In America, the Deep South means comfort food. If it’s deep fried and covered in grits, its fair game. If you want to indulge in the creole flavours of this region, follow our state-by-state guide to the best eats.
Wondering what to expect in Southern cuisine? Here are a few staples of a down home diet.
Fried chicken and fried fish are staples of the soul food diet, but you can also expect to find some foods that aren’t of typical American cuisine. Try out ham hock, this is often used for a flavour additive for vegetables or soups. Pigs’ feet and pigs’ ears aren’t as popular across America as pork chops or slices of ham for sandwiches, but in the southern states, you can find them at picnics or fairs.
A filet mignon may be the standard in the expensive restaurants up north, but in the south try out the chicken-fried steak with gravy.
There are a lot of green vegetables among the south that are staples in Sunday suppers and weeknight dinners. Try out the collard greens, mustard greens, kale, and cress.
Sweet potatoes are a delicacy in the fall with roasted marshmallows on top of them and the okra is an amazing snack, especially when you have them fried. Grits are a popular breakfast choice and corn can be used for breakfast pancakes or as a dinner bread option. Hushpuppies are another breaded option that pair perfectly with fish.
There are some popular dishes that you’re likely only to find in the south, such as, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, and beef brisket. You can also expect a side of biscuits with most of the meals if it doesn’t already come with corn bread.
If you’re taking on the task of driving through many Southern states, be sure to check out the beloved dishes in each.
Georgia is famous for their peaches, which means their biggest dishes involve the fruit. The lattice-top Georgia peach pie is an incredible dessert that goes great with vanilla ice cream. Another popular dessert that also goes well with the vanilla ice cream is Peach Cobbler.
At the very southern point of the eastern coast is the “Sunshine State”. Their state food comes from one of their most southern points, Key West Florida, where the name originates. Key lime pie is a delicious dessert popular for summer barbeques and spring lunches.
From the small town of Southern Pines to the popular beach-side area of Outer Banks, you’ll find loads of sit-down restaurants and drive-thru joints that serve the best chicken, beef, and pork barbeque you can find. Different towns will have different types of barbeque sauces and presentations. You can order it as a main dish for dinner or on a sandwich with fries.
The sea merges with the south in this state, where shrimp and grits are the meal du jour. Between your trips from Hilton Head to Charleston, enjoy this seaside flavour. The Hoppin’ John is another popular dish in South Carolina. It contains black-eyed peas, rice, chopped onion, and sliced bacon. It’s a hearty dish that can be eaten any meal of the day.
Travel to Louisiana for trademark French creole flavours including gumbo and jambalaya. Americans travel from miles around to get a good taste of these spicy stews. Jambalaya is made from meat, vegetables, and rice. The Spanish dis paella is a close relative to jambalaya. Gumbo, on the other hand, typically consists of stock, okra, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and seasoning vegetables.
If you know you have food allergies, traveling can be tough – especially in the American Deep South. From gumbos to grits, existing conditions can easily flare up. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, don’t leave home without booking a travel insurance policy from Cover-More. Spend money now and you will be sure to save money later in case of emergency.
Image courtesy of Flickr user jeffreyw