Foods of North Carolina

There are a lot of good reasons to visit a state like North Carolina. For one thing, the weather in a Southern state like North Carolina is typically warm and sunny. Winters can get cold, sure, but there’s very little snow. In Charlotte, the state’s biggest city, the average annual snowfall is less than 4 inches. There are Northern states that can easily beat that total in a couple of hours. North Carolina also has plenty of great, relaxing beaches to visit. But even if you don’t like beaches and don’t mind snow, there’s one other big reason to visit North Carolina, and that’s the exquisite Southern cuisine found all over the state.

Meats, Sweets, and More

The Tar Heel State has foods that can satisfy both your sweet and savory taste buds. Dunkin’ Donuts dominates the Northeast corridor, and the West Coast loves Starbucks, but in the South, Krispy Kreme donuts are the first and best option. Krispy Kreme opened its first location in Old Salem, North Carolina, so visitors shouldn’t have any trouble finding fresh-glazed donuts when they’re traveling through the state. Just make sure to get there early, since there’s often a line, and there’s nothing quite like donuts that are hot off the conveyor belt. If you’d prefer something with a little less sugar, you can go for some grits, but know that grits work best when they’re absolutely slathered with butter. Southern food is delicious, but it’s rarely mistaken for health food.

Once you’ve got breakfast out of the way, it’s time to consider having barbecue for lunch or dinner (or both). The kind of barbecue you can get will depend in large part on what part of North Carolina you’re in. There are two major types of North Carolina barbecue: Lexington-style and Eastern-style. Eastern-style barbecue is more common in the, well, eastern part of the state. The barbecue sauce is made with vinegar, and the meat can come from several parts of the pig. Lexington-style is sometimes referred to as Western-style barbecue because it’s more common in Western North Carolina. It has vinegar in the sauce, but it also includes ketchup or tomatoes. It’s got a sweeter taste than the vinegar-only stuff, and it’s also typically made only with pork shoulder. There are some definite differences, but experts say the two sauce styles have more in common than, for example, the sauces in Kansas City or Memphis. So if you’re not sure which style to pick, why not try both? It may require a bit more travel, but your mouth will thank you later. Whatever you pick, make sure to wash it down with a big glass of sweet tea.

North Carolina On a Diet

Of course, not everyone who visits the South can afford to go crazy every meal. Some people can chug Cheerwine and inhale barbecue until they step on their return flight, but other people have dietary restrictions. If you’re allergic to tomatoes, you need to make absolutely sure that you aren’t going to eat barbecue sauce with any kind of tomato product in it. If you’re trying to lose weight and get in shape, you may want to splurge a little without feeling like have to start from scratch once you return home.

This is where your smartphone will be a lifesaver. You can use your phone to look up restaurants and, in many cases, find detailed menus online. If you can’t find the information you need, then give the restaurant a call and ask because texting while driving is illegal in North Carolina. Using hands-free adapters, which can be found at multiple AT&T Stores in North Carolina, can also be helpful.  

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