May 25, 2016

NCFOOD is the North Carolina Folklife Institute’s blog exploring our state’s traditional cooking and foodways. Every highway and byway in the state is a potential jumping off point for a food adventure, whether discovering the Restaurante Rosa de Saron in Sampson County or the Pakse Café in Greensboro.

You’ll find stories and personal experiences about farmers and food artisans, local recipes, and great traditional eateries -- a celebration of the rich and diverse food traditions of North Carolina. Celebrate the magic that happens when many cultures come together around a common table.

Saltbox Seafood Joint

Text and photos by Monique LaBorde I’ve visited Saltbox Seafood Joint three times in the past year, but I only recently made it there in time to eat. Saltbox opens at 11am and cooks seafood until they run out, which is usually around 5 p.m. On a busy day, Saltbox can run out of their seafood supply after the lunch rush. Every morning for three years, the small stand in Durham’s Little Five Points … [Read more...]

The Pit

The Pit BBQ in Durham, across from the famed Motorco, is part of the new Durham--a Durham of renovation and reinvention. The Pit is the perfect example of a business taking the traditions of a city steeped in Southern history, and presenting them with a modern aesthetic to a new generation. The Pit is gleaming inside, with shiny hardwood floors and tables, and a ceiling-high glass divider with a frosted pig … [Read more...]

Allen and Son Bar-B-Que

Text and Photos by Lauren Fulcher and Monique Laborde In the big cities of NC, it’s easy to forget that you’re in the south. Especially in college towns like Chapel Hill, it’s hard to find authentic southern cooking. If you drive out though just a few miles from Franklin Street, there’s a little place called Allen & Son BBQ that is famous for keeping North Carolina food traditions alive. On the drive to … [Read more...]

First Local Berries of the Season

By Ray Linville Finding locally grown strawberries is a sure sign that spring has arrived. As I was driving in the Monkey Junction area of Wilmington on the last weekend in March, I noticed a berry stand that had been closed for months was open. North Carolina, the third largest producer of strawberries in the United States, has the country’s largest fresh market for strawberries. Finding fresh local … [Read more...]

The Art of Making Pupusas

by Joy Salyers There was so much to share from our visit to Manny's Universal Cafe in Greensboro that we had to make two blog posts about it! Last week Evan Hatch told you about the owners, Manny and Margarita, and the amazing food we ate (and ate, and ate). This week, we have a special treat for you -- a pupusa-making lesson! Evan, you see, is the consummate fieldworker. Even while we were eating, he was … [Read more...]

Manny’s Universal Cafe

by Evan Hatch The Southside neighborhood in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, stands as a prime example of successful urban revitalization.  Historic homes line the landscape, interspersed with historic businesses and combined commercial/residential properties. Urban planning experts often cite Southside as an example of renewal done right. A 2003 winner of the National Planning Award for Implementation from … [Read more...]

Taste the Redbuds

  By Ray Linville   The eastern redbud tree is one of the first heralds of spring. Underneath the pine trees of our state, this flowering tree creates a magnificent sight as temperatures begin to warm. Because the redbud is so prominent as an ornamental, we tend to overlook its role in our food culture. When I was out for a daily walk, I passed a redbud tree at its flowering peak. I … [Read more...]

Smokey’s BBQ Shack

by Evan Hatch One Wednesday, after a North Carolina Folklife Institute Board of Directors meeting, a great hunger announced its presence. I wanted barbecue.  When asked of a good local spot, President André Nabors replied, “Smokey’s.” Mr. Nabors was only working under assumption - he’d not yet had Smokey’s BBQ. But when I asked its location, his answer convinced me to try it. “It’s on the right down Chapel … [Read more...]

Recalling Fishing Camps of the Past

by Ray Linville   Fishing camps in eastern North Carolina were once where farmers could seek short-term employment in the fishing industry when the season arrived and, as described by NCpedia, “make a pile of money” by catching fish. Some camps were built on the coast, and nets were set from the beach to capture seasonal runs of several fish species. Other camps were built by sounds and their … [Read more...]

Keeping the Business in the Family

by Ray Linville A nondescript building on a rural road is not the typical place where I stop for food. In Rennert, a town of fewer than 400 residents in Robeson County, I found “E.&H. Bar.B.Q. Hut” painted on a faded, decades-old Coca-Cola sign on a whitewashed structure that marked my destination. Although another sign in a window where walk-up customers once were served says, “No Trespassing,” a window … [Read more...]