Can’t-Miss Cuisine from the Southern United States

Can’t-Miss Cuisine from the Southern United States

Last Updated on October 20, 2020

Good old southern cooking is a time-honored tradition. From your Carolina BBQ to your New Orleans crawfish jambalaya, there are hundreds of unique foods in these southern areas. If you want to get the very best of your Southern road trip or vacation, be sure to munch on some of these delectable dishes as you pass through. Check out the cuisine from the Southern United States you can’t miss:

Carolina BBQ


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The Carolinas, both North and South, are world-famous for their legendary barbecue. In the south, when we say BBQ, we don’t just mean the pre-bottled sauce you can find on the supermarket shelves. There are dozens of unique homemade sauces that you can find in the thriving barbecue restaurant industry in the south.

It’s not just about the sauce though. In South Carolina, they take their meat seriously. In certain areas of the state, you might even stumble upon a whole hog barbecue. Slow roasted pork over coal fire is a staple of historic South Carolina cuisine.

This barbecue often pairs with sides like southern-style baked macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, and biscuits. Many expert barbecue chefs even create unique dishes like broccoli and cottage cheese casserole. Once you know how to make cottage cheese at home, the rest is simple.

Louisiana Cajun and Creole Cuisine


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One of the best places to get a warm, spicy meal when you are looking for cuisine from the Southern United States is in Louisiana. A few staples of this cuisine include crawfish, oysters, and other seafood. Influences to this cooking style include West African and French cooking as well as neighboring southern states. Gumbo and jambalaya are two common dishes you may see on the menu. Desserts like the Beignet also belong to this culinary and cultural cooking style.

Like Louisiana Creole cuisine, cajun food has influences from West African, French, and Spanish food. Delicacies you may find in the southern United States include the famous po’ boy sandwich, which is a must-try meal when visiting Louisiana. The po’ boy contains meat which is usually seafood like shrimp or crawfish. The seafood is fried and crispy served on French bread with toppings like lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayonnaise. You won’t want to forget to top it off with some spicy and delicious Louisiana-style hot sauce.

Lowcountry Cuisine


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This style of cooking is primarily found in South Carolina and Coastal Georgia. You may have heard of a Lowcountry boil, which is a massive seafood boil that also includes corn, potatoes, and much more. Also common in this region is the southern special of shrimp and grits. 

Another huge element of Lowcountry meals is soup. Recipes like gumbos and she-crab soup are common as an appetizer or an entire hearty meal!

Florida Cuban Cuisine


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Florida may be famous for its oranges, but the state also holds a hidden treasure: Cuban cuisine. While this style of cooking did not originate in the region, it has made a home in many areas of Florida. 

If you are passing through the state, be sure to stop by a Cuban restaurant to try a hot-pressed Cuban sandwich, or bite into the sweet bread of a medianoche. If you’ve never had a delicious pastelito with your morning cafecito, you will have to make room in your schedule when you visit next!

The Bottom Line

The southern USA provides a unique opportunity to experience dozens of unique cuisines state by state. Don’t miss out on your chance to try some of these delectable meals as you travel through states like Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas. Known for their legendary barbecue and spicy seafood, southern cuisine is more than just comfort food. It’s an entire culinary experience and now you know the cuisine from the Southern United States you can’t miss!

About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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