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50 things to eat in NC

  • j

I am working on a list of the top 50 things (dishes) to eat in North Carolina and would love lots of input. After making my list then on I am going on a state wide trek to eat all of the dishes this fall. I am going to limit things such as BBQ , hot dogs to only two spots if at all possible. Will share when complete. Many thanks and I hope to discover some amazing new things here in the North Carolina.

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  1. Loco Pops(any flavor of popsicle you would want to try)= Chapel Hill/Durham
    Neal's Deli (everything deli you would want)+Carrboro
    Toast Panini (killer panini's actually done right)= Durham
    Amelie's French Bakery(enuf said, try salted chocolate and hit up erin staten pastry chef)+Charlotte
    Lantern Cocktails (interesting cocktails awesome setting)+Chapel Hill
    Vit Goal (south korean)=Cary
    Red Oak Beer=Whitsett
    Highland Beer=Asheville
    Whiskey Bar=Durham
    Watt's Grocery (brunch)=Durham

    Vit Goal
    2107 Allendown Dr Ste 101, Durham, NC 27713

    Watt's Grocery
    1116 Broad St Ste 100, Durham, NC 27705

    Neal's Deli
    100 E Main St Ste C, Carrboro, NC 27510

    1 Reply
    1. re: sjomansbiff

      For some reason, I thought you wanted restaurants that serve authentic, original NC cuisine.

    2. The neurons are working slowly this morning, but the salt and pepper shrimp at Latern in Chapel Hill leap to mind, along with any type of perogies at J. Betski's in Raleigh. I'm also infatuated with the baguette sandwiches at Spize, also in Raleigh right now. The pho at An in Cary. Twice cooked pork at SuperWok. The shoyu or miso ramen at Kashin in Cary. The olive oil flan at Tasca Brava in Raleigh.

      Tasca Brava
      607 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27603

      Spize Cafe
      121 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC 27601

      13 Replies
      1. re: dinersaurus

        (updated with dishes)
        Chocolate Fetish: Asheville (Silver leaf bon bon)
        Mela: Asheville (Tandori Chicken)
        Bouchon: Asheville (Rabbit stew)
        Sanitary Restaurant and Fish Market: Morehead City (fried fish)
        The Lantern: Chapel Hill (whatever is on special)
        Lindley Park Filling Station: Greensboro (Reuben w/ a Natty Greene's, homemade tots)
        Sir Edmond Halley's: Charlotte (Goat cheese fritters)
        Harry's Seafood Grill: Wilmington (catch of the day)
        Smithfield's Chicken N BBQ: Original location in Smithfield (Chicken plate)
        Spotted Dog: Carrboro (chimichanga)
        Mambo Grill: Salisbury (hole in the wall authentic Cuban place)

        I'd actually be interested in helping you out with this, shoot me an email john@dineandcook.com.

        62 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

        1. re: dineandcook

          Got more for you.

          Tupelo World Cafe: Boone
          Big Daddy's Burger Bar: Charlotte (have to get the Carolina burger)
          Go to a Greensboro Grasshoppers baseball game, get a hot dog and drink some Natty Greenes' beer.

          Big Daddy's Burger Bar
          1626 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203

          Tupelos World Cafe
          506 W King St, Boone, NC 28607

          1. re: dineandcook

            I could not disagree more with the Sanitary and Smithfield's. Both are watered down, mass-produced versions of the type of food they serve. They are the McDonald's of their respective styles of food.

            1. re: Naco

              Isn't the Sanitary Fish Market more of a t-shirt shop than a restaurant these days? (Nothing is fresh is it?)

              Sanitary Fish Market & Restaurant
              501 Evans St, Morehead City, NC 28557

              1. re: Naco

                Are they the best no. Are they historic North Carolina culinary establishments, yes. If you care about food you should also enjoy the history and people behind it. These people cook the same way since they started. No reductions, no fancy sides... just humble serving the masses style food.

                It's worth driving out to Smithfield to see where it all started. The company is home-grown NC.

                The Sanitary, it's all fried fish, and you get a plate full of brown food. But you know what-- that's how run of the mill, southern people eat their sea food. I've been around the world and have seen their t-shirts in more than one country. You have to make a stop there just to see what it's all about. It's an amazing place to people watch, are you going to get the best meal of your life there? No. It's North Carolina, not Provence.

                1. re: dineandcook

                  I'm from North Carolina and I used to go to "The Sanitary" when I was a child. We went there because they had the best seafood around. I love fried seafood when it's done right. I fear that it's not the institution it once was - because the quality of the food has deteriorated, not simply because most of us natives have since travelled the world. No one I know goes there for any other reason than to buy the shirt, I'm afraid. And it's not because they're food snobs!

                  1. re: cackalackie

                    I agree - my family ate at the Sanitary Fish Market and at Captain Bill's several times every summer when I was growing up and I thought it was the best food I'd ever eaten. Visits in the past few years have been very disappointing - it's just not the same quality, and the last (and i do mean it will be the last) time we went there, service was awful and so was the food. We eat elsewhere now.

                    Sanitary Fish Market & Restaurant
                    501 Evans St, Morehead City, NC 28557

                    1. re: tarheelexpat

                      I grew up in Morehead and also have to agree that things have gone downhill. Even when I was there in the mid to late 80s some of the locals preferred other spots (at least for non-fried seafood). I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that it isn't much of a fish market anymore--while their location on the water next to the boats used to be functional as well as scenic, I don't think there's been much local coming through the side door in many years.

                      1. re: tarheelexpat

                        Still remember they offered a simple bowl of amazing lump crab as an appetizer, WOW !

                    2. re: dineandcook

                      "It's North Carolina, not Provence."

                      Thanks for the tip.

                      I love barbecue and fried seafood. My point- clearly expressed, I thought- was that Smithfield's and the Sanitary are poor expressions of the form.

                    3. re: Naco

                      I haven't been to Sanitary in years because it wasn't very good years ago. Can't say how it is now, but nobody I know ever recommends it, and we live prettty close to the area. I ate at Smithfield's in its Smithfield NC location last year when I was there on business and it was pretty good for lunch, but I would never have thought of recommending it to people on vacation as a go-to spot..

                      1. re: vjgower

                        I definitely agree that it's cloaked in nostalgia for me and may not ever have been very good. The last time I was in Morehead, we ate at Culpepper's Crab Cafe, which has fried seafood and Thai, and that was really good.

                        1. re: vjgower

                          On your next trip to Johnston County try White Swan BBQ between Smithfield & Four Oaks on Old HWY 301. Small & nondescript building with really good BBQ & fixins. They have served the same food for at least 50+ years & it stays packed with loyal customers.

                  2. Biscuits & gravy and/or a goat burger at at Saxapahaw General Store (Saxapahaw)

                    Homemade sausage (w/ Cane Creek Pork!) at Weeping Radish Brewery in Currituck (I haven't been to the place but love their product and want to try it in situ).

                    A torta or tacos from some shack in Durham

                    Re. barbeque: I'd go with 3: a true lexington style, a true eastern style, and a hybrid style place like Allen & Sons. I'd use Holy Smoke as my guidebook for selecting.

                    1. I'll start off with two places that I think others are unlikely to mention.

                      1. Tacos from El Mexicanito in Wilson. This is bar none the best taqueria that I've found in North Carolina. Al pastor with salsa verde is my pick, but any of the meats are good. This place is as good as it is because of the excellent, homemade tortillas and the unreal homemade salsas.

                      2. Birria de chivo from La Cuata in Dudley. Much, much better than other birrias I've eaten in Greenville and Raleigh. Excellent homestyle Mexican all around- make sure to order off the white specials board on the back wall.

                      As far as barbecue goes, if you're going to limit yourself to two places in the entire state, I'd go with Lexington Barbecue for Lexington style and...I'd have a hard time picking just one eastern style place. Skylight Inn(Ayden) and Blackbeard's(Conetoe) are my consistent favorites, but B's(Greenville), Cobb's(Farmville), and Grady's(Dudley) are all very good. If they were all equidistant from where I live, I'd probably have to resort to coin flips or die rolls.

                      1. Try an RC cola and a Moon Pie, preferably bought at the store down at the crossroad in the middle of nowhere in eastern NC, and consumed while sitting out front in 90 degree heat with the flys buzzing around. Best if the cotton fields/tobacco fields are pretty much all you can see. Bleinham(sp) Ginger Ale is a good substitute even if it does come from SC.

                        I have, in the past, had really good meals just by taking the back roads or the business route thru small towns at lunch time and check for parked cars and trucks at "Mom's Diner".

                        Makes me hungry just thinking about it. Have fun!

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Sam at Novas

                          I did that in Mississippi. One of my best food memories ever... After the RC Cola and Moonpie, I had to go back for more. Man that gas station had amazing fried chicken, okra and pecan beer! Pecan beer from a micro brewery in the middle of nowhere Mississippi!

                          But for NC, wouldn't it have to be Cheerwine?

                                1. re: dineandcook

                                  Uh, perhaps I shouldn't mention my venture then.

                          1. re: Sam at Novas

                            Better than the RC and moonpie is having the proprietor cut you a wedge of cheese from their ever present hoop and serve it to you with a slice of white bread. Memories.

                          2. 50 THINGS to eat in NC is what Jesco is asking for. So far nearly every response is a recommendation for a restaurant. That is not what the OP was asking for.

                            15 Replies
                            1. re: JayL

                              As someone who lived their entire life on the west coast until moving to NC four years ago, here's dishes that I've found here that I didn't see back West, so might be something to start from:

                              Pulled Pork
                              Shrimp and Grits
                              Cheese Straws
                              Pimento Cheese Sandwich
                              Fried Green Tomatoes
                              Hoppin John
                              Banana Pudding (far more common here)
                              Fried Chicken (again, far more common)
                              Pork Belly

                              I'm sure there are far more, but those are off the top of my head. They aren't all North Carolina specialties, just things that I've found to be move common here (or only here, since I'd never heard of Hoppin John before) than other places.

                              Fried Green Tomatoes
                              212 Keyser St, Aberdeen, NC 28315

                              1. re: cheinonen

                                That's how to begin: New Year's Day with collards and blackeyes! Get a Cheerwine in Salisbury. Put peanuts in it.

                                1. re: cheinonen

                                  I was thinking of specific dishes but am not going to limit myself to much, any suggestion will help. On my list I have about 20 items so far. I have in mind some things that I know that I want to include but need to find the best place, such as a mountain rainbow trout and some dessert type items. For BBQ I am using Lexington style and Eastern NC style with a couple examples of each. Hamburgers state wide are difficult and I am thinking of using a drink I found in Gastonia (Cherry -Lemon, Sundrop) as a way to use Cheerwine. Also trying to use Texas Pete but as a feature in a dish. Pimento Cheese is giving me trouble because I love Fresh Markets but it doesn't seem right. Any suggestion for best Calabash style place in Calabash. I do not frequent the Roxboro Rd. establish,ents but would love a consensus on the utltimate dish to eat among the places there.

