10 Best Foods To Try In North Carolina | Famous Foods Of North Carolina

10 Best Foods To Try In North Carolina | Famous Foods Of North Carolina

North Carolina, located in the southeastern region of the United States, is known for its rich culinary history and diverse range of traditional dishes. From the coastal region to the mountains, North Carolina offers a unique blend of flavors that have become world-renowned.

The state has a long-standing reputation for its barbecue, both pork and vinegar-based, and its fresh seafood, including shrimp, oysters, and crabs. Additionally, North Carolina is famous for its biscuits, fried chicken, and collard greens, among other iconic dishes. In this article, we’ll explore the best famous North Carolina local food.

What to eat in North Carolina | What is North Carolina known for food

North Carolina is known for its diverse culinary scene, ranging from BBQ to seafood to sweet treats. Here are 10 best famous North Carolina local food and cuisine options:

1.North Carolina BBQ

One of the most popular food in North Carolina, North Carolina is known for its barbecue, which is a style of cooking and serving meat that has been slow-cooked over hardwood coals or wood smoke. In North Carolina, barbecue typically refers to pork that is cooked and served in various styles across the state.BBQ

The three main styles of North Carolina barbecue are Eastern-style, Western-style, and Lexington-style. Eastern-style barbecue, also known as “whole hog” barbecue, is characterized by cooking the entire pig over a wood fire and then shredding the meat and mixing it with vinegar and spices, typically served with a vinegar-based sauce. Western-style barbecue, also known as “Piedmont-style” barbecue, uses only the pork shoulder and mixes the meat with a tomato-based sauce that is slightly sweeter than the vinegar-based sauce used in Eastern-style barbecue. Lexington-style barbecue, also known as “dip” barbecue, is a hybrid of Eastern and Western-style barbecue that uses only the pork shoulder and mixes the meat with a sauce that is a blend of ketchup, vinegar, and spices.

North Carolina barbecue is typically served with classic Southern sides such as coleslaw, hushpuppies, and baked beans. Barbecue restaurants are plentiful in North Carolina, with many towns and cities hosting annual barbecue festivals and competitions.


Cheerwine is a cherry-flavored soft drink that was created in North Carolina in 1917 by L.D. Peeler. It is one of the oldest soft drinks still in production in the United States, and it is particularly popular in the Southern United States, including North Carolina.Cheerwine

Cheerwine is made from a secret blend of ingredients that includes cherry flavoring, carbonated water, and high fructose corn syrup. The drink has a distinct, sweet cherry taste and is known for its burgundy color.

In North Carolina, Cheerwine is widely available and is often served at restaurants and events throughout the state. It is also frequently used as an ingredient in recipes, such as marinades, sauces, and desserts.

The popularity of Cheerwine has expanded beyond North Carolina, and it is now available in many parts of the United States. The company also produces other flavors, including diet Cheerwine and Cheerwine punch, as well as a line of Cheerwine-inspired snacks and merchandise.

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3.Calabash-style Seafood

Calabash-style seafood is a popular culinary tradition in coastal North Carolina. The style is named after the town of Calabash, which is located near the South Carolina border and is famous for its seafood restaurants.Calabash-style Seafood

Calabash-style seafood typically involves deep-frying seafood in a light, crispy batter made with flour, cornmeal, and seasonings. The seafood is often served with hushpuppies, which are fried cornmeal balls, and coleslaw.

The types of seafood that are commonly used in Calabash-style seafood include shrimp, oysters, fish, and crab. The seafood is usually caught fresh from local waters and cooked to order. The Calabash style of cooking seafood has become so popular that many restaurants throughout coastal North Carolina and other parts of the state now serve Calabash-style seafood dishes.

The town of Calabash has even been designated the “Seafood Capital of the World” due to its long history and tradition of serving delicious, fresh seafood prepared in the Calabash style. Visitors to North Carolina’s coastal region often make a point to stop in Calabash to enjoy this unique and flavorful style of seafood.

4.Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potato pie is a popular dessert in North Carolina and throughout the Southern United States. The pie is made with mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, eggs, and spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, and it is typically baked in a pastry crust.Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potato pie is a traditional dish in many African American households and is often served during the holiday season, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. In North Carolina, sweet potatoes are a significant crop, and the state is one of the leading producers of sweet potatoes in the United States.

The recipe for sweet potato pie has been passed down through generations of Southern families and has many variations. Some recipes call for additional ingredients, such as pecans or molasses, and some use a graham cracker crust instead of pastry.

