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Heritage Travels: Galveston’s Soulful Food Culture

Heritage Travels: Galveston’s Soulful Food Culture

If you are planning a trip to Galveston for Juneteenth or any occasion, pack your stretchy pants (or skirt). The cuisines found on the island are both soulful and expected of a coastal community. Moreover, it reflects the state’s special personality and its people. 

The island has its own food personality too. There is a melange of Creole and Cajun, Gullah and West African, Caribbean and Mexican foodways combined with the foods Texans are famous for – chili and barbecue. Think soul food from every conceivable region on steroids. 

Ever eat a Tex-Mex breakfast? If not, Galveston is a great place for a first-time experience of eating all of your standard breakfast favorites with some of your favorite Mexican foods like chorizo, enchiladas, black beans and salsa. Heartiness and spiciness characterize a really good Tex-Mex breakfast. Try Seasons Tex-Mex and Seafood Grill, El Jardin Cafe and The Original Mexican Restaurant for a Galveston breakfast or brunch. 

You cannot visit Galveston without eating barbecue, seafood and a sampler of the good food that represents Texas and the Gulf Coast. Leon’s World’s Finest In and Out Barbecue, 55th & Broadway, has a great menu of boudin, link sausages, brisket and NC chip BBQ. Ouida Cook’s Soul 2 Soul, 3104 Market Street, is the home of fried pork ribs though you can also order oxtails and smothered pork chops. 

Hunt down Jordan Collins’ Smokin’ J’s Que food truck. He’ll probably be at the Juneteenth parade. Jordan’s menu includes brisket soul rolls, lobster and shrimp mac-n-cheese, a lobster tail and waffle dish served with homemade Henny syrup, pinto beans with turkey necks and beef sausage, and other “comforts” called food. Good food. 

If you are feeling adventurous, drive 20 minutes away to Texas City, where there are a number of Black-owned restaurants like OJ’s Soul and Seafood and the new Big Phil’s Soul and Creole Cafe. 

There is also one really important experience to eating in Galveston, and that is eating outdoors near the water. Drive straight to Seawall Blvd. for a huge selection of seafood restaurants that serve a number of cuisines (and Gumbo and jambalaya) with outdoor seating for casual dining or something more formal and romantic.

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Robin Caldwell

Robin Caldwell is the blogger behind freshandfriedhard.com and academic researcher focusing on Black history, heritage and culture. Public historian primarily in Black American historical foodways: antebellum and regional.

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Robin Caldwell

Robin Caldwell is the blogger behind freshandfriedhard.com and academic researcher focusing on Black history, heritage and culture. Public historian primarily in Black American historical foodways: antebellum and regional.

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