                                  Fresh Market
                                  4223 Providence Rd, Charlotte, NC

                                  1. re: Jesco

                                    This is likely to start a fight but, speaking only for the Triangle, I'd say that Parker and Otis and Crooks Corner have the best pimento cheese available for purchase.

                                    1. re: brokegradstudent

                                      Watts Grocery has SUPER pimento cheese too, and I don't like a lot of pimento cheese.

                                      I like mine cold though. On crostini. I know, sacrilege.

                                      Watts Grocery
                                      1116 Broad Street, Durham, NC 27705

                                      1. re: brokegradstudent

                                        Not to mention Shrimp and Grits! Mmmmmm

                                      2. re: Jesco

                                        Have you thought about calling Garner Foods in Winston-Salem? Maybe they can tell you of a local restaurant that features a Texas Pete based offering.
                                        Also...Are there any fishcamps left on the riverbanks in NC that are any good? Fried catfish can be really good.

                                        1. re: Sam at Novas

                                          Cypress Grill in Jamesville, NC. Best fried herring in the state.

                                          Cypress Grill
                                          1520 Stewart St, Jamesville, NC 27846

                                        2. re: Jesco

                                          Are you looking for quintessentially NC dishes, or just some of the best dishes in the state?

                                          1. re: Jesco

                                            Actually, Fresh Market started in NC. I love their Pimento Cheese, especially the variety with jalapeno's!

                                            Fresh Market
                                            4223 Providence Rd, Charlotte, NC

                                            1. re: Jesco

                                              I haven't had The Fresh market's pimiento cheese because the ingredients label on the foods they produce is often frightening and unwholesome to my way of thinking. Unfortunately, I have found no good pimiento cheese to recommend, unless you get invited to a baby shower or funeral! Debu in Greenville has good chicken salad, but watch out for some of the other stuff. I mention this location partly because it is so near to B's Barbeque in Greenville, which is legendary, which means they often are out of barbeque by 11:30. One Eastern NC item I recommend is the Duck Rabbit beers made in Farmville...Yum! (for the dark varieties.) It is sporadiacally available, and can be had at the restaurant at Biltmore Estate in Asheville and various locations around the state, and in Lowe's Foods and Harris Teeter Supermarkets in the Greenville area. As for the Outer Banks, we LOVE Cafe 12's "Hatteras Flats" in Avon NC and have driven 2 1/2 hrs each way to have one on several occasions. I could go on, but I don't know if you would prefer the funky old plkaces that alot of people call "nasty." If so, please email me back and I'll try to remember what they might be.

                                              Biltmore Estate
                                              1 Approach Rd, Asheville, NC 28803

                                              Cafe 12
                                              41934 Nc 12 Hwy, Avon, NC 27915

                                              Harris Teeter Supermarkets
                                              3357 Battleground Ave, Greensboro, NC 27410

                                              1. re: vjgower

                                                Almost all Chowhounds love funky old places...please share with them with everyone on the board, not in private.

                                                1. re: CharlotteChowhound

                                                  OK, I'll be glad to, BUT I see we're being admonished now for talking about PLACES to eat instead of items to eat, so I guess the polite thing to do will be to start a new discussion.

                                              2. re: Jesco

                                                Go to Elizabethtown....not Elizabeth City....and eat at Melvin's for hamburgers....it has been there for over 50 years!!! I grew up there and am craving one right now!!

                                              3. re: cheinonen

                                                Don't forget 7 UP Pound Cake, recipe courtesy of Ms.Jeanne Robertson, a NC comedian!
                                                It is delicious with a Limoncello Powdered Sugar Glaze!

                                            2. How about a Shrimp Burger at the Big Oak Drive-In in Salter Path?


                                              2 Replies
                                                1. re: cackalackie

                                                  YES! I just had a Big Oak Shrimp Burger this weekend and it was excellent. El's in Morehead City is also good but Big Oak rules!

                                                  Big Oak Restaurant
                                                  5943 Old Rural Hall Rd, Winston Salem, NC 27105

                                                2. In Charlotte:
                                                  Fried pickles at the Penguin
                                                  Peanut butter milkshake at Mr. K's
                                                  Matzoh ball soup and a pastrami on rye at Katz's
                                                  She crab soup at Eddie's Place
                                                  Shrimp and grits at Dish
                                                  Mee crob at Monsoon
                                                  Pollo mas rico at Pio Pio

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: southernitalian

                                                    there's a katz's in charlotte? wow, that is interesting!

                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      No affliation with the NYC Katz Deli. :)

                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                        oh, ok. i was wondering why katz's would have a "southern branch."

                                                        lynn. did you ever see my drawing of veggo at nyc katz's? for a laugh: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5529...

                                                  2. Shrimp and Grits at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill.

                                                    Crook's Corner
                                                    610 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

                                                    1. Lived in NC all my 51 years! Some of these are probably not just North Carolinian but generally Southern, and I know I'll miss some things, but here's a start:
                                                      Cherry Lemon Sundrop
                                                      Grilled pimento cheese sandwich
                                                      Livermush cut thin and fried crispy
                                                      Chicken pie by a true Southern Baptist dinner-on-the-grounds artist
                                                      Tomato sandwich on Sunbeam bread with Duke's mayo
                                                      Country ham and red eye gravy
                                                      Homemade biscuits with sausage gravy
                                                      Calabash shrimp
                                                      'naner puddin'
                                                      fresh coconut cake
                                                      pecan pie
                                                      strawberry rhubarb pie
                                                      peach cobbler
                                                      fried cube steak & gravy on mashed potatoes
                                                      fried apples
                                                      ... I'll keep thinking.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: sarahNC

                                                        A Krispy Kreme donut when the "hot" sign is on
                                                        Onion Rings from South 21 Drive-In in Charlotte NC
                                                        A Bojangles Cajun Filet Biscuit
                                                        Al's French Fries at the NC State Fair
                                                        Hushpuppies and butter at a calabash joint at the coast
                                                        Grilled Biscuits at Big Ed's in Raleigh

                                                        1. re: sarahNC

                                                          Come to think of it, the easiest way to do this might be just to find yourself a medium sized country church and show up on Homecoming Sunday! :)

                                                        2. Most of these are in the RDU area as I can't recall much from my instate travels and given the chance that I'd dine more than once at the places closest to where I live it gives me a better chance at recommending a particular dish.

                                                          Something from Bojangles that consists of a biscuit, cajun chicken, fries and sweet tea.
                                                          Some place that is lauded for it's BBQ (Allen and Sons) and Ribs at The Pit
                                                          Confit of Bacon at Vin Rouge
                                                          Britt's Donuts in Carolina Beach
                                                          Neal's Deli (Pastrami or Corned beef on rye)
                                                          Chef and Farmer (Kinston)
                                                          Merrit Mill Grill's BLT
                                                          Heron's at The Umstead
                                                          Something baked at the new Scratch Bakery in Durham

                                                          Vin Rouge
                                                          2010 Hillsborough Rd., Durham, NC 27705

                                                          Neal's Deli
                                                          100 E Main St Ste C, Carrboro, NC 27510

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                            I wanted to add Hushpuppies but they aren't specifically North Carolina food, but are abundant in the south and alongside the fried seafood or bbq platters. SOme are better than others though.

                                                            Also would add Locopops as something that is slowly starting to be reproduced, but still unique to me.

                                                          2. Nobody has yet mentioned livermush, "the most delicious, versatile, and economical of all meats". It would be very hard to find it anywhere outside of NC; its even hard to find anywhere in NC besides the western piedmont / foothills region.

                                                            Salt and pepper catfish.

                                                            Pimiento Cheese Sandwich (pronounced "pamenna").

                                                            Not just barbecue, barbecue slaw (yes, that red stuff).

                                                            Speaking of barbecue slaw, a "Slawburger" from RO's in Gastonia.

                                                            Boiled p-nuts.


                                                            Maybe I'll think of more later. Someone had a thread like this in the past, but I think it was to present food at a gathering. Probably some good ideas if you can find that one.

                                                            1. Thursday night seafood buffet at Eseeola Lodge in Linville....Summer months only and make sure you make reservations!

                                                              The auto link thingy didn't work...it said it was in Morganton. The lodge is just down the road on 105 from Banner Elk.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Windsor

                                                                I live in Morganton - Eseeola is definitely not here, darn it! about an hour away.

                                                              2. Water blanched fried peanuts (preferably from Englewood Methodist Mens' Club in Rocky Mount but the Mt Olive ones work as well)

                                                                when it is season Shad Roe and grits

                                                                Bs or Wilbers barbeque

                                                                corn sticks

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: tommio

                                                                  I LOVE the Englewood Methodist Men's Peanuts!!! Definitely should be on the list...

                                                                  1. re: cburkhard

                                                                    I love the Mount Olive Methodist Men's pnuts.

                                                                2. Moravian Sugar Cookies and Chicken Pie- Winston Salem
                                                                  Cornsticks from Parker's BBQ in Wilson
                                                                  Beck's Calabash Seafood- Calabash
                                                                  Mt Olive Pickles from Mt. Olive

                                                                  I'll add more if I think of them....

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: cburkhard

                                                                    OH! I forgot Moravian Sugar Cake. Holy cow. Parker's cornsticks are good too.

                                                                  2. I don't live in NC any more, but I visit a lot and eat, eat, eat that NC food that I can't get where I am now. Since I'm not sure what you mean by the top dishes, I'm choosing to interpret top as meaning traditional NC food.

                                                                    1. Butterbeans - little, fresh ones full of flavor. Get them already shelled at farmer's markets to save time, don't overcook them, top with black pepper and eat hot with their juice, some hot biscuits and iced tea. I can ship BBQ, cornmeal, White Lily flour, etc. to where I live now, but I can get butterbeans only in the NC area (I think Mississippi has something they call butterbeans, but they are a big, starchy bean, not what we call butterbeans in NC.)

                                                                    2. Hoe cakes - very NC old-timey food. Use the recipe on the cornmeal bag - very simple, just white cornmeal, salt, and water to make a mush (let it set for about 10 min before cooking), and some bacon drippings in a cast iron skillet to cook the hoe cakes until they get that crispy crust.

                                                                    3. Fresh peas: crowder, field, pink lady, black-eyed. (See butterbeans above.)

                                                                    4. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens - all cooked with ham hocks, side meat, or some other cured pork, chopped up fine and served with the pot liquor, finely diced onions, and cider vinegar.

                                                                    5. Okra. Fried or stewed or cooked in a casserole with diced onions and tomatoes, topped with crunched saltines.

                                                                    6. Sweet potatoes!!! Big export crop for NC.

                                                                    7. Banana pudding. The real deal, made with from-scratch custard, over-ripe bananas and *only* Nabisco nilla wafers.

                                                                    Best way to eat the above foods is to cook them yourself, or get yourself invited to some church potluck. When Ed Mitchell had his BBQ place in Wilson, I preferred his sides over all others. He had more variety and they tasted better. Haven't been to his new place (The Pit) in Raleigh, but maybe that's a place to taste many of the above dishes - I see he still has lots of the sides I loved.

