There’s no greater feeling than exploring a new country, experiencing a new culture, and (most importantly) tasting all kinds of tasty, authentic cuisines! When the cruise ship returns to the dock or the plane touches down at Norfolk International Airport, there’s still a sense of comfort knowing I can always find a delicious piece of culture here in Hampton Roads.
In anticipation of my study abroad in South Korea, I sought out a staple Korean delicacy, and oh did I find it! KOCO’s Korean Fried Chicken and Croffles puts a spin on southern chicken and waffles with its arguably more savory and sweet Korean fried chicken and croissant waffles. The croffles come in a variety of flavors, ranging from churro and Oreos & cream to ube and dolce de leche, all sure to hit your sweet tooth. Wash it down with an in-house made strawberry milk and matcha or an iced Vietnamese coffee to truly solidify this flavorful experience. KOCO’s, having only opened this year, has been quick to climb its way to my heart (and my stomach), and there’s no other way I would’ve had it! Making our way west, La Brioche brings the essence of a French patisserie to Downtown Norfolk. Various authentic French croissants, pastries, and sandwiches line the display, making choosing one treat just impossible. Once you’ve chosen your one (or three) delights, stretch out and enjoy on either floor in the spacious café. Look for the bright pink storefront and follow the heavenly smell of baked goods If you ever need a buttery, flaky, pick-me-up for the day!
The return to North America is hardly bittersweet as nothing holds a candle to Caribbean cuisine. Perhaps my father’s Jamaican identity and the nostalgia attached to eating grandma’s jerk chicken makes me just a bit biased, but if you’re looking for flavor central, MP Island Café is the way to go. I’d suggest the ox-tail with extra gravy, or the cheesiest mac and cheese you’ve ever tasted, but there’s truly something for everyone. The best part? MPI is located all throughout Hampton Roads with locations in Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Newport News.
Can’t decide which country you want your taste buds to travel to? My honorable mention goes to The World of Good, an Oceanview restaurant that commemorates street foods from all around the world! Where else can you get a quick bite from Latin America and East Asia all in one sitting?
Hampton Roads has so much to offer on all fronts, but the restaurants take the cake. Have another restaurant to add? Let us know!