Culinary Trail Mississippi

The Mississippi Culinary Trail

Mississippi is considered a foodie’s paradise and we can tell you a million reasons why! The Mississippi Culinary Trail showcases the state’s true flavour. Each of the five regions has its own delicacies like hot tamales, slug burgers and comeback sauce. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a road trip junkie who has been through a million times – pull up a chair, put a napkin in your lap and get ready for an unrivalled eating experience.

The Culinary Trail itineraries, work their way around the state highlighting each region’s restaurants, cooks and food traditions that highlight Mississippi’s distinctive cuisine.

THE DELTA – Juke Joints, Hot Tamales & Mississippi Catfish

You don’t forget your first descent into the Delta. Whether you take the back roads from Hernando on Highway 304 or Highway 61 from Memphis: one minute your car winds through the tree-dotted landscapes of the hills and the next it levels out into flat farmland as far as the eye can see. As diverse as the crops that grow here and the music that made it famous, the Mississippi Delta is a melting pot of cultures – from African to Italian to Asian – the people here make this part of the state different from any other. And in no place is the Delta’s diversity more apparent than in its restaurants. Each dish is a prime example of how delicious histories fuse together for the ultimate culinary experience.

One such example is the hot tamale, called so because of its orangey-red colour and spicy taste. Its origins began around the turn of the 20th century when migrant Hispanic labourers worked in the cotton fields during autumn cotton picking season alongside African-American hired hands. A cornmeal mixture called "masa" encased the meat inside, keeping it insulated. This ensured a warm lunch for hungry workers at lunchtime. There is also a Tamale Trail through Mississippi, read more about it here.

THE CAPITAL-RIVER – Soul Food, Super burgers and Comeback Sauce

Mississippi’s Capital-River Region is a delicious blend of old and new.  From a mighty river and antebellum mansions to glittering downtowns with exciting nightlife, the restaurants here boast menus featuring soul food, authentic ethnic dishes and modern culinary delights.  Personalities like Cool Al and places called Fat Mama’s are why the eclectic heritage of Mississippi is one of its most celebrated treats. It’s the tastiest history lesson you’ve ever had.

THE PINESChoctaws, Catfish Alley and Family Cafés

The small towns of the Pines make for big flavours.  With barbecue and bakeries, cheese and cheesecakes, the tastes of this region take their influences from their earthy Native American heritage as well as the vital railroad lines that brought lumber, cotton and other goods into the area. Family-owned restaurants are a staple of this region and when you can stroll down a street known as “Catfish Alley,” you know you’ll find good cookin’!

This region acquired its name because of the prevalence of the Longleaf Pine Tree. The densely populated wooded bluffs and National Forests make for scenic driving. Outdoorsmen love this area because of the easy access to wilderness camping and hunting on what is considered some of the most beautiful terrain in the state. At one time cotton was king in this region, too, but it was predominately the railroad lines exporting lumber from saw mills that helped industrialise the area.

THE HILLS – Grills, Groceries & Drive-Ins

The characters in Southern fiction gather around tables laden with platters of their favourite dishes – platters of fried green tomatoes, pots of collard greens with a skillet of cornbread, slabs of barbecue pork ribs and slugburgers. Literary references are direct inspiration from the first-hand eating experience of lovingly crafted home-cooked meals. Even today, a meal in the Mississippi Hills doesn't just feed the body it ministers to your soul. 

THE COAST – Shrimp, Blowflies & Purple Parrots

Naturally, the Mississippi Gulf Coast has a different feel to it than the rest of the state, but it remains undeniably “Mississippi.”  The Coast offers the tourist a little of everything:  golf, gambling, art, architecture and, of course, great food. Years ago, immigrants from all over the world came to the region in search of employment in the seafood industry: Croatian, Vietnamese and French.  This delicious blend of cultures has seasoned the cuisine here with a flavour you won’t find anywhere else.

If you want fresh seafood, the Mississippi Gulf Coast has the menu to satisfy your craving.

Did you know Mississippi is home to:

  • Fried pickles

  • Championship Barbecue

  • Barq’s Root Beer

  • Comeback dressing

  • Viking Range Corporation & Cooking Schools

  • Catfish: Mississippi is one of the world’s biggest producers!

  • Hoover Sauce

  • Koolickles

  • Cheese Straws

  • Southern Pecan Beer

  • Dixon’s Pork Skins

  • Sweet Tea

For any further information on this Trail, please do get in touch with our team.

Ask an expert who's been to Mississippi

Start planning your Deep South USA road trip by contacting one of our Southern specialists.