Eden Eats: Discovering Austin's Global Culinary Scene

Eden Grinshpan explores Austin's diverse culinary offerings, eating her way around the globe in 24 hours

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Fresh out of culinary school, Eden Grinsphan traveled the world, searching for the cooking and dining traditions unique to each region. Back home, she realized she didn't need a passport to enjoy global cuisine — it’s all around. Tackling one city at a time, Eden set out to meet the immigrant proprietors who’ve brought their cultural dishes to eager American eaters.

Eden Eats: Austin

Eden starts off in Austin, Texas. Sure, it’s known for its BBQ and Tex-Mex, but in a city where more than 50 languages are spoken, you’re sure to find tons of international fare. Eden’s challenge? To travel the culinary globe from within Austin in just 24 hours.

To get a Taste of Ethiopia, Eden sits down with restaurant owner Woine, who demonstrates an Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Eden loves the coffee's smooth, nutty flavor — and with 23 hours to go, is thankful for the caffeine boost.

She learns how to make injera, a sourdough bread eaten with nearly every Ethiopian dish, and digs in to some Doro wat, the national chicken dish. Though the food is delicious, it's the eating tradition (Hint: She doesn't feed herself) that makes Eden feel warm and fuzzy.

Get the Recipe: Doro Wot (Ethiopian National Chicken Dish)

With bread on the brain, Eden checks out the assembly line at Phoenicia Bakery. Unlike thin, spongy injera, the Lebanese pitas are fluffy and filling. No manual labor is required here, though. Owner Malek brought machinery over from Lebanon which presses pitas into the proper size ...

... and turns them out puffed full of air.

Get the Recipe: Lebanese Pita

The Lebanese love their bread, and Malek shows Eden another baked good that’s widely enjoyed. Za’atar bread is thinner than the puffed pitas, and is baked with a glaze of oil and a same-named herb and spice mixture. It’s often topped with tomatoes, olives and labneh (strained yogurt), rolled up and eaten for breakfast.

Get the Recipe: Zaatar Pita Bread

Eden heads across the Mediterranean to Abdu’s Flying Carpet Moroccan Souk Truck, with her nose guiding the way. Abdu cooks with lots of spices, and in such a small truck kitchen, you can imagine the intense aroma.

She salivates while Abdu lets his Tagine With Meatballs simmer, and picks up a few Moroccan phrases along the way.

Get the Recipe: Morrocan Egg and Meatball Tagine

Staying streetside, Eden finds the 10-year-old Pueblo Viejo, a beloved Mexican food truck.

After picking out chiles with owner Margarita ...

... Eden gets schooled on making chorizo ...

Get the Recipe: Chorizo

... and nearly loses her grip on the sausage casing.

All her hard work pays off when she takes one bite out of the yummy Gorditas With Chorizo (stuffed corn cakes).

Get the Recipe: Gorditas

For a different take on pork and cheese, Eden visits the Cuban Sandwich Cafe. Bubbly owner Enrique learned how to cook from his uncle, and after moving from Cuba to Miami, brought his family's tradition to Austin.

Get the Recipe: Cuban Sandwich Bread

His crunchy, melty, meat-filled Cuban sandwich makes Eden grin ear to ear.

Get the Recipe: Cuban Sandwich

They’re also known for their puff pastries. And as Eden soon learns, those delicate, flaky layers are hard work.

The Pastelitos de Queso taste like cheesecake bites. How do little pastries pack so much flavor? Tons and tons of lard and butter. Yum!

Get the Recipe: Pastelitode de Queso: Cuban Puff Pastry With Cream Cheese

At another family establishment, European Bistro, Eden’s heart is warmed by the story of two sisters reunited in America after 37 years of separation. Chef Piroska shows Eden how to create fluffy Spaetzle, and Eden tells her she loves her.

Get the Recipe: Spaetzle

The tiny "noodles" are topped with Goulash, a Hungarian stew of meat, vegetables and plenty of paprika. It's the perfect final dish in Eden's quest, and after 24 hours, she's full and ready to tackle a new city. Where to next?

Get the Recipe: Hungarian Goulash