Sweet potato pie is known for its rich, creamy texture and sweet, earthy flavor. It is often served with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Visitors to North Carolina can find sweet potato pie at many restaurants and bakeries throughout the state, particularly in the coastal and Piedmont regions where sweet potato farming is prevalent.


Livermush is a type of sausage that is popular in North Carolina, particularly in the western part of the state. It is made from a blend of pig liver, head meat, and cornmeal, and it is seasoned with spices such as sage, salt, and pepper. The mixture is then formed into a loaf and sliced for cooking.Livermush

Livermush is often compared to scrapple, a similar sausage that is popular in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. However, livermush is typically made with more cornmeal than scrapple, giving it a lighter texture and a slightly sweeter taste.

In North Carolina, livermush is often sliced and pan-fried, served as a breakfast meat with eggs, grits, or toast. It is also used as a sandwich filling, with some locals enjoying it on a hamburger bun with mustard, lettuce, and tomato.

Livermush has a long history in North Carolina, with some sources tracing its origins to German settlers who brought the scrapple recipe with them. Today, livermush is a beloved part of North Carolina’s culinary heritage and is often celebrated at festivals and competitions throughout the state.

6.Moravian Cookies

Moravian cookies are thin, crispy, and flavorful cookies that are a traditional North Carolina treat. The cookies are named after the Moravian settlers who came to North Carolina in the 18th century and brought their cookie recipe with them.Moravian Cookies

Moravian cookies are made from a mixture of flour, sugar, and butter, which is rolled thin and cut into small rounds. The cookies are then baked until they are golden brown and crispy. The most common flavors of Moravian cookies are ginger and cinnamon, but there are many other variations, including lemon, chocolate, and butterscotch.

In addition to being a beloved snack in North Carolina, Moravian cookies are also a popular gift item. The cookies are often packaged in decorative tins or boxes and given as gifts during the holiday season.

The town of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is particularly famous for its Moravian cookies. The town has several bakeries that specialize in making Moravian cookies and other traditional Moravian treats, such as sugar cakes and Moravian lovefeast buns. Visitors to Winston-Salem can tour these bakeries and sample the delicious treats for themselves.

7.Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is a North Carolina-based doughnut chain that is well-known throughout the United States and in many other countries around the world. The company was founded in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1937, and its signature product is its Original Glazed doughnut.Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Krispy Kreme doughnuts are made using a secret recipe that involves a yeast-raised dough that is fried until it is light and fluffy. The doughnuts are then glazed with a sweet, sugary glaze that creates a distinctive crispy and sweet exterior. Krispy Kreme offers a variety of doughnut flavors, including chocolate glazed, raspberry filled, and apple cinnamon.

Krispy Kreme doughnuts are popular not only in North Carolina but throughout the United States and beyond. The company has expanded to have over 1,400 locations in more than 30 countries. Krispy Kreme’s Original Glazed doughnut is especially popular and has been described as a quintessential American treat.

Visitors to North Carolina can visit the original Krispy Kreme location in Winston-Salem, which has been in operation since 1937 and still serves up fresh, hot doughnuts to this day. The company also has several other locations throughout the state and across the United States.

8.Boiled Peanuts

Boiled peanuts are a Southern snack that is particularly popular in North Carolina. The snack is made by boiling fresh green peanuts in salted water until they are soft and tender. The result is a salty and savory snack that is similar in texture to a cooked bean.Boiled Peanuts

Boiled peanuts are a staple at fairs, festivals, and other outdoor events in North Carolina, where they are often sold by street vendors. They are also commonly found at roadside stands and convenience stores throughout the state.

Boiled peanuts are a traditional snack in the Southern United States and have been enjoyed for generations. They are particularly popular in North Carolina, where the state’s warm climate and long growing season make it an ideal location for peanut farming.

In addition to being a tasty snack, boiled peanuts are also a good source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients. They are often eaten as a snack on their own, but they can also be used as a topping for salads, sandwiches, and other dishes.

Visitors to North Carolina who are interested in trying boiled peanuts can find them at many roadside stands and convenience stores throughout the state. They can also be purchased online from specialty food retailers.

