Bill Lynch, Mason Adams, Kelley Libby, Zander Aloi, Margaret McLeod Leef, Chris Schulz Published

Filipino Hospitality In Asheville And Famed Thru-Hiker Shares Journey, Inside Appalachia

Drawings and paint can be seen on the side of a white building. It says, "The Fabulous Neng Jr.'s."
Hidden away from the main streets of Asheville, Neng Jr.'s is getting noticed nationally.
Margaret McLeod Leef/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This week, a chef has created a hidden culinary hot spot in Asheville, North Carolina that’s attracting national attention for its eclectic menu and Filipino hospitality. 

Also, every thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail begins with a first step. Famed hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis shares hers.

And the holy month of Ramadan ends with a feast. But war and famine in Gaza muted some of this year’s celebrations.

We’ll have these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.

In This Episode:

Filipino Hospitality With A North Carolina Flair

A young man poses for a photo. He has dark hair, wears a long-sleeved shirt that is white with plaid arms. He has a tattoos on his arms.
Chef Silver Iocovozzi brings elevated fare and Filipino hospitality to Neng Jr.’s in Asheville.

Photo Credit: Will Crooks

Asheville, North Carolina has an eclectic dining scene and one of its “hidden” gems is Neng Jr.’s. It serves elevated Filipino cuisine in a little restaurant that’s tucked away in an alley on Asheville’s artsy West Side.

Folkways Reporter Margaret McLeod Leef visited and brings us this story.

Tackling The Appalachian Trail With Jennifer Pharr Davis

A woman hiker stands in front of a black background.
Jennifer Pharr Davis shares the story of her first steps into the world of trail hiking.

Photo Credit: Keith Wright

Few people know the Appalachian Trail (AT) better than Jennifer Pharr Davis — a North Carolina native who’s thru-hiked the AT three times. 

In 2008, on her second thru-hike, she set the record for the fastest Appalachian Trail hike by a woman. Three years later, she thru-hiked it again — and set the record for the fastest known time on the Appalachian Trail by anyone up to that point.

Last year, Mason Adams spoke to her about some of her hikes — and how they shaped her identity as an Appalachian.

Ramadan In The Mountains

A row of aluminum trays filled with food pushes out into the frame, with men congregated around the trays. The men are serving themselves the food, which includes seasoned rice and salad.
Men serve themselves their iftar meal at the Islamic Center of Morgantown, March 24, 2024. One of the sponsors of the night’s iftar, Mohamed Hefeida, can be seen wearing a mask.

Photo Credit: Chris Schulz/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This year, April 9, marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan in the Islamic faith. During Ramadan, observant Muslims fast from sunup to sundown. Their fast is traditionally broken with a feast called an iftar. In Morgantown, West Virginia, the meal was overshadowed this year by the war in Gaza.

WVPB’s Chris Schulz reports.


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Hotdog, Sean Watkins, John Blissard, Jeff Ellis, Brew Davis and Dinosaur Burps.

Bill Lynch is our producer. Zander Aloi is our associate producer. Our Executive Producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. We had help this week from Folkways Editor Nicole Musgrave.

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Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.