                                                                    8. Brunswick stew. I like what I find in the eastern NC BBQ joints - Bill's and Parker's in Wilson, Wilbur's in Goldsboro.

                                                                    9. Yellow slaw. Same places as #8.

                                                                    10. Eastern NC style BBQ. My favorites: Bill's in Wilson and Wilbur's in Goldsboro.

                                                                    11. Grits.

                                                                    12. Ham biscuits from the Bojangles's by the Wilson Mall, Tarboro St., Wilson.

                                                                    13. Hot dogs "all the way" from The Burger Boy on Ward Blvd. near Hwy 301 in Wilson. This place is like a time trip back to the '50s - complete with cigarette smoke.

                                                                    14. A *good* fried seafood platter (must haves: shrimp, oysters, some kind of white fish). I had a very good version from Sam & Omie's in Nag's Head. In Wilson, try Worrell's Seafood Restaurant in the old downtown.

                                                                    15. Country hams.

                                                                    16. Grilled pimiento cheese sandwich made with Stan's pimiento cheese (Harris-Teeter sells it.)

                                                                    Now for non-traditional food I like in NC:
                                                                    Beer: Duck Rabbit brewery in Farmville, NC - everything they make, specially the milk stout. Highland Brewery, Asheville - also some good beers.
                                                                    Gourmet Mexican popsicles: I second Loco Pops in Durham - I'd be there every day if I lived nearby.
                                                                    Asian fusion food: Duck & Dumpling in downtown Raleigh.
                                                                    Bakery: Le Deux, Tarboro St, downtown Wilson - what a find! Don't know how they've survived in Wilson, but they have great bread, other baked goods, also a cafe that's very good.

                                                                    Sam & Omie's Restaurant
                                                                    7228 S Virginia Dare Trl, Nags Head, NC 27959

                                                                    Burger Boy
                                                                    201 Ward Blvd, Wilson, NC 27893

                                                                    Worrell's Seafood Restaurant
                                                                    213 Goldsboro St S, Wilson, NC 27893

                                                                    The Duck & Dumpling
                                                                    222 S Blount St, Raleigh, NC 27601

                                                                    1. Here's a list of 25 that the food editor of the Charlotte Observer just put together:


                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                      1. re: CharlotteChowhound

                                                                        The Charlotte Observer list had several of the items I had down with a couple suggestions of things I was trying to plug in.

                                                                        1. re: CharlotteChowhound

                                                                          My list to date
                                                                          Snappy Lunch pork chop sandwich
                                                                          Lexington style BBQ
                                                                          Eastern NC BBQ
                                                                          Oysters at Sunny Side Oyster Bar
                                                                          Roast Grill hot dog
                                                                          Bill's hot dog in lil Washington
                                                                          Keaton's chicken
                                                                          Krispy Kreme doughnut hot
                                                                          Britt's doughnut
                                                                          Chicken biscuit at Time out
                                                                          Grits ??
                                                                          Shrimp n grits from Crooks Corner
                                                                          Fried seafood plate from Calabash
                                                                          Burrito from Flaming Amy's
                                                                          Hamburger from Johnson's in Siler City
                                                                          Penguin drive in burger or pickles
                                                                          Onion Rings from the 21 drive in
                                                                          Country ham from Shaltely springs
                                                                          BLT from Merritt's
                                                                          Peach ice cream from Pee Dee in Lilesville
                                                                          Biscuit from biscuitville
                                                                          Fried chicken Prices chickien coop
                                                                          Pimento cheese Fresh Market
                                                                          A meal at a Roxboro rd Durham Taqueria
                                                                          Loco pops
                                                                          Lemon Sundrop Cherry drink RO"s
                                                                          Slaw dip from RO's
                                                                          Catfish from Catawba river Twin TIps fish camp
                                                                          Brunswick stew from that church in Orange County
                                                                          Lemon chess pie blue moon bakery
                                                                          Mile shake??

                                                                          don't know if I will make it to 50

                                                                          Roast Grill
                                                                          7 S West St, Raleigh, NC 27603

                                                                          Fresh Market
                                                                          4223 Providence Rd, Charlotte, NC

                                                                          Snappy Lunch
                                                                          125 N Main St, Mount Airy, NC 27030

                                                                          Krispy Kreme
                                                                          2706 Watson Blvd Ste A, Warner Robins, GA 31093

                                                                          Sunny Side Cafe
                                                                          405 Rome St, Carrollton, GA 30117

                                                                          1. re: Jesco

                                                                            Yum Yums in Greensboro has the best milkshakes and hot dogs!

                                                                              1. re: webvanman

                                                                                I must agree with you on this one. i am from NC and live in New Jersey now and miss southern hot dogs TERRIBLY. Chili, slaw, mustard and onions is the way I like them and you sure can't get those here. I have to buy cans of Bunker Hill Chili when I go home to visit(harris teeter in greensboro carries it) and lug them back to NJ. I have to make hot dogs at home to get them the way I want. Those they sell here are bogus and not a big deal.

                                                                              2. re: Jesco

                                                                                I'm gonna throw in:

                                                                                Dark chocolate pistachio frog from Chocolate Fetish Asheville
                                                                                Mocha Stout ice cream from Ultimate Ice Cream ASheville
                                                                                Scone (either choc chip or cranberry/apricot) from Flat Rock Bakery, Flat Rock
                                                                                Goat pizza (that's cheese, not meat) West First Pizza, Hendersonville
                                                                                A dish that includes smoked fingerlings from Admiral Asheville
                                                                                Rosemary/Black Pepper/Fig goat cheese from Spinning Spider Creamery

                                                                                1. re: Jesco

                                                                                  For a milk shake you have to go to Sutton's in Chapel Hill. They still make them the same way by hand when they opened in 1923.

                                                                                  1. re: Jesco

                                                                                    DEFINITELY Keaton's dipped chicken - the best chicken ever - period. Keaton's is in Statesville, NC.

                                                                                    I second Locopops too.

                                                                                    NC shrimp from any coastal fisherman.

                                                                                    Many would suggest Price's Chicken in Charlotte for fried chicken.

                                                                                    1. re: Jesco

                                                                                      While in Gastonia did you happen to try Tony's ice cream? Don't buy it at the supermarket, go straight to the source at Tony's on Franklin Ave. The Coletta Family have been making the best ice cream for over 50 years.

                                                                                  2. http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/06/0...

                                                                                    Just published in the News and Observer today...some good places to hit.

                                                                                    Have fun!


                                                                                    1. One of my new favorites is the BBQ Pork Nachos from the Raleigh Times, featuring pork BBQ from The Pit. I don't think they're as good as they were when it first opened and Ashley was in charge of the food. But they're still unique - and delicious!

                                                                                      Raleigh Times Bar
                                                                                      14 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

                                                                                      1. Fried herring from Cypress Grill in Jamesville. They're only open Jan-Apr, and the herring comes from VA now, but it's a piece of NC history. I've been going every year for as long as I can remember.

                                                                                        Cypress Grill
                                                                                        1520 Stewart St, Jamesville, NC 27846

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                          They serve fried salt herring at The Pier House at Nags Head, too.

                                                                                          Pier House Restaurant
                                                                                          3335 S Virginia Dare Trl, Nags Head, NC 27959

                                                                                          1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                                                                                            The Pier House isn't quite the same. Cypress Grill serves salt herring, but fresh herring is the main attraction. If you've never been, I highly recommend it. It's about more than just the food, it really is a piece of NC history, one of the few traditional herring shacks still in business. The building is a cedar plank shack just a few feet from the Roanoke river. The only food they truly cook on site is the fish, everything else . The pie (baked by the owner's wife every morning at home) is the best I've ever had. Seriously. People order pie before they order dinner just so they can have a slice guaranteed.

                                                                                            Cypress Grill
                                                                                            1520 Stewart St, Jamesville, NC 27846

                                                                                            Pier House Restaurant
                                                                                            3335 S Virginia Dare Trl, Nags Head, NC 27959

                                                                                            1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                              Cypress Grill is really something special. I must say that I might not have liked the food if I hadn't gone around the place reading the articles on the wall, one of which contained instructions on how to eat the herrings. It also helped that we talked with our waitress and she knew that we had not had the herring before, and we could hear her telling the cooks to make sure it was "real crispy, because it's their first time." She had confided in us that she does not like the herring, herself. I had been there before when they were closed and had meant to get back just because it is like going back in time. WAY back!

                                                                                              Cypress Grill
                                                                                              1520 Stewart St, Jamesville, NC 27846

                                                                                          2. re: mpjmph

                                                                                            Absolutely, been going to the Cypress Grill forever!

                                                                                            Cypress Grill
                                                                                            1520 Stewart St, Jamesville, NC 27846

                                                                                          3. A few more traditional dishes:

                                                                                            1. Chicken pastry aka chicken stew aka chicken slick. I was surprised that no one else listed this one yet. Is this local to eastern NC?

                                                                                            How we make it: Simmer a cut up chicken and giblets (reserve the liver) in a big pot of water with salt, pepper, a small amount of finely diced onion and celery until the meat falls off the bone; remove the chicken, reserve the meat, discard the bones and skin, degrease the stock. Reheat the stock while making and rolling out the pastry (flour, water, salt, some chicken fat) very thinly (1/16" thick); cut pastry into rectangles, about 2" x 4". Add chicken meat back to boiling stock (add the liver now if you like it), then drop pastry in a few pieces at a time when stock boils again. Pastry will be done about 5 min.after adding last pieces (test it.) Dish out and top with plenty of black pepper.

                                                                                            Best is homemade; I've not been impressed with restaurant versions - the pastry is usually too thick and overcooked. A variation uses fresh garden peas (shelled English peas) instead of the chicken meat & giblets.

                                                                                            2. Some more bread-type things: Flour bread; spoon bread; cornmeal mush.

                                                                                            3. Fried fatback (homemade pork rinds.) This was our "meat" some dinners; serve with a pot of navy beans and ketchup and cornbread or biscuits.

                                                                                            4. More pig parts: Souse, scrapple, chitlins (chitterlings.) Livermush - seems to be more popular in the western part of NC?

                                                                                            5. More things from western NC (mountains) - from my Asheville cousins, I learned of:
                                                                                            Creasy greens and greasy beans; and ramps.

                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: tarheelexpat

                                                                                              Oh WNC made me think of something when I used to live there... kudzu jelly!

                                                                                              1. re: tarheelexpat

                                                                                                darlin', you're talking about chicken & dumplins! At least, your number 1 sounds exactly what my husbands Aunt Judy calls chicken & dumplins. She brings it to every family gathering, and never takes home leftovers ...

                                                                                                1. re: sarahNC

                                                                                                  We always called it chicken and pastry in my family :) It's a nit to pick, but every time I've had the dish described as chicken and dumplings the dough was cut into bite size pieces similar to gnocchi or spaetzle while chicken and pastry uses dough that is rolled thin and cut into wide strips. Of course, food and language are fluid, so it's quite likely that my semantics are off.

