4 Must-Try Culinary Gems of the South
Southern food is unlike any other. Hearty and homely, it throws health out the window and promises delicious taste with no substitutions. Whether you visit a restaurant or are lucky enough to enjoy a local cooked meal, you’re bound to fall in love with food “just like mama makes it.”
However, with so many options, it can be hard for visiting tourists to know what to pick! If you’re an outsider, then this guide will take you through all the essential culinary choices you just have to try.
Sweet Potato Pie
All Southerners love a good pie, and sweet potato is one of the best. This particular culinary gem caused a stir all across America in 2015 when Wal-Mart faced a complete 24-hour sellout of the product. The rush occurred after a video of the dessert went viral. Some customers even took to reselling their pies for $40!
Of course, no Southerner was surprised at how quickly it gained popularity—we’ve known the secret of sweet potato pie for years. Sweet, succulent and caramelized, it truly is a delicious treat. The Sweet Potatoes restaurant in North Carolina is famous for their pie, and you can get their exact recipe here to make yourself!
Fried chicken is a true Southern staple you can now buy worldwide. However, no one can do it quite like the deep country. The states of the South have perfected the art of frying chicken; the crisp skin and juicy meat make a culinary treat that can’t be replicated. There are many restaurants spread across the country with fried chicken on the menu, but Georgia boasts some of the best around. Try the Eddie Mae Country Kitchen or the Blue Willow Inn.
If you’re hankering for some chicken but aren’t in the South, it is possible to make it yourself. The dish is now created worldwide, and chefs everywhere are adding their two cents. Check out this BBC program from Virginia-born chef Sean Brock as he takes Southern cooking to the world! You might have to use some extra software if you can’t gain access.
Much like pizza, deviled eggs are another tasty dish that originated in Italy but was made even greater in the South! The simple concoction involves mixing other ingredients with the egg yolk to create a mouth-watering snack or the perfect side dish. You can opt for mustard, mayonnaise, bacon, shrimp or chives, along with many other ingredients that take the dish to the next level.
If you don’t feel like braving this recipe yourself, then there are top restaurants all over the South that will serve you the best of the best. Head for the King + Duke if you’re in Atlanta or Mason’s in Nashville. If you’re based elsewhere, simply ask the locals—any true Southerner will know where to get the best deviled eggs around.
Cornbread is the heart and soul of soul food. It’s one of the oldest traditional dishes and remains a staple of the cuisine today. Corn has long been a prolific crop in America, and even indigenous tribes used to make muffins from the plant. However, the famed taste of modern cornbread is a truly Southern invention. The recipe— cornmeal, buttermilk, eggs and baking soda—is simple and always a favorite with dinner guests.
Most restaurants serve cornbread in the South, so if you’re traveling the area, you’ll have no shortage of choices. Just make sure you’re opting for an unsweetened version, as northern adaptions often add sugar and destroy the pure taste.
The South is where good food comes home for the holidays. Every dish will warm your belly and make you feel part of the local family. These four culinary classics are just a few of the many mouthwatering options. So, don’t be scared to try all the tasty treats available.
About the Author: Faith works full-time as a professional writer and is a lifelong foodie. She loves cuisines from all over the world, but the South will always have a special place in her heart! Her family is from Georgia, and soul food always reminds her of coming home.