For all its majesty as one of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States, it’s almost blasphemous to think that Houston doesn’t have a signature dish to call its own. Sure, a native to the city might recommend Tex-Mex from their favorite cantina or brisket from a beloved smokehouse to any out-of-towner that asks for a great place to dine at while visiting. And they certainly wouldn’t be in the wrong to do so.
But that only serves to beg the question---what is the entrée that defines Houston in the same way that clam chowder defines Boston, or deep-dish pizza defines Chicago? Referring back to the aforementioned hypothetical, if the visitor in question only had time to eat at one of the proposed eateries, which one would you recommend over the other?
It could be argued that in a sense, our diversity is our specialty. There is an array of culinary options to choose from on any given block of any given side of town, with more and more places to pick from sprouting up every day. I can find restaurants that specialize in everything from Nigerian to Indo-Pak to Colombian cuisine just within a five-mile radius of my home.
What’s more, this up-and-coming generation of Houston-bred cuisiniers continues to find innovative ways to blend our plethora of surrounding cultures into singular niche creations. Take a place like Bombay Pizza Co., whose specialty (as you may have guessed by their name) is in an Indian-inspired twist on pizza pies, rife with Southwestern influences. It's one of the more unique dining experiences in the city, and happens to be a personal favorite of mine.
Even still, it’d be nice to have a sense of solidarity across our sprawling conurbation; one dish to call THE dish, a proud creation that makes our city stand out and be represented with the fanfare it deserves. Perhaps we’ll have one emerge sometime in the near future. Who knows----it may be coming out of the oven in a kitchen near your, right this very moment.