Trendy spots in Durham, NC (and how to experience them correctly)

I was born in Fayetteville, NC (an apparently little-known fact) but I moved to Durham when I was, like 2, and I've basically been eating ever since.  Actually, that's a lie because Durham basically only got cool when i went away to boarding school (I am bitter about this) but I've been eating ever since and I never intend to stop.

There are approximately 5,000 hip and trendy restaurants and other food providers that you will come across if you're trying to find a place to eat great food in Durham, and many of them will probably leave you disappointed if you don't know how to approach them. 

Hometowns are important.  What you eat in your hometown is equally as important.  Typically, I eat all of these things in a good day in Durham, and I want you to experience all the joy that I do from this city.  The internet is full of people telling you to eat at these places, but there's a right way to do it and I want you to know about it.

Scratch Bakery

enthusiasm like only scratch can inspire.

enthusiasm like only scratch can inspire.

Scratch is freaking awesome, but also pretty expensive so I'm going to direct your attention away from the chalkboard menu and toward the lemon shaker pie and the biscuits.  

There's a picture of my highly attractive brother eating the lemon shaker pie at Scratch.  He has been known to eat an entire pie in one sitting without breaking a sweat.  Order at least one slice of this pie because it is PERFECT lemon experience and fills the soul with joy.  (I like lemons a lot.)  

Then, because you definitely need something savory, order a biscuit with a fried egg and bacon jam. Obviously, anything that is called bacon jam is definitely something you should order.  This biscuit is the perfect biscuit experience.


In my humble opinion, there are only 2 food trucks that are worthy of the high prices, long lines and typically uncomfortable eating situations.  One is Chirba Chirba and the other is kokyu.  Pictured above is the holy matrimony of these two trucks in one place on a Friday night, otherwise known to me as HEAVEN.  

Chirba Chirba serves amazing Chinese dumplings - I suggest cutting right to the chase and ordering as many juicy buns as your heart and wallet can handle.  Kokyu has creative street food taco-inspired foods that are generally a little out of control and totally delicious.  You must order the duck-fat tater tots or you really might as well not even bother.

Farmer's Market

I love the Durham Farmer's market partially because everyone I know is there on Saturday mornings, and partially because it is the only farmer's market I know of that always includes food trucks.  I like to start at Caffe Belleza and then wander through the farmer's stalls.  The key to the joy of the market is making everyone be your friend.  The farmers are willing, ok?  Just trust me.  Compliment a farmer on his squash and you've got a friend for life.

For the record, that was not supposed to sound dirty.

Now, I would like to know.  Where are you from and what do you eat when you're there?  Share some tips with a homie!