Y'all ever try pickle chips?

Pickle chips and aioli sauce at Pack's Tavern in Asheville, N.C.
Pickle chips and aioli sauce at Pack's Tavern in Asheville, N.C.

Two of my favorite things about going on vacation to a place I've never been is hearing the regional accents and trying out some cuisine I've never heard of before.

I'm very much a "when in Rome" kind of guy. I've never understood the type of people who will go to a steakhouse and order pasta primavera (A lot of these types are also the ones who end up complaining about their meal. It's like, hello?).

But with that said I came across a certain dish while in Asheville, N.C., that I almost passed up. (By the way, I will have a longer story later this week about my trip to this culinary gem of a city.)

One night my wife and I were at Pack's Tavern-- a nice spot located in Asheville's Hayes Hopson building, which previously housed an old lumber supply business and auto supply company-- when my wife suggested we try pickle chips.

My wife's family is from Georgia and she was raised in Ft. Lauderdale Fla., so she's no stranger to oddities like Beanie-Weenies and alligators swimming around in people's pools. I guess she's a little more adventurous than I am when she gets out of the northeast.

I'm all for frying just about anything and seeing what it tastes like, but pickles sounded weird. I guess it's that they don't seem moist enough to taste good after being deep fried.

But I am here to tell you folks that I tried fried pickles and they are amazing. These pickles were sliced horizontally across the pickle like potato chips. Then they were dunked in batter and dropped into a deep fryer. They came served with an aioli sauce. So good.

The batter had great flavor and texture, and the pickle added a nice salty vinegary taste. When envisioning this dish, think of the pickle as a flavor accent rather than the centerpiece. Also, I guess they're kid friendly too. I gave some to my 10-month-old son and he chomped them down quick.

So the moral of the story is if you have a chance to try pickle chips, go for it.

Also, this dish got me thinking: states down south seem to be known for must try food oddities, like alligator and frog legs in Florida. But I can't think of any of these types of foods that are known as a must try when in southern New England. Anyone know of any?

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