Coastal Food | Texas Style

Coastal Food - Texas Style

Coastal Food Texas Style is a cuisine you cannot miss! Coastal foods are the foods that are commonly eaten in coastal regions. These foods are often influenced by the local climate, culture, and availability of seafood.

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Kay Keeton, Editor in Chief

Common Coastal Foods

Some common coastal foods include:

  • Fish and shellfish are a staple food in many coastal regions, as they are abundant and can be easily caught. Popular types of fish include salmon, tuna, cod, and shrimp. Shellfish such as clams, oysters, and crabs are also popular.
  • Rice is another common food in coastal regions. It is often served with fish or shellfish, or as a side dish.
  • Coconut is a popular ingredient in many coastal cuisines. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes and to make coconut milk and oil.
  • Tropical fruits such as mangoes, pineapples, and bananas are also common in coastal cuisines. They are often eaten fresh or used in desserts and other dishes.
  • Spices are often used to add flavor to coastal foods. Popular spices include chili peppers, cumin, coriander, and turmeric.
Coastal Food Texas Style
Shrimp Boats on the Texas Gulf

Where’s the Beef? Texas Coastal Food

Beef, it’s what Texas is known for. But the bounty of the diverse waters of the Gulf Coast is a feast for the senses, too. Yes, Texas is beef country, but its Gulf Coast waters are a hidden gem.

The specific foods that are coastal foods can vary depending on the region. The Texas Gulf Coast region is home to a variety of coastal foods. Coastal foods are fresh, flavorful, and healthy. They are a delicious way to enjoy the bounty of the sea.

Coastal Food Texas Style
Red Snapper

For instance, did you know Texas is the second-largest producer of commercial oysters in the USA? Texas gulf oysters have a distinctive taste dependent on the region where it is harvested. Also common in the Texas Gulf Coast are shrimp, blue crab, and a variety of Finfish such as Red Snapper, Grouper, Black Drum, and Red Drum. The Texas Gulf Coast has over 60 varieties of crab and over 100 varieties of shrimp. Texas Gulf Coast Shrimp are some of the best in the nation.  

Coastal Food Texas Style
Oysters on the Half Shell

Texas Gulf Coast Food Dishes

Some popular Texas Gulf Coastal foods are:

  • Oysters on the half shell: Oysters are a staple food in the Texas Gulf Coast region and most of Texas for that matter. Texas oysters are often served on the half shell with cocktail sauce or horseradish. As a matter of fact, this is probably the number one seafood dish in Texas.
  • Seafood boil: A seafood boil is a dish that is made with a variety of seafood, such as shrimp, crab, crawfish, and sausage, that are boiled in a spiced broth. It is typically served with corn on the cob, potatoes, and lemons.
  • Fried shrimp: Fried shrimp is another popular seafood dish in the region. The shrimp are typically battered and fried, and can be served with french fries, coleslaw, or hush puppies. Fried Texas Gulf jumbo shrimp are some of the best and tastiest you will ever have. Typically served with red cocktail dipping sauce or if you prefer tartar sauce along with sides like coleslaw or corn salad, steak cut fries, or cilantro rice, you can’t go wrong with Texas fried shrimp.
  • Coconut Shrimp: This dish is made by breading the shrimp with dried coconut and lightly frying it for a crispy, sweet golden flavor sensation. Served with a sweet spicy dipping sauce, this is a dish you do not want to miss. This dish can be prepared gluten-free so it makes a great alternative to traditional fried shrimp.

Texas Ceviche

  • Texas Ceviche: Made with lightly cooked fresh fish or shrimp that is cured with lime juice, then tossed with onions, cilantro, tomato, and cucumber it is a refreshing dish that is often served as an appetizer with tortilla chips. It can include fresh tropical fruits, a touch of habanero pepper (or pepper of your choice), and cilantro. It also makes a wonderful, light, refreshing summer meal.
  • Red Snapper: Red Snapper is abundant in the Gulf Coast of Texas however the catch is regulated. Many Texas Coastal eateries have their own red snapper specialty. Grilled red snapper is a popular dish in Texas. Red Snapper can also be baked, broiled, deep-fried, poached, sauteed, seared, steamed, and even boiled.
  • Crab cakes: Crab cakes, a typical Southern dish, are also a popular Texas Gulf Coast choice. Made with crab meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, and spices they are a culinary delight! They can be pan-fried or deep-fried and can be served with remoulade sauce or tartar sauce.
Coastal Food Texas Style
Pescado Frito & Camarones Con Tocino

