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Soul food restaurants you'll love

Soul Food

Top soul food restaurants

Soul food is a distinct subcategory of Southern cuisine – and there's no doubt that it's one of a kind. The general rule is that all soul food is southern, but not all southern food is soul food. To be considered soul food, the dish has to have roots in the African American community because, during the time of slavery in the south, slaves didn't have very many ingredients to choose from, so they used what they had available. That's why pork chitlins feature in soul food dishes but not southern dishes.

Using collard greens in soul food is another example of an ingredient widely available to slaves and their descendants. Other ingredients include fried chicken, pork, black-eyed peas, Cayenne pepper, paprika, nutmeg, and dry mustard. You may find it surprising that there are three distinct types of soul food: down-home, upscale, and vegetable. But like Southern food, soul food is best-served family-style at a gathering in large portions made for sharing.