Mississippi is a true melting pot of regional, ethnic, national and international cuisine. Deep in the Pines region of east central Mississippi, Native American cooking is still thriving, as the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians preserve many of their traditional customs. In the northeastern corner of the state, Slugburgers, unique to Corinth, are believed to date back to the Depression era, when a cornmeal extender was used to “beef up” the quantity of meat. This local creation remains a fixture on the menu at Borroum's Drug Store (ca. 1865), and is the inspiration for the annual Slugburger Festival.
Throughout the state, the influence of African-American cooking is found at every turn. Dating back to the days of slavery, what has come to be known and loved nationally as “soul food” runs through virtually all culinary styles. Traditional Southern fare such as barbeque, comfort food and sweet tea round out a style of cooking that Mississippi can truly call its own.
While we’re proud of our own home-grown culinary favorites, there’s also room at the table for fresh ideas from around the world. In the early twentieth century, migrant workers from Mexico left their mark on the Mississippi Delta with the ever-popular tamale. Italians, Chinese, Lebanese and other immigrants also reshaped the course of Mississippi cuisine. In Jackson, the Greek influx of the mid-twentieth century remains a dominant force on the local restaurant scene. Along the Gulf Coast, newcomers from Croatia, Italy and Vietnam settled in to enrich and expand upon our traditional Gulf seafood dishes.
The Mississippi Culinary Trail showcases the state’s true flavor. Each of the five regions has its own delicacies like hot tamales, slug burgers and comeback sauce. Whether you are a first-time visitor, a local who is looking to discover something new 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 unrivaled eating experience.
The Culinary Trail itineraries work their way around the state highlighting each region’s restaurants, cooks and food traditions that exemplify Mississippi’s distinctive cuisine.
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 no place makes the Delta’s diversity more apparent or celebrated than its restaurants. Each dish is a prime example of how delicious histories come together for the ultimate culinary experience.
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, 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 small towns of the Pines make for big flavors. 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’!
Characters in Southern fiction gather around tables laden with platters of their favorite dishes, and in the Hills region of the state, home to William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams, you will find platters of fried chicken, skillets of cornbread, and delicacies such as pecan pie. Even today, a meal in the Mississippi Hills doesn't just feed the body - it ministers to your soul.
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 flavor you won’t find anywhere else.
Before you visit a Culinary Trail destination, we recommend that you call to confirm that its location and hours of operation are current.