The classic Hannibal’s logo, located in downtown Charleston. (Caitlyn Greenway)
The classic Hannibal’s logo, located in downtown Charleston.

Caitlyn Greenway

On Our Plate: Hannibal’s Soul Kitchen

March 19, 2021

Since 1964, soul food has cemented itself as a staple in African American culture. With roots stretching back to the emancipation of slaves in 1860, this southern cultural dish consists of a wide variety of fried food, pork, greens, and plenty of spices.

At Hannibal’s Soul Kitchen, this wide range is offered just the same. consisting of southern fried okra and chicken, collard greens, biscuits, and Hoppin’ John, Hannibal’s offers just about any southern cuisine you can think of. 

As for my first meal, a combination of red rice, mac & cheese, and fried pork, I was pleasantly surprised. Even before I began chewing, I could taste how each cut of sausage, which lay divided among the piled of red grains, had been hand-smoked. The piled stack of rice, although initially dry and course, was met well with the juice which seeped out of each scattered cut of meat. Observing how that greasy sausage juice met with what was left of those crispy browned macaroni noodles.  Moving on to the main course, the fried pork, my spirits were surely raised. Already, the prospect of any fried cuisine titillates my taste buds. So, when I was met with that crumb-covered, fried well-done piece of pork filled with juices, left me with a moist, flavorful sensation.

Of course, one cannot establish any basis of opinion with merely a single dish. With this reasoning behind me, I was fortunate enough to request a second serving; of which, consisted of fried shrimp, mac & cheese with hot sauce, and fries. Naturally, I went after the fries first. With a course, crispy texture met with soft, fresh innards, on my first bite I was able to surmise how they were fresh out of the fryer. After I finished, all that remained was the chiseled pieces of fried potato and a single plastic container, with a “hot sauce” label. That container, of course, would soon be empty, as the rest of the sauce would be glazed over the burnt crust of mac & cheese. When that cheesy goodness met with the scorching sauce, I knew that my previous cheesy endeavor – which was met with only dry burnt sides – had been vanquished by the perfect addition of hot sauce, resulting in a perfectly moist-textured, spicy concoction. I soon found myself – if I may be so blunt – eating every last bite. As with my last meal, I saved the best dish for last, the bountiful pile of fried shrimp, resting on top of the plastic take-out bin, chiseled in crumbs.

Overall, my blank expectations were met with soulful, hand-made dining experiences. So tasteful that even a burnt mac & cheese couldn’t sour my taste buds

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