9.Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits is a classic North Carolina dish that originated in the Lowcountry region of the state. The dish typically consists of sautéed or grilled shrimp served over a bed of creamy, cheesy grits.Shrimp and Grits

The grits used in shrimp and grits are made from hominy, which is corn that has been treated with an alkali solution to remove the hull and germ. The result is a grit that is creamier and more flavorful than traditional grits. The shrimp are often cooked in a sauce made from bacon, onions, garlic, and spices, which adds a savory flavor to the dish.

Shrimp and grits has a long history in North Carolina and is considered a comfort food in the state. It is particularly popular in the coastal areas of the state, where fresh shrimp are abundant.

Visitors to North Carolina who are interested in trying shrimp and grits can find the dish at many restaurants throughout the state, particularly in coastal towns and cities like Wilmington and Charleston. Some restaurants even offer their own unique twists on the classic dish, incorporating ingredients like smoked sausage or roasted vegetables.

10.Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and gravy is a classic Southern breakfast dish that is popular throughout North Carolina. The dish typically consists of freshly baked biscuits smothered in a rich, savory gravy made from pork sausage.

The biscuits used in biscuits and gravy are traditionally made from scratch using flour, buttermilk, and baking powder. They are baked until they are light and fluffy, with a slightly crisp exterior. The sausage gravy is made by browning ground pork sausage in a pan, then adding flour, milk, and spices to create a thick, creamy sauce.

Biscuits and gravy is a hearty and satisfying breakfast dish that has been enjoyed in North Carolina for generations. It is often served with eggs, bacon, or other breakfast meats, and is a staple at diners, cafes, and restaurants throughout the state.

Visitors to North Carolina who are interested in trying biscuits and gravy can find the dish at many breakfast and brunch spots throughout the state. Some restaurants even offer their own unique variations on the classic dish, incorporating ingredients like cheese, fried chicken, or even seafood.

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North Carolina snacks

North Carolina has a variety of snacks that are unique to the state and popular among locals and visitors alike. Here are some North Carolina snacks to try:

  1. Moravian cookies – These thin, crispy cookies originated in the Moravian community in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They come in a variety of flavors, including ginger, lemon, and chocolate.
  2. Krispy Kreme doughnuts – The first Krispy Kreme doughnut shop was opened in Winston-Salem in 1937, and the company is still based in North Carolina. Krispy Kreme doughnuts are famous for their light, fluffy texture and sweet glaze.
  3. Boiled peanuts – Boiled peanuts are a popular snack in the southeastern United States, and North Carolina is no exception. Fresh green peanuts are boiled in salty water until they’re soft and tender, creating a savory snack that’s perfect for road trips or ball games.
  4. Pimento cheese – Pimento cheese is a spread made with shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and diced pimentos. It’s a staple at parties and picnics in North Carolina and can be served with crackers, bread, or celery sticks.
  5. Cheerwine slushies – Cheerwine, the cherry-flavored soda that originated in North Carolina, is often served as a slushie in the state. It’s a refreshing and sweet treat on a hot day.

Some frequently asked questions :

Q: What is North Carolina known for food-wise?

A: North Carolina is known for its barbecue, especially pulled pork barbecue. It is also famous for its seafood, including shrimp, oysters, and flounder. Additionally, North Carolina is known for its sweet treats, such as Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Cheerwine soda.

Q: What are some must-try dishes in North Carolina?

A: Some must-try dishes in North Carolina include pulled pork barbecue, fried chicken, collard greens, hush puppies, biscuits, and banana pudding.

Q: What is North Carolina-style barbecue?

A: North Carolina-style barbecue is typically made with pork shoulder or whole hog that is slow-cooked over hardwood coals until it is tender and juicy. It is then pulled or chopped and served with a vinegar-based sauce.

Q: Where can I find the best barbecue in North Carolina?

A: There are many great barbecue joints in North Carolina, but some of the most famous include Lexington Barbecue in Lexington, Allen & Son Barbecue in Chapel Hill, and Skylight Inn BBQ in Ayden.

Q: What is Cheerwine soda?

A: Cheerwine is a cherry-flavored soda that was first created in North Carolina in 1917. It is a popular drink in the state and is often served at BBQ restaurants and other local eateries.

Q: What is the best time of year to visit North Carolina for food?

A: The best time of year to visit North Carolina for food is in the fall when many of the state’s food festivals take place. The North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh is a popular event for foodies, as is the Lexington Barbecue Festival in Lexington.

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Hello,My name is Aparna Patel,I’m a Travel Blogger and Photographer who travel the world full-time with my hubby.I like to share my travel experience.

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