tacos
Mini tacos, street tacos — whatever you call them, they’re delicious AF. With so many Mexican restaurants and taquerias boasting mini tacos on their menus, 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 / culinary_discipletx
Mini Tacos
Mini tacos, street tacos — whatever you call them, they’re delicious AF. With so many Mexican restaurants and taquerias boasting mini tacos on their menus, 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 / culinary_discipletx
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. Filling, piping hot and — if you're lucky — boasting the loco addition of beans and picadillo, this homey treat is comfort in a bowl.  
Photo by Nina Rangel
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. Filling, piping hot and — if you're lucky — boasting the loco addition of beans and picadillo, this homey treat is comfort in a bowl.
Photo by Nina Rangel
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
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. With so many taquerias and Mexican restaurants as well as fillings to try out, eating a breakfast taco is never the same experience — unless you're dedicated to a specific combination, of course. So go ahead and eat all you desire, in the name of San Antonio.
Photo via Instagram / tias.tacohut
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. With so many taquerias and Mexican restaurants as well as fillings to try out, eating a breakfast taco is never the same experience — unless you're dedicated to a specific combination, of course. So go ahead and eat all you desire, in the name of San Antonio.
Photo via Instagram / tias.tacohut
Elote
Corn is just one of those snacks that San Antonians can’t get enough of, and we’re not just talking about plain old corn on the cob. We’re talking about decked out corn en el vaso, better known as elote with tons 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 / elotes_eljacalito
Elote
Corn is just one of those snacks that San Antonians can’t get enough of, and we’re not just talking about plain old corn on the cob. We’re talking about decked out corn en el vaso, better known as elote with tons 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 / elotes_eljacalito
Chispas
Chispa margaritas are a San Antonio staple, probably because they were born here. Refreshing enough to beat the Texas heat and tasty enough you could forget you’ve got booze in your cup, try not to chug this tasty tipple — it will sneak up on you.
Photo via Instagram / costapacificasa
Chispas
Chispa margaritas are a San Antonio staple, probably because they were born here. Refreshing enough to beat the Texas heat and tasty enough you could forget you’ve got booze in your cup, try not to chug this tasty tipple — it will sneak up on you.
Photo via Instagram / costapacificasa