If you like to eat and you like to travel, then you are going to love a little project I’ve been working on for a year or two now. It’s a culinary adventure I’ve mentioned in these digital pages before; but today, I wanted to take time to day to tell you more about it. And, as it is the “Year of the Trail”, in North Carolina, to introduce you, again, to the International Food Trail in Jacksonville, NC .
As a free-lance food and travel writer, I’m always working. If it’s not a “Three-Day Weekend” plan, its a food-centric post of one kind or another. Several years ago I was a guest of the Visit Jacksonville NC Tourist’s Bureau. As a result of that visit, I wrote this article about things to see, do and eat in when you visit Jacksonville, NC.
Jacksonville’s waterways and Memorial Gardens are beautiful, but for me , the food made this travel destination a stand out. After we left, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the flavors.
Eating my way through Jacksonville NC
Then, in June of 2022, and again, in March of 2023, I worked with my good friend Susan Dosier of DK Communications, and partnered with the team at Visit Jacksonville NC, to initially write and then again to expand the list of delicious reasons to go, stay, and eat your way through the city.
Working together, we searched out, planned and ate at a number of restaurants across Onslow County. Each one featuring a different authentic international cuisine.
My appetite to taste it all was driven by Visit Jacksonville NC’s mission: To create an international dining guide highlighting all of these fabulous family restaurants. I’m proud to say the result is the International Food Trail of Jacksonville NC
The International Food Trail of Jacksonville NC now boasts 26 different dining spots along the way.
You’ll find it all here, from Carne Asada Fries to Filipino baked goods, from Japanese short ribs to Jamaican beef patties, from Mexican Ceviche to Cuban sandwiches. All of these hidden gems are dining destinations, well worth discovering. And, all are reason enough to stop to enjoy the international flair in this North Carolina coastal area
You’re Going To Eat This Up
Jacksonville boasts cultural ties from around the world. The city really is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. The reason? Jacksonville NC is also home to the US Marine Corps Base Camp Lejuene. Marines are stationed around the world. As they return to the US, their family’s bring back the culture of homelands far away.
To learn more about the food, simply follow the trail. And, as the Visit Jacksonville NC website suggests, “map out your own culinary mission.”
Jacksonville NC’s International Food Trail Tells a Story
Nearly all of the restaurants on the trail are family-owned and operated. Several are veteran-owned. Several are woman-owned. All of them are true gems – just like the people who own and run them.
In the International Food Trail listings at VisitJacksonvilleNC.com , you’ll find tips for best bets along the way. Under the West Indian Kitchen listing, my “tip” is to try to spend time chatting with this woman. She the force behind the restaurant, known to everyone as “Mama.”
Like Mama, each of these restaurant owners has a wonderful story to share. About their food, their culture and how they share it all with customers and friends every day. Go see them all soon. #TellThemHeidiSentYou