After a hectic week of leaving home preparations and a final travel plan change to my US trip, I finally get to let my pretty head rest on this short American leg. Or so I thought. Upon arriving in Raleigh, in southern state of North Carolina, I was enlightened with more than just a lesson on interpreting Fahrenheit, Gallon and Pounds. I was enlightened with a lesson about Biscuits and the Southern cuisine.
“Welcome to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The local time is 12.37 am and it’s 90 degrees.” – An certain American captain.
90 degrees in Fahrenheit means nothing to me or anyone who’s used to the metric system. It just sounds like the very degree of a near-boiling water. The mention of a gallon does not give me an idea of how big a bottle of milk is. It just sounds like… a gallon. I did look like a lost puppy when I tried to figure out how much cheese to buy at the deli, because they sell them by ounces and pounds here. But my whole world was changed as I was introduced to biscuits.
I grew up with the concept of biscuits being sweet and almost cookie like. And it’s my favourite accompaniment to my afternoon tea. So when a dear friend told me that he’s having chicken biscuit and gravy for dinner, I was sort of confused. Biscuit and gravy? How does that actually work? What weird food combination they have here in the South, I thought to myself. Consequently, I decided to go to Bojangles’ to get this oh-so-weird biscuits.
And lo and behold the Biscuit of the South: it’s savoury, it’s actually scone-like, it’s actually yummy and I reckon it’s the very definition of the Southern food. And it’s definitely yummier with chicken. And that’s just the first taste of what the South can offer, a food history laden with their African American slavery past, which has now etched into their identity.
And they do like to challenge me with new concepts, like this chicken and waffle, drizzled with honey. It’s apparently created out of a craving for dinner and breakfast at the same time, usually around midnight, therefore this chicken and waffle. It can only happens in the US of A. Unfortunately, unlike the biscuits, I’m not a big fan of the combination of sweet and savoury. But if you’re a gungho of new taste and new food concept, I’d say you should give this a go.
What about the North Carolinian Barbeque? Well, to an Aussie like me, the classic Paul Hogan’s “shrimp on the barbie” is pretty much my definition of barbecue: pieces of steak, meat or seafood over a hot plate. But not in North Carolina. When I ordered at Parker’s in Wilson, NC, I was surprised to find that it’s actually pulled pork, marinaded with a red pepper vinaigrette (a big marinade debate apparently between the East and the West North Carolinian), looking like this:
Lessons taught to me on biscuits, waffles, barbeque and non-metric measurement aside, there’s more to North Carolina than just some random food lesson. I’ll be exploring the famed North Carolinian shoreline on a very special Miss Hoggy’s anniversary edition on Thurs, 11th July 2013.
What travel lesson has had your world turned upside down?
Chicken Biscuits, at Bojangles’, stores all around North Carolina.
Chicken and Waffles, at Beasley’s Chicken, downtown Raleigh.
North Carolinian Barbeque, courtesy of Maria McKenzie.