When you think of the USA’s southern states you can’t help but think of fried chicken, chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, cornbread, pecan pie, butter beans, stuffed ham, salt pork, etc.

That southern soul comes from delicious deep-fried meals drenched in mayo-based sauces and layered in butter (*drools*), well, that’s the delectable image Hollywood has presented to use outsiders, but SURPRISE, the southern states aren’t just about tasty, oily protein.

Although most international visitors wouldn’t mind biting into a couple of crunchy drumsticks in the south…


… Travel South USA’s President and Chief Executive, Liz Bittner, assures travellers that the lower states are also cooking up finer, healthier dishes.

Speaking to KarryOn, Bittner said while it’s true that southerners “really like their food”, it’s a complete myth that it’s all fast food and fried.


“I think one of the myths is that all our food is fried or unhealthy,” she explained. “But that food we get stereotyped with isn’t all we’re eating.”

“People would be pleasantly surprised on how interesting and unique the food is in the south.”

Liz Bittner, Travel South USA President and Chief Executive

Bittner continued, explaining that the south has a strong agriculture industry, which produces a lot of the region’s crops and cheeses.

There’s also a lot of love for seafood, a love that’s so strong that the locals rarely ever share their catch with the rest of the country.

“We catch so much fish from The Carolinas down to the coast of Georgia that people assume we export it like Alaska. But we eat it all so we don’t actually export any of it.”

Liz Bittner, Travel South USA President and Chief Executive

Food aside, Bittner said travellers are often surprised to learn that the southern states have “wonderful outdoor areas” such as sites for glamping, kayaking, bird watching and rafting.

There’s also the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which sits between North Carolina and Tennessee, and is the most visiting national park in the United States. Even topping the Grand Canyon.


Bittner said the park’s popularity among tourists comes from its size (it has six entrances), its visitor centres, mountain communities and it’s free entry.

For more of KarryOn’s Mythbusters – click here to find out why you didn’t bump into celebrities in Hollywood; click here to find out what Los Cabos’ weather is really like; and click here to find out why Los Angeles’ public transport isn’t as bad they say.

Have you experienced the south’s healthier side?