Texas Coastal Food, Mexican Style

Coastal Mexican food is also a popular Texas Gulf Coast tradition with dishes such as:

  • Pescado Frito: This fried fish dish is popular in Texas and Mexico. It is made with a variety of fish, such as tilapia or cod, that are battered and fried.
  • Fisherman’s Stew: Also known as Caldo De Pescad or Mexican Fish Stew, is a popular coastal fish stew made in various ways depending on the region. It uses a variety of fish, shellfish, onion, and spices prepared with a rich wine and tomato broth.
  • Veracruz – Style Red Snapper: Also known as Huachinango a la Veracruzana, this dish is made with red snapper that is cooked in a sauce made with tomatoes, onions, olives, capers, and spices.
  • Bacon Wrapped Shrimp: Also known as Camarones Con Tocino, these are so tasty and a regular on Texas menus. Large shrimp wrapped in bacon then deep fried and served with grilled vegetables, garnished with tomato and lemon.
  • Spanish Style Shrimp Tapas: Also known as Gambas Al Ajillo, these head-on shrimp are flavored with lots of garlic, a touch of cayenne and paprika, and a splash of wine. The Spanish inspired shrimp will make your head and taste buds go wild.
Coastal Food Texas Style
Po’boy & Fries

Texas Coastal Food, NOLO Style

The nearby state of Louisiana influences the Texas Gulf Coast Cuisine as well with dishes such as:

  • Po’boy: A po’boy is a sandwich that is typically made with fried seafood, such as shrimp or oysters, on a French bread roll. It can also be made with roast beef or ham.
  • Gumbo: Gumbo is a Creole and Cajun stew made with various seafood, vegetables, and spices. It is typically served over rice.
  • Shrimp Etouffee: Etouffee is a dish of shellfish, simmered in a sauce made from a light or blond roux, served over rice. Etouffee is commonly made with shellfish, such as crab or shrimp. The most popular version of the dish is made with crawfish.
New Orlean BBQ Shrimp
New Orlean BBQ Shrimp (pictured without the sauce)
  • New Orlean BBQ Shrimp: No these are not barbecued in the traditional sense! BBQ shrimp New Orleans style is prepared with the heads on and simmered in a butter sauce. This process produces a smokey red, or lightly barbecued color sauce, and trust me they are divine. No, you do not have to eat the head, but you do need to cook it with the head on to make a proper sauce. You can simply pinch the heads off as you eat. This dish is wonderful served with a robust crusty bread and a hearty chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.

In Conclusion, Coastal Food Texas Style

In conclusion, there is another side to Texas, a side that is often overlooked. It is the side that is home to the diverse waters of the Gulf Coast, and the bounty of seafood that they hold. These are just a few of the many delicious Texas Gulf Coast foods. So next time you’re in the region, be sure to try some of the local cuisine. You won’t be disappointed!

Read more about the Texas Gulf Coast here.

Read more about Texas cooking here.


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What is New Orleans BBQ shrimp?

BBQ shrimp New Orleans style is prepared with the heads on and simmered in a butter sauce. This process produces a smokey red, or lightly barbecued color sauce that is very tasty. No, you do not have to eat the head, but you do need to cook it with the head on to make a proper sauce. You can simply pinch the heads off as you eat. They are divine alone or paired with crusty bread and a hearty wine.

Kay Keeton, Ed.

Editor in Chief, Kay Keeton - Texas Lifestyle Expert. Kay is a designer turned author, marketer, storyteller, and influencer. A sixth-generation Texan, Kay is both an authority as well as being passionate about sharing her home state of Texas's diverse culture and lifestyle. Kay is a content writer and editor of content for various local and national online publications.

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Coastal Food - Texas Style