Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by Eating

I’ll start by saying that I was not born in the Great State of Texas. I was born in New Orleans where exposure to my Mexican Culture was less than those living here. I grew up eating different foods (mostly fried) but tasty – think jambalaya, po-boys, gumbo, etc. The Hispanic population in New Orleans is less than 9% and I can imagine it was far less in the early ’90s. Still, my family would do their best to expose my siblings and me to our heritage in every which way they could. One of those ways was through food. I remember the nearest place we could go for an ethnic meal that resembled anything familiar to us was the Taco Bell off of Tchoupitoulas Street right off the Mississippi River. I know, what I just said made many of you tremble and cringe. Blasphemy. But alas, the connection was there for me. It all quickly changed when I moved to Texas.

Texas’ Hispanic population is more than 38%. It is one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the United States. Without a doubt, I would experience Mexican food while living here greater than most places. I want to be clear though. Hispanic does not always mean Mexican. We’ll tackle this discussion in a later blog post. We’ve all heard the terms, “Hispanic” and “Latino” but did you know that they are pan-ethnic terms meant to describe – and summarize – the population of people living in the U.S. of that ethnic background. There’s much more to see behind the terms. Believe me, you can taste the difference. That’s why I’m inviting you to join me in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by eating.

Exploring other cultures through food can be one of the best ways to learn about one another. Join me in supporting local Hispanic businesses this month. You’ll quickly realize that we are not all the same. Each nation representing a new flavor and a sense of pride. We’re lucky that Austin has many options and here are some of my local favorites:

  1. Casa Colombia

  2. Taco More

  3. Rosita’s Al Pastor on Riverside (Food Truck)

  4. Lima Criolla

  5. Buenos Aires Café

For more Latin American restaurants click here. Google would be my second option for searching.



The observance of Hispanic Heritage Month begins on the anniversary date of independence for seven Latin American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile). It ends shortly after Indigenous People’s Day in Austin — celebrated in many Latin American countries as Día de la Raza (Day of the People) and in many U.S. areas as Columbus Day.

Our YMCA colleagues in Dallas shared these facts and more on their blog:

  • In 1919, a first-of-its-kind Y serving Mexican- Americans was established in Miami, Arizona. Today, Ys across the U.S. serve Hispanic/Latinx communities with culturally relevant programs and services.
  • During the Great Depression, the YMCA of Los Angeles set up training and recreation programs for Mexican-American youth. Inspired by this effort, students at UCLA established the Mexican-American Movement, which helped Mexican immigrants’ transition into their new communities and advocated for improving their social conditions.
  • There are YMCAs in 30 Latin American and Caribbean countries as well as Spain and Portugal. YMCAs in the U.S. often exchange ideas and resources with Ys in these countries to better serve Latinx members, families, and communities across our nation.

Parts of this blog have been derived from an original post here.



Ishmael Behrhorst
Digital Marketing Director
All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

Contribute to the Y

We believe that lasting personal and social change can only come about when we all work together to invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors. As the leading nonprofit committed to helping everyone thrive at each stage of life, we are uniquely positioned to take on new and long-standing challenges more comprehensively than anyone else.

Your support through the YMCA of Austin’s Annual Giving Campaign makes this possible.