                                                                                                  By the way, folks in Rodanthe enjoy an all-you-can-eat chicken and pastry meal on "Old Christmas" in early January each year. To quote my mother, it is the perfect vehicle for salt, pepper, and starch.

                                                                                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                    You are exactly dead on. Chicken & Pastry is NOT Chicken & Dumplings. Two totally different items. In Eastern NC it's Chicken & Pastry all the way. Growing up, I didn't even know that something called Chicken & Dumplings even existed...and even when I found out about it, it took a little while longer for me to figure out it was a different dish......one with fat, nasty globs of dough that I didn't like much.

                                                                                                      1. re: JayL

                                                                                                        there's an episode of Good Eats that covers the two different types of "dumpling" in C&D. You might find it interesting if you can set your Tivo to catch it.

                                                                                                    1. re: sarahNC

                                                                                                      A true North Carolinian knows it is Chicken Pastry, not chicken and dumplings, even though I have heard transplants call it that. lol. My mother made chicken and dumplings also, but they were made with cornmeal.

                                                                                                      1. re: foolmeonce

                                                                                                        True North Carolinian? I was born and raised here and only people from the eastern half of the state call it Chicken and Pastry except for the people who had the good sense to move to the western half !

                                                                                                        1. re: foolmeonce

                                                                                                          I've heard both Chicken and Dumplings, Chicken and Pastry and one person who i don't think is from here said her grandparents called it Chicken Slick (or something like that)

                                                                                                      2. re: tarheelexpat

                                                                                                        I recently lived on the coast of NC and found that what they call Chicken and Pastry is close to what we in the western section refer to as chicken and dumplings. They kinda look at ya funny when you ask for chicken and dumplings out there on the coast.

                                                                                                      3. This is sort of a stretch on the topic, but you MUST try an AUCE meal in NC. The first time I saw a sign advertising AUCE ribs, I had to ask some of my local friends what an AUCE rib was. Let's just say I still get ribbed. I have never seen that term used outside of NC.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Windsor

                                                                                                          What are you talking about? Is that about All You Can Eat, maybe?

                                                                                                        2. Forgot a couple:

                                                                                                          Cheese biscuit (easier to find Eastern NC)

                                                                                                          Real NC sourdough bread (not that San Francisco stuff). Usually have to find it homemade or at a church potluck...there is one bakery here in Charlotte that sells it at the Kings Dr. farmers market.

                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: billyjack

                                                                                                            When you say "cheese biscuit", are you referring to an traditional biscuit with cheese baked in, or the savory cookie-like snack? (like a cheese straw, but circular) If you're referring to the latter, I STRONGLY agree.

                                                                                                            1. re: MDfarewell

                                                                                                              Well I was thinking of a biscuit with cheese in it, but cheese straws are great too!

                                                                                                              1. re: MDfarewell

                                                                                                                The Eastern NC cheese biscuit is a third thing... A plain biscuit made into a sandwich with a slice of hoop/cheddar cheese.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                    The Eastern NC cheese biscuit is baked with the hoop cheddar in the center, not sliced and inserted. It's great when it bakes and the cheese oozes out onto the bottom of the biscuit.

                                                                                                              2. There is an old grocery store named Musten & Crutchfields in Kernersville that sells homemade Pimento Cheese and real good livermush.

                                                                                                                1. Some of the most satisfying, flavorful food I ever ate was at Durham's Twisted Noodle. Get an enormous bowl of noodle soup (duck, chili oil, yellow curry, or Tom Kha Gai recommended) and try the Rotee for dessert. It doesn't scream North Carolina, but it does seem unique to Durham.
                                                                                                                  Also in Durham, go to Los Comales on N Roxboro and get a burrito, taco, or quesadilla with horchata. The best food in town.

                                                                                                                  Los Comales
                                                                                                                  2103 N Roxboro St, Durham, NC 27704

                                                                                                                  Twisted Noodles
                                                                                                                  4201 University Dr Ste 112, Durham, NC 27707

                                                                                                                  1. A few that come to mind. Some have been mentioned already:

                                                                                                                    Shrimp burger in Morehead City
                                                                                                                    Cornbread from Mert's in Charlotte
                                                                                                                    something chocolate from Escazu
                                                                                                                    Anything from the Magnolia Grill
                                                                                                                    Allen & Son's BBQ (my personal favorite)
                                                                                                                    Something from La Vaquita in Durham (maybe enchiladas mole or their unbelievable hot chocolate)
                                                                                                                    A locopop
                                                                                                                    something from Scratch Bakery (Durham)

                                                                                                                    1. Hot dog- Bill's Hotdogs in washington, NC
                                                                                                                      BBQ- B's in Greenville, NC
                                                                                                                      Onion rings- The Penguin in Charlotte, NC
                                                                                                                      Shrimp burger - Els Drive In-Morehead City, NC
                                                                                                                      Home made potato chips with blue cheese and red Pepper jelly- Peak City Grill-Apex, NC
                                                                                                                      Ribs- The Pit
                                                                                                                      Burger- Abbey Road- Cary, NC
                                                                                                                      Cheese Biscuit- King Chicken-Washington, NC
                                                                                                                      Pizza- Lillys Pizza-raleigh, NC
                                                                                                                      Flying Mayan Burrito- The Flying Burrito- Chapel Hill, NC

                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: countgrog

                                                                                                                        Hey y'all, long-time lurker, first-time poster. I'm a native North Carolinian.

                                                                                                                        I saw several mentions of Bojangles for biscuits and just had to log in to counter with the Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen in Chapel Hill. Mmmmm.

                                                                                                                        As for Livermush, my daddy was from Bladen Co (SE NC) and he liked that stuff and Liver Pudding also. I never would eat it as a kid. My mom, who is from the mts of SW Va, would fix it for him as a special treat, but I don't think she ate it. Not sure if livermush and liver pudding are different, but I remember the commercials on TV (grew up in Fayetteville so these were Raleigh stations or Wilmington's WECT) for Neese's Liver Pudding (http://www.neesesausage.com/).

                                                                                                                        On the Bladen County vein, my aunt swears by a burger joint in Elizabethtown. i think it's Melvin's? I have never been, but just passing along a recommendation from a true NC burger aficionado.

                                                                                                                        I'll third or fourth the Brunswick stew recommendation. I think the original recipe called for squirrel, but you don't see that much anymore.

                                                                                                                        For Calabash seafood in Calabash, I've always been partial to just buying shrimp off the boat and boiling 'em up myself, but The Seafood Hut used to be my favorite place. They'll do lunch and you see a lot of locals eating there. Pretty sure shrimp sandwich is on the menu. A lot of the restaurants in Calabash don't use local seafood anymore. You'll see the big "Inland Seafood" trucks from Charlotte pulling up to the back of the places. You might try Crabby Oddwater's at Sunset Beach as I believe they have some local seafood on the menu.

                                                                                                                        hope this helped...

                                                                                                                        Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen
                                                                                                                        1305 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

                                                                                                                        Calabash Seafood Hut
                                                                                                                        1125 River Rd, Calabash, NC 28467

                                                                                                                        Crabby Oddwaters
                                                                                                                        310 Sunset Blvd N, Sunset Beach, NC 28468

                                                                                                                        Melvin's Hamburgers & Hotdogs
                                                                                                                        133 W Broad St, Elizabethtown, NC 28337

                                                                                                                        1. re: panchodog

                                                                                                                          Our family just ate dinner at Crabby Oddwaters the other night and I would not recommend the place. For one thing, it just didn't appear to be very well managed but more importantly, the food was disappointing. Other than the hushpuppies, I can't say that there was one thing placed on the table that I would order again.

                                                                                                                          I had the shrimp bucket (which arrived about 10 minutes after the other three entrees were served) and the shrimp were so tough they must have spent that extra ten minutes boiling unnecessarily. My wife's crab bucket featured crabs so small that in many cases the claw meat was unformed. In addition, the crabmeat was mushy, which led me to think that it had previously been frozen (which perhaps was why the shrimp was tough, too).

                                                                                                                          For a place perched atop a local seafood market, you would think that it would have been much better.

                                                                                                                          Crabby Oddwaters
                                                                                                                          310 Sunset Blvd N, Sunset Beach, NC 28468

                                                                                                                          1. re: brentk

                                                                                                                            Sorry to hear that Brentk. I've never been. My extended family favors Twin Lakes when dining out in the area, but I've heard good stuff about Crabby's using local seafood so thought it was worth a mention. Bill's (the market underneath) does have good local fresh seafood so we usually pick up some shrimp there or off the docs at Calabash to do our own boil.

                                                                                                                            1. re: panchodog

                                                                                                                              Twin Lakes had been recommended to me by a work colleague as well but there was a wait and we could get into Crabby's right away. Figuring that a restaurant connected to a fish market can't be all bad, we took the plunge. Perhaps a "catch of the day" dish would have been better but I had read on another website that the "buckets" were the thing to get. Oh well.

                                                                                                                              1. re: brentk

                                                                                                                                Twin Lakes is fine. It's a pretty standard NC seafood place — lotsa calabash style, but they do have some other styles on the menu. I'm not sure they're a chowhound recommend, but they're an old family fave. We're going down in a few weeks and we might have to check out both. I think they have a mix of local and non-local seafood. I'm pretty sure they have some salmon on the menu, but have some local stuff as well.

                                                                                                                                1. re: panchodog

                                                                                                                                  Went to Twin Lakes last night and agree with your comments. The food preparation and service were far superior to Crabby's but the bar was set pretty low. I asked what seafood dishes were local and was told that only local catch currently being offered was the flounder special. Perhaps they were pushing the special but I was surprised by the answer.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: brentk

                                                                                                                                    Well, glad you thought it was better. If you head down to Calabash let us know if you find a winner there. I always just think Calabash is kinda fun just for the experience.

                                                                                                                                    Old family friends of my folks who've been down that way since the 60s (owned some of the first beach houses on Sunset) favored "Dockside" and I've heard good things about "Ella's". I really liked "The Seafood Hut" for lunch, but haven't been in years. I don't think many of the other places are open for lunch. We used to try to figure out which restaurant was the real "original" since half of them had signs saying they were.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: panchodog

                                                                                                                                      Hey y'all, just wanted to report that we're down at the beach now and went to Crabby Oddwaters just the other night and it was really good. We got the shrimp bucket to split between two of us (and it was plenty, we had shrimp leftover). It was really tasty. The service was really quick and attentive. We were seated immediately. The shrimp were succulent, the andouille sausage was juicy, the potatoes and corn were good too. My kids got popcorn shrimp — good for that kind of thing — and a grilled cheese (!) and it was well received, too. We would definitely go again. Good hushpuppies, too! I thought it was a slight, but welcome, change of pace from the fried Calabash style. Thumbs up from this corner. Maybe you had an off night brentk?

                                                                                                                                      Crabby Oddwaters
                                                                                                                                      310 Sunset Blvd N, Sunset Beach, NC 28468

                                                                                                                                      1. re: panchodog

                                                                                                                                        That could well be the case. At least we agreed about the hushpuppies!

