Our Iconic Regional Foods

Our Iconic Regional Foods

We think that southern cuisine is some of the best around, but we are probably biased. We are sharing some of our favorite regional foods from Hampton Roads, Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina, along with recipes so you can cook them for yourself. And, don’t forget the sweet tea!!!

Smithfield Ham | Smithfield, Virginia’s legendary hams are a staple for our traditional holiday meals and standard for a country breakfast. The true definition of a Smithfield ham is from a 1926 statute passed by the Virginia General Assembly. It states that genuine Smithfield hams are those from peanut-fed hogs that have been raised in the peanut-belt of Virginia or North Carolina, and cured, treated, smoked, and processed in the town of Smithfield. A true Hampton Roads food! Here are some terrific recipes using this regional food.

Eastern-style BBQ | We can carry on entire conversations about the ‘best’ BBQ, but in our region it is undoubtedly Eastern-style vinegar and pepper based sauce with no tomato whatsoever. The pork is smoked, and we use “every part of the pig but the squeal”. If you have it on a sandwich, it is usually topped with coleslaw. 

Mexican White Sauce | Did you know that the ubiquitous white sauce (white salsa, salsa blanca) we have offered to us with tortilla chips at most of our Mexican restaurants is specific to our region? It was invented here, and its roots are traced back to a restaurant called El Toro in Virginia Beach. The owner served it originally as a salad dressing, and over the years it transitioned to a dip for chips. You can find it today at most of our Mexican restaurants including all the Plaza Azteca locations, but if you travel away from our area, you may not find it, so here is the recipe.

Planters Peanuts | The company was originally founded in Pennsylvania by Amedeo Obici, but he quickly moved the company’s production facility to Suffolk, Virginia in 1912. In 1941, Suffolk was proclaimed “The Peanut Capital of The World”, and the home of Mr. Peanut! You can visit the Planters Peanut Center in downtown Suffolk today. Other local peanut roasters include Virginia Diner, Hubs, and Whitley’s. Here are some sweet and savory recipes that highlight the peanut. 


Please share your favorite regional foods below. We are A Hampton Roads Original® and know this region like the back of our hand. If you are in need of regional real estate services, contact us to be connected with an experienced REALTOR® today.

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