“If you’re gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle in the band,” and if you’re gonna eat in Texas – or the South in general – you gotta try the fried okra.
A southern staple, the best deep fried okra embodies the very flavor of southern hospitality: It’s warm, with a crispy outer shell and an almost creamy, yet slightly tart, filling that cheerfully twangs, “Y’all come back now,” to any eaters considering a second helping.
Abilene’s fried okra selection offers several choices for those on a limited budget. Next to the Starbucks on Buffalo Gap Road, Grandy’s sells fried okra as a side to any of its other stereotypically southern specialties. While helpings are small, Grandy’s fried okra adds to a medley of local flavors for those hoping to sample southern fare.
Closer to ACU, Chicken Express, located on the edge of the United shopping center on EN 10th Street, provides a quick okra fix at a more convenient location and provides its patrons with slightly larger portions to accompany its wonderfully cholesterol-clogging plates. However, every now and then, the fried okra at “Chicken E” retains an almost chemical aftertaste misrepresentative of the side dish’s potentially mouthwatering flavor.
But for those willing to wait just a few minutes longer, Abilene’s best fried okra can be found at Rick and Carolyn’s, a burger joint located at 549 Ambler Avenue. Rick and Carolyn’s deep fries the battered okra morsels to a perfect, tender golden brown and serves each generous helping with buttermilk ranch, making an already southern dish seem even more Dixie-approved. Once you’ve sampled this okra, you’ll be saying, “bless your heart” to all others.