What is soul food? Well, it is food that is very much a part of African American culture. The most popular soul food dish would have to be fried chicken, but there are other common dishes; for example corn bread and grits, as well as vegetables and legumes such as black eyed peas, okra, collard greens and candied yams (sweet potatoes). In addition to fried chicken, meat plays an important role in soul food. For example, pork is a popular meat with ham and bacon being used in various dishes, and pickled pigs feet itself is a key classic soul food dish.
Soul food is not particularly healthy as most of the dishes feature high amounts of salt and are often deep fried, but it is a fascinating cuisine and culture, which actually has Native American influences, namely in the corn based dishes such as grits and cornbread, which are of American Indian origin. Within soul food there are a few different cornbread dishes which are popular; for example jonnycakes, which are similar to pancakes and hushpuppies, which are deep fried cornbread balls.
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Southern cuisine on the other hand is a celebration of Cajun and Louisiana Creole influences. Classic Cajun dishes include gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish boil and classic Louisiana Creole dishes include red beans and rice, shrimp creole and shrimp bisque. While southern cuisine features spice and 'hot sauces', there are still some similarities with soul food; grits and corn bread as popular and so is fried chicken and okra and black eyed peas.
Although Brisbane is no where near the deep south, there are a few restaurants located in and around Brisbane which specialise in soul food and southern cuisine and culture.
To begin the soul food and southern food journey, head to Carolina Kitchen and Espresso in Coorparoo. While the menu here is more American fast food based, there are some southern and soul delights, including corn bread, southern chicken salad, BBQ ribs with southern potato salad and hot buffalo wings. These dishes are priced around $15.
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A Taste Of Texas, located in Cleveland, has a menu which is more American based, but there are a few southern inspired choices, such as the southern style fish and chips and rice and beans (although it is Mexican style). There are also a range of BBQ rib dishes. Mains are priced around the $25 mark.
Also there is the Fox BBQ and Smokehouse, which also serves up a few southern classics, such as cornbread with honey butter, Creole Salmon, buffalo wings, baby back pork ribs and beef short ribs. Mains are priced around the $30 mark.
Also, I should mention USA Foods, an online store (situated in Melbourne) which specialises in American foods. Through their online store, you can purchase various American brands of instant grits, sweet potato pancake mix and lots of southern BBQ sauces, gravies and batter mixes. It is the go to destination for all your southern and soul food needs. They ship their products Australia wide.
Brisbane is home to many more great soul food and southern bars, cafes and restaurants, so if you know of a great spot for soul food and southern cuisine located in or around Brisbane, please leave a comment.