Food and Drink

Southern Culinary Delights: 5 dishes to try in the Deep South

Rebecca Harley

15th March 2024

Bowl of shrimp and grits

Food might not be what first attracts you to America’s Deep South, but you’ll find it begin to satisfy your soul as well as your taste-buds, helping you grasp Southern culture, history and traditions.

five iconic dishes you must try in the deep south

Po’ boys, Louisiana

The story goes that brothers Benny and Clovis Martin fed striking transit workers with free sandwiches in 1929 and henceforth these sandwiches were known as po’boys or poor boys. This is a simple recipe of crusty French bread filled with meat, such as roast beef, ham, sausage, or fried seafood, such as shrimp, crayfish, oysters, or crab – and dressed with mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles, and tomato.

Po Boy Sandwich

Peach Cobbler, Georgia

It might be tempting to fill up on delicious barbecue, but we suggest leaving room for a generous slice of peach cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream for dessert. And where better to try this Southern delicacy than in Georgia, the Peach State itself? Rustic and delicious, this dish will be one of the most comforting things you can try – just don’t be surprised when you find yourself asking for the recipe to take home!

Hot Chicken, Tennessee

The origin story of hot chicken is almost as fiery as the delicacy itself. It is rumoured that in the 1930s, a scorned lover sought revenge by cooking up some exceptionally spicy chicken for her wayward boyfriend. The plan backfired though and instead inspired the recipient, Thornton Prince, to open his own hot chicken shack. Today, Nashville is teaming with hot chicken joints where you can devour deep-fried seasoned chicken, topped with pickles and served with fries on a slice of toasted white bread.

Fried Chicken

Fried Green Tomatoes, Alabama

If you dig back far enough, you’ll find that fried green tomatoes did not actually originate in the South, but that doesn’t stop them from being a staple in Southern food culture. It is thought that the dish was brought to the US in the 19th century by Jewish immigrants and only became popular in the Deep South following the release of the cookbook, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, and the film of the same name. Fried green tomatoes are well-seasoned, lightly battered and served alongside a dipping sauce – not to mention surprisingly delicious!

Shrimp and Grits, South Carolina

Grits, a creamy ground corn porridge, was first introduced by Native Americans in the 16th century, but it wasn’t until the 1950s in Charleston, South Carolina that shrimp and grits first appeared together in a published cookbook. By 1976, the dish was so popular that the state declared it their official state food. Originally this would have been a breakfast meal, but you will now find it on lunch, brunch and dinnertime menus. If you don’t like seafood, don’t worry – many restaurants serve grits with a whole range of delightful toppings.

Discover the joys of American cuisine for yourself and browse our range of Holidays to the Deep South.


Your edit for North America inspiration

Inspired by the landscapes, culture, wildlife and cuisine of Canada and the USA, explore our entertaining range of articles, travel tips, destination guides, recipes and much more.

View Extraordinary Inspiration
Banff National Park in Alberta

Destination Guides

Highlights of Alberta: Best places to visit

Learn more
Okanagan Valley BC

Food and Drink

British Columbia’s Wine Country

Learn more
Portland food cart

Food and Drink

Discover Portland: A guide to the best food carts

Learn more
Kootenay Rockies

Meet Our Team

Real North America Travel Experts

Joshua Salter - Travel Expert

Joshua has been travelling to the USA since childhood, visiting his father and four siblings on the west coast. He is fortunate to have travelled to 42 of the 50 US states, and hopes to complete the set by his next big birthday.

Ben Line
Ben Line - Head of Sales

Ben Line is the Head of Sales at Journeyscape and our sister brand Journey Latin America, having lived abroad and travelled extensively over the years.

Mallika Jain - Travel Expert

Mallika’s love for North America first began when she attended an American boarding school as a teenager. Her mother’s side of the family lived in the USA, so she enjoyed frequent trips across many states.

Dominique Kotsias - Product Manager

Dominique caught the North America travel bug when she was in her late teens and has travelled extensively throughout the USA and Canada, particularly drawn to the countries' outstanding natural beauty and wildlife. With over 10 years of product and marketing experience in North America, Dominique’s passion for the destination is infectious.

Why Journeyscape?

We love north america

  • Up-to-the-minute knowledge underpinned by 40 years experience
  • All of our Travel Experts have personal knowledge of the destination
  • A passion for the region runs through all we do

Travel with Confidence

  • Fully bonded and licensed
  • ATOL-protected
  • Book with confidence, knowing every penny is secure
  • 24 hour help available at every step of your journey

The Real North America

  • Our insider knowledge helps you go beyond the guidebooks
  • We hand-pick hotels both for their character and services
  • We'll give you authentic experiences based on your personal preferences

Journeyscape brought to you from the award-winning experts at Journey Latin America