                                                                                                                      2. Foothills sexual chocolate
                                                                                                                        Neese's Liver Pudding
                                                                                                                        Homemmade country sausage from the man at the WInston Salem Farmers Market
                                                                                                                        Grits from Old guilford mill
                                                                                                                        Blackberry dumplings
                                                                                                                        Krispy Kreme donuts
                                                                                                                        Moonshine/homemade strawberry wine
                                                                                                                        country ham biscuit
                                                                                                                        collards, mustard, kale, turnips greens
                                                                                                                        pig pickin
                                                                                                                        banana pudding
                                                                                                                        Giacomos hot sopressetta or bologna
                                                                                                                        Carolina style hotdog from Cookout or Skippy's(on a pretzel roll)
                                                                                                                        tacqueria tacos on waughtown st in winston salem
                                                                                                                        Pho or Banh mi in greensboro
                                                                                                                        Brunswick stew
                                                                                                                        fried oysters
                                                                                                                        fresh oysters from Shallote in the fall
                                                                                                                        homemade pimento cheese(can't stomach the store bought)
                                                                                                                        Holly Farms potato wedges
                                                                                                                        Fried croakers, spots or whiting
                                                                                                                        fried cornbread(hoecakes)
                                                                                                                        chicken stew
                                                                                                                        chow chow

                                                                                                                        moravian sugar cake and sparkling muscadine grape juice in old salem

                                                                                                                        Krispy Kreme
                                                                                                                        2706 Watson Blvd Ste A, Warner Robins, GA 31093

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: quazi


                                                                                                                          Where can you still get Holly Farms Chicken Potato wedges? I loved those things, the closest place is a convenience store on Hwy 421 in front of the Wilkesboro Walmart.

                                                                                                                          I love the ideas , would love to get an idea of where to get the best or certain things from.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Jesco

                                                                                                                            Holly farms was a reminisce. I honestly don't know of any place that sells them. they had just the right crispy outside soft interior and that flavor was just right. I think mountain fried does wedges but it has been a long time. I have never had any that come close to Holly farms.

                                                                                                                        2. Don't think I saw fresh fried Pork Rinds from Clyde Cooper's in Raleigh.
                                                                                                                          Also, a Bull Dog (chili, slaw, onions, mustard) from any Dog House.

                                                                                                                          1. Oh, and cooked green beans.
                                                                                                                            And sweet tea.
                                                                                                                            And Red Velvet Cake.

                                                                                                                            1. Fried country ham from Shatley Springs in Crumpler, NC

                                                                                                                              Shatley Springs Restaurant
                                                                                                                              407 Shatley Springs Rd, Crumpler, NC 28617

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: brathe

                                                                                                                                Oh yes! I forgot about that ... may need to hit up Shatley Springs this weekend.

                                                                                                                                Shatley Springs Restaurant
                                                                                                                                407 Shatley Springs Rd, Crumpler, NC 28617

                                                                                                                              2. pulled pork barbecue cooked by the Smokehouse Bandits -- a competitive BBQ team based in Durham -- is a near religious experience. Ron Bullock Jr is the pit master. They cater and it's just amazingly, unbelievably good.

                                                                                                                                1. I'm originally from Shelby (about 40 miles West of Charlotte, right on the SC border) and go home at least once a year. My mom is still there, and is a terrific cook, so I don't eat out much ... but when I'm there, she knows that there are certain outside foods that I have to have as a "true North Carolina boy":

                                                                                                                                  - the tomato slaw from Red Bridges Bar-be-que on Highway 74
                                                                                                                                  - the grilled pimento cheese sandwich with a side of fried okra (with ketchup) from the Shelby Cafe
                                                                                                                                  - Fried liver mush during the Liver Mush festival (if its going on when I'm there)
                                                                                                                                  - 'Nana pudding from Jackson's Cafeteria
                                                                                                                                  - Fried catfish with homemade tartar sauce from the Shelby Fish Camp (anything named "Fish Camp" gets my mouth salivating)
                                                                                                                                  - a cold Cheerwine or Sun-Drop (God, I miss Cheerwine) with any of the above

                                                                                                                                  Shelby Fish Camp
                                                                                                                                  1025 E Dixon Blvd, Shelby, NC 28152

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: kentski

                                                                                                                                    There is a Liver Mush festival !?! That is awesome. I thought where I grew up in Johnston County was bad with their Ham and Yam festival. :)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: kate.s

                                                                                                                                      There sure is! It was even part of Andrew Zimmern's "Bizarre Foods" in a 2008 episode. The waitresses at the Shelby Cafe even wear t-shirts that say (something like) "I got mushed at the Shelby Cafe".

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kate.s

                                                                                                                                        There is a Shad Festival, Collard Festival, Watermelon festival and all instate. There is even a Bread Festival in Asheville.

                                                                                                                                    2. What about Mama Dips in Chapel Hill? Great Southern cooking and the sweet potato biscuits are worth a drive for.

                                                                                                                                      1. No one has mentioned stew, which I find a bit surprising. In the fall you can't drive through the rural Piedmont without seeing dozens of signs in front of churches and community centers. Classically it's brunswick style stew with tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, lima beans, onions and a wide variety of meets, but the ones I've had from Reidsville to Roxboro are unique to NC and amazing.

                                                                                                                                        1. Our State magazine's July edition included "100 Foods to eat from NC's 100 Counties". It was a great piece and I took notes of some things I want to try. Great pics throughout the article too. Here is a link to the magazine, but I don't see the specific piece online:


                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                            The Raleigh News & Observer has an interesting and interactive list of NC foods you should seek out outlined in a piece called "The Tar Heel 25". Things like Price's Chicken Coop and Keaton's Chicken are included, but so is fig cake from The Ocracoke Seafood Co., salt & pepper catfish at Twin Tops Fish Camp in Belmont, and a pork chop sandwich at Snappy's Lunch in Mount Airy. Check it out:


                                                                                                                                            Twin Tops Fish Camp
                                                                                                                                            4574 S New Hope Rd, Gastonia, NC 28056

                                                                                                                                            Price's Chicken Coop
                                                                                                                                            1614 Camden Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203

                                                                                                                                            1. We've traveled all over the world and eaten some awesome food, but North Carolina still can't be beat. Here's my list of must-tries in the Old North State:

                                                                                                                                              Chicken Pastry (Your best bet for this is your grandmother's house or a church potluck, but for years Strickland Dail Dining and Catering in Snow Hill/Farmville, NC has had wonderful real homecooking - it's been awhile since I've been there, but that's my first choice if I don't make it myself)

                                                                                                                                              Tenderloin Biscuits (Must be real, whole, fried tenderloin chunks, not the factory mess they serve most places. Flo's in Wilson has the best biscuits in the entire world, bare none - also try their...)

                                                                                                                                              Cheese Biscuits (Should be hoop cheese gooey in the middle of a yummy biscuit, not cheese throughout the biscuit dough. Try Flo's above for the best ever.)

                                                                                                                                              Liver Pudding

                                                                                                                                              Fried Okra (not the heavy breaded grocery store and restaurant variety, but the kind you slice, stir in buttermilk and coat with cornmeal and a tiny amount of flour, then panfry).

                                                                                                                                              Bread & Butter pickles, preferably homemade

                                                                                                                                              Tomato Sandwich, fresh out of the garden, on white bread with Duke's mayonnaise

                                                                                                                                              Fried Fatback

                                                                                                                                              Speckled Butterbeans (very rarely found at Farmer's market, usually have to have a friend with a garden)

                                                                                                                                              Half-Runner Green Beans, also called snaps, home-canned, then cooked with fatback

                                                                                                                                              Pimento Cheese (If you can't make it yourself, try The Creamery in Wilson for the closest to homemade I've had.)

                                                                                                                                              Grits, if you don't like them, you haven't had them made right :-)

                                                                                                                                              Crowder Peas, served with ketchup, homemade relish and cornbread

                                                                                                                                              White, not-sweet Cornbread crumbled into buttermilk

                                                                                                                                              Corn Pudding, homemade from fresh corn

                                                                                                                                              Real, Air-dried Sausages - Try Smith's Red & White in Dorches, the best, though you'll have to take them home and cook them. They make them the way they used to be made on the farms.

                                                                                                                                              Pig-Pickin' Cake

                                                                                                                                              Eastern North Carolina Barbecue (There's probably better barbecue than Parker's in Wilson, but I don't know of any other places that serve it just the way they did when I was a child. You have got to go there! If you're in a group, order family style for a pigout session like no other. If you're alone, order a large combination and fill up on these not-to-be-missed NC specialities, too:
                                                                                                                                              *Chicken fried in pork lard.... yum, yum! Don't knock it until you've tried it!
                                                                                                                                              *Eastern NC slaw (extremely fine mince, sharp, clean taste that's the perfect foil for the barbecue.)
                                                                                                                                              *Brunswick stew (a red stew with chicken, barbecue, corn, lima beans, and a knock-your-socks-off taste)
                                                                                                                                              *Boiled potatoes, with a dash of Eastern NC barbecue sauce added.
                                                                                                                                              *Corn sticks, eschew the hushpuppies, those are for seafood, try the real deal here./
                                                                                                                                              *Sweet tea that would attract hummingbirds
                                                                                                                                              *Get a York Peppermint Patty on the way out the door for the perfect capstone to a classic meal.

                                                                                                                                              Sausage Gravy on Biscuits - anybody know anyone who serves it like we make it at home?

                                                                                                                                              Lexington Barbecue, be sure to get with it:
                                                                                                                                              *Their unique Barbecue Slaw, and

                                                                                                                                              Fried Chicken Livers (Bill's Barbecue in Wilson is a great place for these)

                                                                                                                                              Porkchop Sandwich (I hear the Snappy Lunch in Mt Airy is good, but for my money, you can't beat White Swan Barbecue in Four Oaks for these - and their barbecue and chicken is great, too. Say hello to owner (and town mayor), Lynwood Parker, a real Southern character.)

                                                                                                                                              Real Banana Pudding, homemade from milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla, ripe bananas and Nilla wafers, with meringue on top. Any substitutes are gross, the real thing is a joy. Strickland-Dail's is good.

                                                                                                                                              Real Macaroni and Cheese, homemade from small elbows, eggs, milk, butter, salt & pepper, and way more than you think Extra Sharp Cheese, baked until the cheese on top begins to get crispy around the edges. Pure heaven.

                                                                                                                                              Hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Look for the "Hot Now" sign and drink cold milk as you eat them. Order more than you think :-)

                                                                                                                                              Fried Seafood Platter -- all brown, all good :-) I like Silver Lake in Wilson. Get fries and slaw for your sides to be authentic. Ask them for extra horseradish for the cocktail sauce. It's Calabash style and lots of folks go down there for it.

                                                                                                                                              Fried Herring during the herring run. This is one I haven't tried, but folks rave about.

                                                                                                                                              Red Wieners - Carolina Packer's "Brightleaf Hotdogs" are considered the classic in Eastern NC and folks around here won't eat a hotdog unless it's Carolina Packers.

