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Eating in Memphis - Without pork or fried foods

by Joanandjoe Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 6:07 PM

We'll be in Memphis is mid-April, and we're concerned with whether we can get good local food, given our food preferences. We like to think that we eat all kinds of food - Chinese, Mexican, Brazilian, Korean, French, Italian, Japanese, Greek, etc. - but we have a few things that we don't eat, including pork and fried foods. Unfortunately, the travel guides to Memphis seem to emphasize those foods as local specialties, including barbecue (ribs and pulled pork), soul food (even the vegetables are cooked with pork), and fried chicken. Of course we could find a Chinese restaurant, but what's the point of going to Memphis for that?

Can anyone recommend restaurants where we can get good local food, at reasonable prices, that isn't fried or based on pork? If not restaurants, maybe there are local specialties that we can look for on menus. Thanks.

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11 Answers
  • gabesz's Profile Photo

    Re: Eating in Memphis - Without pork or fried foods

    by gabesz Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Memphis is the BBQ capital. They serve pork, beef, chicken BBQ. BBQ is not fried food. They serve steamed or barbecued vegetables with it, corn bread, etc. None of this is fried. If you eat the other foods you will be just fine eating in Memphis.

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: Eating in Memphis - Without pork or fried foods

    by riorich55 Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Try this link. A couple of years old, but it might give you some ideas.

    I've had some really good non fried food including BBQ spaghetti at Neeleys.

    ilovememphisblog.com/2011/01...

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: Eating in Memphis - Without pork or fried foods

    by mccalpin Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    gabesz is right - BBQ isn't "fried". Instead the meat can be marinated (depends) and is certainly served with a BBQ sauce that is likely to be based on tomatoes, spices, vinegar, peppers, etc. Sorry to be vague, but BBQ varies from place to place, and I am not real familiar with Memphis BBQ. But in any case, the meat isn't fried...oh, it may not be low fat, but it isn't fried ;-)

    In the South (which may or may not apply here), a typical BBQ meal might be beef, beef ribs, pulled chicken (doesn't seem very original but everyone has it), whole cut up chicken, baked beans, cole slaw, corn on the cob, green beans...nothing fried to be found, and the pork can usually be avoided.

    As I said, it may not be low cal...oh, the green beans are likely to have been cooked with bacon, but you can usually see the chunks so maybe no go...but you can avoid both pork and fried...

    One thing you might tell us is are you avoiding pork for religious reasons (hence, NO pork), or is this just a personal preference where an invisible amount won't matter? I am just wondering just how pork-pure you need to be. We'll help you either way...

    Bill

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  • Agraichen's Profile Photo

    Re: Eating in Memphis - Without pork or fried foods

    by Agraichen Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    R: We like to think that we eat all kinds of food - Chinese, Mexican, Brazilian, Korean, French, Italian, Japanese, Greek, etc. - but we have a few things that we don't eat, including pork and fried foods.


    Ah..."local food" n Memphis is none of the above.

    Last time I was down that way I had some incredible BBQ ribs but that issn't on your list of likes so you may not be eating "local food."

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  • Re: Eating in Memphis - Without pork or fried foods

    by Joanandjoe Online Now Jan 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    I was brought up in a kiosher home, and the thought of anything from a pig, including bacon, makes me shudder. I'm aware that barbecuse isn't fried; but I've been told that the main "local" foods in memphis are barbecued ribs, pulled pork, fried chicken, soul food, and vegetables cooked with bacon.

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  • gabesz's Profile Photo

    Re: Eating in Memphis - Without pork or fried foods

    by gabesz Online Now Jan 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    If someone told you that the main staples in Memphis are pork and fried food that tells me tis person has no idea what people eat in Memphis.

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  • gabesz's Profile Photo

    Re: Eating in Memphis - Without pork or fried foods

    by gabesz Online Now Jan 25, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    And by the way soul food is not fried food or mostly pork.

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: Eating in Memphis - Without pork or fried foods

    by mccalpin Online Now Jan 25, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Well, it's true that pork is around a lot. Different areas in the US have different ribs, so they might be pork or beef ribs (in Texas, they're more likely to be beef, but I don't know about Memphis).

    Here in Texas, it would be common enough for a BBQ place that sold pulled pork to also sell brisket (beef) and chicken (even "pulled chicken" which refers to the preparation).

    And, yes, things like BBQ beans and green beans are likely to have bacon in it.

    The reason I asked about sensitivity is that my understanding of kosher is that you can't eat from a kitchen in which pork is prepared, i.e., using the same countertops and utensils. This means to me that purt' near any BBQ would be offlimits to kosher, I would think, unless you found one that was beef and/or chicken only (it's possible, I suppose).

    However, my brother's GF is Reformed, so she has no problem eating pork, and I gather that there is a lot of variation in between, so maybe for some, pork exposure is not the same as deliberately eating it - not for me to know.

    Now, I do want to share this with you...by serendipity, I found this:
    24th Annual ASBEE
    WORLD KOSHER BARBEQUE CHAMPIONSHIP
    Anshei Sphard - Beth El Emeth Congregation, Memphis, TN
    (asbeekosherbbq.org/front/ind...

    No kidding...you ought to look at the website and contact these guys - I bet you they can help you out! ;-)

    Bill

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: Eating in Memphis - Without pork or fried foods

    by Beausoleil Online Now Jan 25, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    There are also excellent French and Italian restaurants in Memphis. ;^)

    If you are going to Memphis, you should have barbecue so get either barbecued beef ribs or chicken barbecue. You have to try it; it's real Americana.

    Have fun.

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  • martensd's Profile Photo

    Re: Eating in Memphis - Without pork or fried foods

    by martensd Online Now Jan 26, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    You will not starve in Memphis!
    I live couple hours away near the Shiloh Civil War National Park and the Pickwick Dam area which is the "Catfish Capital" of the world, and I go to Memphis on a regular basis.
    I assume you will want to hit some of the "tourist" places like Beale St.
    They have plenty of "local" food that does not include fried food or pork, however if you cannot eat in restaurants that even cook pork or fry food, then you would be more limited.
    You can find a really nice Italian Steakhouse just off Beale St. or just go to the local places like BB Kings and get the BBQ Chicken.
    Avoid "Dyer's" which is famous for "Fried (in oil) Hamburgers"
    It is too bad about pork and fried foods because Memphis is known for great BBQ Ribs and of course no trip down south is complete without fried pickles and hush puppies! YUM!!

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  • bocmaxima's Profile Photo

    Re: Eating in Memphis - Without pork or fried foods

    by bocmaxima Online Now Jan 27, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    I think you're going to have to mostly steer clear of soul food restaurants. No pork, no fried is too tall an order. I just Googled "vegan soul food memphis" and this place came up: tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_R...

    You may also want to look at happycow.com, which is mostly a vegetarian and vegan restaurant finder, but should help you.

    Memphis is a city though, so it's not like they JUST have BBQ and soul food restaurants.

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