The Southern half of the US has a reputation for some of the best food in the country. Virginia is one of the states that boast both comfort and flavor in terms of cuisine, and many don't realize that this stunning state has vistas and delicious eats.

It's not just barbecue, though even celebs will praise their faves - although that is one of the things the Blue Ridge state does well - and visitors can find anything from fresh seafood to smoked meats. The state is known for its own specialties, some of which people travel from all over the East coast to find and bring home. Whether it's for a holiday or just to serve a craving, the favorite dishes of Virginia locals are some of the best around.


Fresh Oysters

Oysters can be found all along the East coast but some of the very best can be found off the shores of Virginia. They're also the oldest dish ever recorded in the state, with accounts of people eating them going as far back as 1607. If it was good enough for the first settlers then it's undoubtedly good enough for people today, and they've only gotten better. During the 19th century, as many as 8-million bushels of oysters were harvested in a year. With so many different types of oysters to choose from, all varying in flavor profile, Virginia has become known as the "Oyster Capital of the East Coast."

BBQ, The Virginia Way

There's no Southern visit that's truly complete without some down-home BBQ, and Memphis isn't the only place with some rockin' flavors. Virginia's BBQ is said to have come from a traditional method of cooking which required food to simmer over hot coals for long periods of time. Vinegar and salt were used by the early settlers and they both went into adding flavor to these slow-cooked meats. Uniquely, Virginia's BBQ varies based on the region you're in - tomato-mustard blends, herb-based, and even Worcestershire-based flavor profiles can be found in this one state.

Country Ham

Virginia is also well-known for its country ham, which was first dubbed a tradition in the 17th century. The Native peoples of Virginia created the art of smoking meat and ham was only one of them; now, it's a time-honored tradition and many Virginia families have a smoked country ham at the center of their dinner table during holidays.

The hams are most commonly Smithfield and with the leftovers, ham biscuits are made for breakfast the following day.

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Blue Crabs

Off the Chesapeake shores, visitors will be delighted to know that they can find another Virginia seafood specialty. Blue crabs are unique to these waters and beach-side restaurants have no shortage of ways to serve them.

Everything from steamed, to fried, and baked into crab cakes can be ordered on their menus, and every single option is just as delicious as the next. Seafood, in general, is a big draw to Virginia's shoreline, and definitely shouldn't be missed.

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Brunswick Stew

Perhaps one of the most comforting and savory-delicious stews you can find in the south, Virginia's take on this hearty, BBQ-like stew is absolutely wonderful. Of course, it originated in Brunswick county, and it's a well-loved favorite among locals during the chillier seasons.

At the heart of this stew lies smoked chicken or pork, both of which add depth and deep richness to the dish. Cooked low and slow, these meats are followed by a tomato-based broth and veggies such as cork, beans, and even potatoes.

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