                                                                                                                                              Watermelon pickles and okra pickles


                                                                                                                                              Just made Pork Rinds - not to be compared with the bagged variety

                                                                                                                                              Cornbread made from Stoneground, local cornmeal. We like Atkinson Milling Co. We took the children there on a field trip and they still grind it with water-driven stones!

                                                                                                                                              Johnston County Country Hams, Smithfield, NC Wow. Cook the old fashioned way -- soak the whole thing and bake it whole (so yum), or the fast and easy panfry an unsoaked slice for salty strength of flavor.

                                                                                                                                              Asheville barbecue -- tomatoey, very different from Lexington or Eastern-style. We like Three Little Pigs. Hushpuppies are the thing here.

                                                                                                                                              For hamburgers, oh dear, don't miss the Char-Grill in Raleigh. Get a Steak or Steak Junior, with chili and cheese. And a chocolate milkshake and fries, oh how delicious!

                                                                                                                                              Anywhere in North Carolina, we enjoy Cook Out, a NC chain that has terrific milkshakes (try Banana Fudge!) and great burgers.

                                                                                                                                              My dh loves Cooper's Barbecue in Raleigh for their pork rinds.

                                                                                                                                              Awesome bulk breakfast sausage, for grocery store varieties, try Bass Farms, Nahunta or Neese.

                                                                                                                                              You have got to get yourself invited to a real Pig Pickin'. Honestly, there is no substitute. Uniquely wonderful!

                                                                                                                                              Blackberry cobbler, homemade with vanilla ice cream.

                                                                                                                                              Peach cobbler, also called peach snook. The kind made from fresh peaches, pour melted real butter over them, then poor the batter over that and do not stir! Cook until crispy. Just had some last night and it was exquisite!

                                                                                                                                              I can go on and on about South Carolina foods, too...

                                                                                                                                              Hope that helps!

                                                                                                                                              Snappy Lunch
                                                                                                                                              125 N Main St, Mount Airy, NC 27030

                                                                                                                                              Pig Pickins
                                                                                                                                              548 S Stratford Rd, Winston Salem, NC 27103

                                                                                                                                              Carolina Barbecue
                                                                                                                                              296 E Blackstock Rd, Spartanburg, SC 29301

                                                                                                                                              Strickland Dail Dining
                                                                                                                                              416 Kingold Blvd, Snow Hill, NC 28580

                                                                                                                                              Lexington Barbecue
                                                                                                                                              100 Smokehouse Lane, Lexington, NC 27295

                                                                                                                                              Krispy Kreme
                                                                                                                                              2706 Watson Blvd Ste A, Warner Robins, GA 31093

                                                                                                                                              Three Little Pigs
                                                                                                                                              1023 Fernwood Glendale Rd Ste 4, Spartanburg, SC 29307

                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: youngandsons

                                                                                                                                                  Kudos to Jay-L! How could I have forgotten collards?? The collards at Bill's Barbecue & Chicken in Wilson are the way they ought to be done -- my children say they're like a green pig (so much pork flavor)... :-)

                                                                                                                                                  Also love strawberry rhubarb pie, but I haven't seen rhubarb around here in ages. Curse of the chain groceries, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                  And Seven Layer Salad - haven't seen but a few restaurants with this, but there aren't many holiday tables without it around here. Crisp lettuce, peas, sweet onions, green peppers, bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise (I like salad dressing type) with brown sugar. Oh yum!

                                                                                                                                                  Congealed salads, too, are on nearly every festive table. I like the one with apricot jello, cottage cheese, cool whip and mandarin oranges.

                                                                                                                                                  Bill's Barbecue & Chicken
                                                                                                                                                  3007 Downing St SW, Wilson, NC 27893

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: youngandsons

                                                                                                                                                    "Congealed salads"? "Seven Layer Salad? These dishes aren't unique to NC and I can't imagine why someone would seek them out on a food-finding expedition around the state. I think the OP was looking for dishes unique and special to NC available at restaurants, bakeries, roadside stands, and otherwise already prepared.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: youngandsons

                                                                                                                                                    That's what I'm talking about. This Carolina boy loves this list, youngandsons.

                                                                                                                                                    I would add, the Cham at TJ's in W-S is pretty danged awesome, as are the onion rings.

                                                                                                                                                  3. My apologies if someone mentioned this already but for me, the chicken salad at Tookie"s in Raleigh is the quintessential NC dish.

                                                                                                                                                    One location at Seaboard in Raleigh, another location in a gas station on Falls of Neuse just south of I-540. I've also heard that they've opened a location in Garner.

                                                                                                                                                    Grab a tub to go, add a pack of crackers or a loaf of bread and you'll have a great snack for all those "in between meal times" during your trip.


                                                                                                                                                    1. Fried oysters at Magnolia Grill. Of course, there are so many things that they do well, but they fry oysters like none I've ever had.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Downeast Clam Chowder

                                                                                                                                                        Conch Fritters...made from whelk, not conch

                                                                                                                                                        Soft Shell Crabs

                                                                                                                                                        A real shrimp burger somewhere around Morehead City...El's Drive In is a popular option

                                                                                                                                                        Chicken & Pastry

                                                                                                                                                        Apple Jacks...sort of a fried pie, but not the crispy & flaky kind you might find elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                        Nahunta Sausage...hot or mild, but hot is the best

                                                                                                                                                        Tenderloin biscuits...something I've not thought about in some time. Fried portions of pork tenderloin simmered in gravy made from the pan drippings after frying the loin. Classic Eastern NC breakfast fodder right there!

                                                                                                                                                        A Carolina Packer, Brightleaf hot dog

                                                                                                                                                        Collards made with cured ham hocks...not smoked ham hocks...and NOT cooked with vinegar! Vinegar or hot vinegar should only be used as a condiment, not as an ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                        Fried Gizzards

                                                                                                                                                        Fried Chicken

                                                                                                                                                        Fried Oysters

                                                                                                                                                        Fried Squash...in Eastern NC, when you're at someone's house and they are cooking fried squash, don't expect a breaded & deep fried product. It's going to be just yellow squash & onions cooked in a cast iron pan until they are caramelizing & turning black. Now THAT is fried squash.

                                                                                                                                                        Fried Herring on a piece of white loaf bread

                                                                                                                                                        Herring roe...fried by itself or scrambled with eggs

                                                                                                                                                        Hoop cheese from off the counter at the gas station down the road

                                                                                                                                                        Forget the fried pork skins. Growing up in Eastern NC if I ever had a fried pork skin, it came from a bag and was considered Yankee food. For a real pork skin experience you have to seek out some cracklins. Skin with the fat and bits of meat still attached, cooked down slow to render & cook in it's own fat.

                                                                                                                                                        Better than cracklins, find a pig pickin' & pop off a wafer of crispy skin to enjoy some of the best eats anywhere. A little salt and possibly a splash of vinegar & pepper bbq sauce will bring the experience to new heights.

                                                                                                                                                        On the subject of fried fat...FATBACK! Rinse the salt off & deep fry until crisp. Just don't try to eat the rind. Gnaw on it some, just don't be caught eating it. LOL

                                                                                                                                                        And one for only those in the know..................FRIED HARD CRABS. Truly a unique experience.

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JayL

                                                                                                                                                          An Alamance County Cheese Dog - Mustard , Chili, Onions with blocks of cheese - no bun. Can be gotten where in Alamance County but I would recommend Zack's in Burlington, Thrifty Kitchen in Graham or Margie's Grill in Mebane.

                                                                                                                                                          Have not seen anyone mention this - unique to Alamance County except for Missy's Grill in Efland.

                                                                                                                                                          Missy's Grill
                                                                                                                                                          321 Mount Willing Rd, Efland, NC 27243

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: steveindurham3

                                                                                                                                                            Meant to say no meat not bun in the Alamance County Cheese Dog.

                                                                                                                                                            Must add the collards, rutabagas and banana pudding at Bum's in Ayden.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Northern Outer Banks Specialities:
                                                                                                                                                          Crab Cakes from the Blue Point Bar & Grill in Duck.
                                                                                                                                                          A Mahi Boat with a milkshake from John's Drive In, Kitty Hawk.
                                                                                                                                                          Hatteras Style Clam Chowder from Roadside Grill in Duck.
                                                                                                                                                          Soft Shell Crab Sandwich fom Sam & Omie's in Nags Head.
                                                                                                                                                          Steamed Hard Shell crabs from the OBX dumped on a picnic table in the back yard.
                                                                                                                                                          Crab Slough oysters fresh off the grill on a chilly Fall day.
                                                                                                                                                          Sweet Potato biscuits from Kelly's Restaruant, Nags Head.
                                                                                                                                                          Fresh caught tuna belly with soy, wasabi and pickled ginger.

                                                                                                                                                          Sam & Omie's Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                          7228 S Virginia Dare Trl, Nags Head, NC 27959

                                                                                                                                                          John's Drive In
                                                                                                                                                          3716 Virginia Dare Trl N, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: SweetPhyl

                                                                                                                                                            So glad you posted these as I am headed there in a few days. I thought Sam & Omie's was known for their clam chowder? Can you recommend the best place to get fresh shrimp and crabs to cook at home? We're staying in Duck. I used to live in KDH as a young teen back in the early 80's and have been to the area in many, many years. Blue Point and Sam & Omie's are on my list of places to check out. As are Oceanfront Grille, Duck Donuts and Ocracoke Seafood Co. TIA!

                                                                                                                                                            Sam & Omie's Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                            7228 S Virginia Dare Trl, Nags Head, NC 27959

                                                                                                                                                            The Oceanfront Grille
                                                                                                                                                            1193 Franklyn Ct, Corolla, NC 27927

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                              Sam & Omie's does a great chowder, but I like their She Crab Soup better...shoulda mentioned that one too! In Duck, there's Dockside in Duck or you can hit Billy's Seafood in Colington if you don't mind the drive. Carawan's is right in front of the Walmart in Kitty Hawk and does great fresh stuff, too. Welcome Back! Have a great week and you really should add John's Drive In to your list...yesterday they had a ROCKFISH boat! OMG!

                                                                                                                                                              Sam & Omie's Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                              7228 S Virginia Dare Trl, Nags Head, NC 27959

                                                                                                                                                              John's Drive In
                                                                                                                                                              3716 Virginia Dare Trl N, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SweetPhyl

                                                                                                                                                                Thank you so much for your suggestions! John's Drive-In was amazing! You are SO right about the rockfish too - yummmmmmm. The counterperson suggested I get a mixed boat of both dolphinfish & rockfish and I'm glad I did - both were so good. But I had a slight preference for hte rockfish (she also told me you can buy the fried fish for a $1/piece too). Their pork bbq and hushpuppies were quite good also. Did I mention the chocolate peanutbutter banana shake my daughter had? Wow! We went twice and everyone loved the food and experience.

                                                                                                                                                                And we bought some beautiful carolina shrimp & crabs at Carawan's. Great prices and oh so fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                Thanks again for great recs!
                                                                                                                                                                We also went to Sam & Omie's - but for breakfast so I didn't get to sample the award-winning clam chowder. :-( They do have great pancakes though. Eggs benedict - not so much (fried eggs instead of poached).

                                                                                                                                                                Sam & Omie's Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                7228 S Virginia Dare Trl, Nags Head, NC 27959

                                                                                                                                                            2. Moravian cookies and bread in Old Salem.
                                                                                                                                                              Asheville is the city to be for views. Do a search for that city's best food. My favorite was The Grove Park Inn but it has been years since I was there.
                                                                                                                                                              Neomonde in Raleigh for fresh baked pita bread and the best Middle Eastern food.

                                                                                                                                                              Old Salem
                                                                                                                                                              736 S Main St, Winston Salem, NC 27101

                                                                                                                                                              1. Jesco: I grew up in NC long before most of you were born and if you are looking for specific NC foods don't forget livermush. It is only available in and around the Shelby area and is in a loaf. My favorite was to slice off a portion, fry it in a tad of butter and eat it on very fresh plain ole sliced white bread smeared with yellow mustard. Lordy what I wouldn't give for one right now.

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: yayajac

                                                                                                                                                                  Livermush in the west...liver pudding in the east.

                                                                                                                                                                  If you're actually from Eastern NC, it's liver puddin'


                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: yayajac

                                                                                                                                                                    you can definitely get liver mush in more places than Shelby. you can get mush and pudding in any grocery store in central nc

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Jesco: Oh yes, I forgot. Besides livermush, the next best thins is a grilled pimento cheese sandwich - also on sliced white bread and fried in a tad of butter just like they used to make in the downtown drugstore in Shelby. Umm.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Don't think I've seen these mentioned:

                                                                                                                                                                      --collard sandwich (yes, there is such a thing...fatback with "a mess of" collards between two pieces of cornbread)
                                                                                                                                                                      --boiled peanuts
                                                                                                                                                                      --salted peanuts in a Coke. You must use a glass bottle for this. Just drop the peanuts in, drink the coke, then eat the peanuts. :)
                                                                                                                                                                      --homemade peach ice cream
                                                                                                                                                                      --country style steak
                                                                                                                                                                      --chitlins (come on now, you know this belongs on the list)

                                                                                                                                                                      And about Calabash, I always recommend one of four places: Beck's, Seafood Hut, Dockside, and Ella's. These are run by family members of the original sisters who started it all back in the 1930's. They've been at it a long time, and they do it right!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I am a native of NC and these are the things I would recommend:
                                                                                                                                                                        chopped bbq, pulled pork
                                                                                                                                                                        fried chicken
                                                                                                                                                                        field peas
                                                                                                                                                                        fresh tomato sandwich
                                                                                                                                                                        banana pudding
                                                                                                                                                                        chocolate pie with meringue
                                                                                                                                                                        fried seafood - calabash style
                                                                                                                                                                        pimento cheese sandwiches
                                                                                                                                                                        biscuits and sausage gravy
                                                                                                                                                                        succotash - corn and lima beans
                                                                                                                                                                        marinated cucumbers and tomatoes
                                                                                                                                                                        macaroni and cheese - the real kind
                                                                                                                                                                        sweet tea, sweet tea, sweet tea......

                                                                                                                                                                        I would be happy to suggest restaurants....but you didn't ask for that. I would love to trek across NC and eat all the best we have to offer!! Have fun!!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. You foregot Mac's Air Dried Sausage, it is the best

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Well, since the original post mentioned North Carolina dishes I will stick to that for the most part...unless I can't help myself. Since my family is from eastern NC and specifically southeastern North Carolina...my daddy is white from Sampson, Duplin, Harnett and Cumberland Counties and my mama is Lumbee Indian from Robeson and Scotland Counties, (as well as northeastern South Carolina....they eat generally the same sort of things in the two areas), i will stick to some of the foods that I ate growing up. Some things are repeats from what has been mentioned and are more general southern foods....but I think what is missing from the lists are the regional NC dishes that haven't gotten into restaurants or are no longer being served except at home and for large gatherings......I hope I got a few of those in here. You need to make some friends all over nc to really eat local.

                                                                                                                                                                            Boiled peas and beans (with some sort of pork seasoning)

                                                                                                                                                                            Chopped String Beans/Snaps/Snap Beans/whatever you call them (instead of leaving them whole chop them up...they are boiled.

                                                                                                                                                                            Mayo based slaw (Duke's....it has no sugar, touch of vinegar, touch of mustard, salt, pepper)

                                                                                                                                                                            Potato Salad (Duke's Mayo, pickles, touch of vinegar, mustard, pepper, sometimes onion)

                                                                                                                                                                            Greens (Whatever, collard, kale, mustard, turnip....since i grew up with the mantra of no stringy collards.....here is how we did them. Wash, boil with meat or not, chop fine, fry in meat grease or canola wait to add grease until most of water is gone though, while frying can add some crushed red pepper or other things if you want.....When I say chop....i mean chop...real fine.

                                                                                                                                                                            Collard Sandwich (mentioned earlier, the first place i saw them was in the Robeson.Scotland, Richmond County area, I am Lumbee on my mama's side and at Lumbee Homecoming we have few booths set up selling them. Collards, white side/fat back in between fried cornbread....real good eating.)

                                                                                                                                                                            Country Style Steak (with rice which i prefer or with creamed or mashed potatoes)

                                                                                                                                                                            Chicken and Pastry (Eastern NC Version)

                                                                                                                                                                            Carolina Packers Hot Dogs (From Smithfield. They are good anyway you want to prepare them....but i love them cold, right out of the bag or 10 pound box, wrapped in a piece of light bread)

                                                                                                                                                                            Liver Mush/Pudding (Mush has more cornmeal as a filler) (Try the Mayor's Special at the Shelby Cafe' in Shelby)

                                                                                                                                                                            Pig Pickin Cake (perfect at a whole hog pig pickin'...cuts the heavyness of the hog)

                                                                                                                                                                            Little Layer Cake (many small layers…some say seven or eight, but I have seen upwards of 15…the chocolate icing and little layers blend into this really nice mesh of cake….i love to eat a slice of this cake with a slice of hoop cheese)

                                                                                                                                                                            Banana Puddin' (with boiled puddin')

                                                                                                                                                                            Fried Okra/Squash (fried down with onions or without in a cast iron frying pan...not breaded)

                                                                                                                                                                            Fried Mullet and Rice (for breakfast....fast fading into memory)

                                                                                                                                                                            Tater Bread (now this is more like a bread puddin' type bread that doesn't rise much, soft and mushy on the inside with a thin outside crust when it is hot....all mushy when cold ....I saw it on a buffet in Loris, SC once, but only had it when it was made by family when i was growing up. This is ten times better than any sweet potato biscuit i ever ate....!!!!!!)

                                                                                                                                                                            Chocolate Sop/Chocolate and Biscuit/Chocolate Syrup (I haven't heard of it much outside of the central piedmont/coastal plain fall line region...like in sampson/johnston/wilson/nash/harnett county area, but that doesn't mean it isn't in other places in NC and the South. The syrup is made with hershey's powdered chocolate but not as sweet as a cake icing or other chocolate syrups ...like molasses mixed with peanut butter. We would eat this as supper with fried eggs and molasses or sorghum syrup as well, and a pan of cheese biscuits. You just pour the chocolate syrup in the plate and go at it with a biscuit.)

                                                                                                                                                                            Hoe Cake/Flour Bread (mama calls it hoe cake, but i also see it called flour bread. Basically a flour or cornbread biscuit cooked in a cast iron pan on the stove, browned on both sides with some side meat grease or crisco. It doesn't rise much, but is one of my favorites)

                                                                                                                                                                            Fried Cracklin' Cornbread (like the small, round cornbread, grease fried in the cast iron pan, but with pork cracklins thrown in the batter.....)

                                                                                                                                                                            Barbecue Chicken (Grilled Chicken with no rub or anything put on it other than salt, then after you make some barbecue sauce with cider vinegar, water, crushed red pepper, butter and maybe a little flour mashed up with water added when bubbling for thickness....you then take the grilled chicken and then put it in the big pot with the barbecue sauce and boil it...we call it steaming, but it is actually submerged....for a few minutes. Serve with Duke's mayo based slaw, boiled potatoes or potato salad and bread....that's what my family means when we say "you want to cook some chickens this weekend"}

                                                                                                                                                                            Chicken Bog (southeastern NC/northeastern SC....Chicken boiled with some seasoning.....i like onion, green pepper.....add smoked sausage and use a whole bunch of black pepper.....then add the rice. Called bog because it will thicken up on you i guess. Similar to other Southern dishes pilau (perloo) from Charleston....etc.....)

                                                                                                                                                                            Liver Hash (Pork liver, hearts, lights and rib meat cooked till crumbly....add some a whole bunch of black pepper and some crushed red pepper to taste, serve it over rice. Some folks add tomatoes and it's more like a gravy....i like mine drier.)

                                                                                                                                                                            Stewed Tomatoes and Rice (Stew some fresh tomatoes and then put with rice....i like it with lots of black pepper.)

                                                                                                                                                                            Chicken and Grits (Fresh chicken off the yard boiled with grits added to the stock....you could probably use a less fresh chicken)

                                                                                                                                                                            Rice Bread (made out of leftover rice, I did say my family was from southeastern nc....it was rice growing country back in the day....i love me some rice)

                                                                                                                                                                            Grape Hull Preserves/Grape Hull Pie (made with the husk...the outside of scuppernong/muscadine grapes)

                                                                                                                                                                            Sugar Tomatoes (add sugar to fresh tomatoes)

                                                                                                                                                                            I could go on....., I didn't even mention fried chicken, barbecue and many other things, but i kept it on the local/personal level.....i could go on, but i will stop here. Hope you find some of these in a restaurant....it might be hard though for a few of them. Good Eatin'.

                                                                                                                                                                            Pig Pickins
                                                                                                                                                                            548 S Stratford Rd, Winston Salem, NC 27103

                                                                                                                                                                            Country Style Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                            4023 Kennerly Rd, Orangeburg, SC 29118

                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: scuffletown

                                                                                                                                                                              If most are "regional NC dishes that haven't gotten into restaurants" how is the OP going to travel to eat them?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: scuffletown

                                                                                                                                                                                I enjoyed reading scuffletown's essay! I lived in the Sandhills for a short while so this brought back some memories.
                                                                                                                                                                                Chicken bog and liver hash are still served in most South Carolina barbecue restaurants.
                                                                                                                                                                                I have never heard of a collard sandwich but I know all about crumbling cornbread into a bowl of greens, turnip greens or collard greens. It is delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: scuffletown

                                                                                                                                                                                  Great list, scuffletown! I was raised in Scotland Co., and I have Lumbee relatives on my Dad's side, so I'm familiar with many items on your list. I'm reminded of a few more:

                                                                                                                                                                                  Corn & okra--fresh corn cut from the cob, add a few pods of okra cut into 1/4 inch pieces, and simmer with about an inch of water in the bottom of the pot for about 10-15 minutes. Add salt and lots of pepper, and dig in!

                                                                                                                                                                                  Hot biscuits and molasses--there are two variations of this. First, put a pat of butter on a small plate, and pour a few tablespoons of molasses over it. Use a fork to mash the butter into small pieces, mixing it in with the molasses. Use a hot biscuit to sop. Second variation: use your finger to poke a hole into the biscuit (careful you don't burn yourself!). Pour a tablespoon or two of molasses into the hole, and eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Salmon & eggs--using canned salmon, add a few eggs and scramble. Sounds nasty (and it probably is), but I remember eating it as a child.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Flour bread--dough is similar to biscuit dough, but spread out in a cast iron skillet and cooked on the stove top. Much like Indian naan bread, but thicker.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Peaches & cream--put fresh peach slices in a small bowl or cup. Add a teaspoon or two of sugar, then cover with milk and stir a bit. Eat the peaches, then drink the sweet milk!

                                                                                                                                                                                  And just a comment about cooking greens. My Mom (and most other old-fashioned southern cooks I know) would "stew" greens rather than boil them. The difference is that relatively little water is used. Here's the technique: Heat up a pan and add a few tablespoons of fat (bacon fat is usually preferred, but vegetable oil will do). Add the greens (they'll immediately sizzle loudly), stir a little to distribute the fat, then quickly add about 1/2 cup water. Reduce heat, cover, and stir occasionally until done.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Man, I'm hungry!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. A Slaw Sandwich from RO's Barbeque in Gastonia.


                                                                                                                                                                                    1. You have to include a dish from an Irish Pub. I suggest Bangers & Mash from Hannah Flanagans Irish Pub in Henderson, NC

                                                                                                                                                                                      Don't make the mistake of going to Hannah Flanagans in Asheville.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Moosebeshack

                                                                                                                                                                                        Scrambled eggs and country ham with grits with red eye gravy and biscuits. Did not see red eye gravy mentioned anywhere on here.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Pineapple milk shakes from Troy's in Statesville (Old Mountain Road).

                                                                                                                                                                                        Cornbread (corner piece) from Bum's or Skylight Inn in Ayden or Bunn's in Windsor.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Skylight Inn
                                                                                                                                                                                        4618 S Lee St, Ayden, NC

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: steveindurham3

                                                                                                                                                                                          Went to Flo's Kitchen in Wilson, NC this weekend - the tenderloin and cheese biscuit was incredible.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Flo's Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                          1015 Goldsboro St S, Wilson, NC 27893

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Look for one of the Food Truck Roundups in Durham with some of our local favorite trucks: Only Burger, Indian Food on Wheels, Daisy Cakes, Bulkogi Korean BBQ, Parlez-Vous Crepe and Mom's Delicious Dishes to name a few. I think there have been 3-4 events this summer to wonderful reviews.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I skimmed the replies but didn't have time to do an in-depth reading, these may have already been listed, but here are some I would say are very NC: a streak-o-lean sandwich on white bread. . .(a very specific cut of pork fat, it is NOT fatback, not smoked, and has a hard "rind" down one edge, check Piggly-Wiggly or Carlie C's grocery stores, and some rural Food Lions). Cucumber pickles. . . pear preserves from those little hard green pears that give you stomachaches if you eat them raw. . .Chocolate hundred-layer cake. . . chicken pastry from an old hen. . . . Carolina Packers hot dogs. . . homemade peach ice cream. . . scrapple . . brains or salmon roe (see above grocery store list) and eggs. . .those little orange boiled potatoes at bar-b-que joints . . . corn sticks. . . I grew up east of Raleigh so this may be a disproportionately eastern NC food list.

                                                                                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: shoneycu

                                                                                                                                                                                            Shad row fried or cooked with scrambled eggs. Oh yeah.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: shoneycu

                                                                                                                                                                                              How could I have not though of this one before?!?

                                                                                                                                                                                              Fried Herring & white bread. Oh dear Lord. How heavenly.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: shoneycu

                                                                                                                                                                                                I've always associated Scrapple with Philadelphia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                  burgeoningfoodie, you are probably right. when I read your post it occurred to me that our scrapple was always what we made . . . I grew up on a hog farm. I never got it from a grocery store. So I probably stand corrected, that was just a tiny microcosm of my neighborhood (mcgees crossroads nc)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shoneycu

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Stuff like liver pudding is vaguely similar to scrapple. Most North Carolinians probably have no idea what scrapple is. I know an 82 year old lady from Pine Level (right up the road from McGees Crossroads) that had no idea what scrapple was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I always thought it was some Yankee thing also...although I'll eat it and somewhat enjoy it even though I do not like liver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Scrapple is actually a Pennsylvania Dutch treat, but it is popular throughout the PA, NJ & MD area also. It's pig scraps mixed with cornmeal. It does not taste of liver, like livermush/pudding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fry up some scrapple for breakfast and drizzle with some maple syrup. That's good eatin' right thur for this "Yankee".

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Having not had both scrapple and liver mush or liver pudding, I can't make a decision on how similar or not they are. I know I've had scrapple at Reading Terminal in Philly. It just reminded me of ground up sausage to some degree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lynnlato - I guess that is why I always liked the maple sausage flavor.. must be that my parents are northerners and I was born in the South... I just like the hint of sweetness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                        livermush and liver pudding are very similar. here is a link to neeses a local maker http://www.neesesausage.com/products/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        liver mush, pudding and scrapple are generally found most grocery stores in the central parts of nc(greater piedmont)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I like the a hint of sweetness too. I can do without the liver taste though. Maybe if they made it with duck or goose livers, hmmm.... LOL :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                                                                            This was in the N & O and reminded me of our discussion about liver products & scrapple. It appears that a group of Pennsylvania Dutch relocated to parts of NC and popularized scrapple in certain parts of our state -- http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/10/2...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. We visited Charlotte for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and luckily stumbled upon Rooster's. The location would suggest that it would not be anything remarkable as it is in a strip-mall across the street from a bigger mall. But the food rocked! Excellent salads with juicy local tomatoes. They poured a fine variety of wines by the glass. My son loved the pimento-cheese, toasted on the grill to crunchy yumminess, so much that he was almost rude about sharing a bite. I can say that the fried chicken livers were even better than my grandmother's. They were perfectly fried, yet still a moist & pink inside, and served with tomato jam over crispy polenta! Too bad Grandma never did that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Rooster's Wood-Fired Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                                    6601 Morrison Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28211

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jaybeck

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rooster's is actually a popular restaurant in the Charlotte area. Jim Noble is a well-known restauranteur in these parts and, in addition to Rooster's, has Noble's and the King's Kitchen in Charlotte, and Noble's Grille in WS. King's Kitchen opened recently in uptown Charlotte and is a non-profit restaurant that Mr. Noble started as a mission to help serve troubled youth, the community and the unemployed by training them in the restaurant/service industry. Here's a link: http://kingskitchen.org/mission/

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Noble's Grille
                                                                                                                                                                                                      380 Knollwood St., Winston-Salem, NC 27103

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Well I've read through this list and being a foodie from NC it makes me pretty proud. We have a LOT to offer in this department and the best time of year for everything is upon us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have one suggestion to add to this list and it's also a question: Has anybody had "WARM 'Nanner Pudding" from Miller's Restaurant in Mocksville, NC? It's made by an older lady maybe once or twice a month and people call to find out when it's going to be served and get there when it comes out of the oven. No lie.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      I happened upon this place on one such day and I have to tell you: it is one of the best things I have ever tasted. I'm a chef/caterer and long time food-lover so this is high praise from me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Warm 'Nanner Pudding is more like a banana souffle than cold banana pudding. At Miller's it's made in a huge double-deep hotel pan and goes onto the warming shelf when it comes out of the oven: bananas, vanilla wafers, and warm delirious vanilla custard topped with toasty meringue. (And I am not a meringue fan generally!) Everything melts together and it's a lush layered almost lascivious spoon-licking treat. It's what I call "Smack your Granny good..."

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: graddini

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bananna Pudding made like this is becoming a lost art. A few years ago I made it to a church homecoming and set out to taste the puddings. Several were brought, only one was what I call "real". The rest were fake bananna pudding from a box w/ copious amounts of cool whip. ewh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: graddini

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Warm banana pudding is awesome. Nowadays you're lucky to get anything besides instant pudding mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Maybe I missed it on the list, but what about some "fresh" softshell crabs. I'm originally from Md but the softshells here are to die for!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. The mussells at The Admiral in Asheville
                                                                                                                                                                                                            BBQ at Allen & Sons in Chapel Hill
                                                                                                                                                                                                            The hush puppies at Watts Grocery in Durham
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Paninis, crostinis, bruschetta, and soup at Toast in Durham
                                                                                                                                                                                                            The salt & pepper shrimp at Lantern in Chapel Hill
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pastor and cabeza tacos at Los Comales in Durham
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mami Nora's Peruvian chicken in Durham
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Salty egg and prosciutto pizza at Pop's in Durham
                                                                                                                                                                                                            The chili relleno at Dos Perros in Durham
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Shrimp burger at the Big Oak Drive In in Salter Path

                                                                                                                                                                                                            so many more!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Los Comales
                                                                                                                                                                                                            2103 N Roxboro St, Durham, NC 27704

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Watts Grocery
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1116 Broad Street, Durham, NC 27705

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Big Oak Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                                            5943 Old Rural Hall Rd, Winston Salem, NC 27105

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Drive In
                                                                                                                                                                                                            505 S Pierce St, Alma, GA 31510

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dos Perros
                                                                                                                                                                                                            200 N Mangum St. Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I haven't lived in NC for too many years but if no one has mentioned the Garlic Fries from The Wooden Nickel in Hillsborough... they should be on the list! I drive 30 minutes to get them! (they have other good food, too... but those are to die for!)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They were open last month when I was in town. They have opened the Hillsborough BBQ Company, perhaps that is what made it seem as though they had closed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Some of these are repititions, but here goes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Country ham and some red eye gravy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Banana and mayonnaise sandwich (Duke's, if you please)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pork rinds and cracklin bread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                collard greens cooked with ham hock

                                                                                                                                                                                                                fried cornbread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pimiento cheese - best I've had commercially comes from the New Yorkers that run the Poppyseed Market in Raleigh. When you make pimmena' cheese like that you get an honorary Southern citizenship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                warm/cooked banana pudding - anything else is cheatin'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                grits - with the above red eye gravy or butter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                fried seafood - most North Carolinians used to grow up thinking there's no other way to cook the stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                And finally, Biscuits! They should be served - for free as the 'bread'- at every restaurant in the state. I'm waiting for the Governor that makes this a law!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Poppyseed Market
                                                                                                                                                                                                                8801 Lead Mine Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Leadmine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'd vote for any gubernatorial candidate who made that the core plank in their platform!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Q in Durham has great barbeque; ribs, brisket, turkey, & chicken. the sides are good but not as good as the meat.

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