What Food Is SC Most Known For?

When it comes to culinary delights, South Carolina has a reputation that precedes itself. This southern state is a melting pot of flavors, combining traditional Southern fare with unique twists that make its cuisine truly unforgettable. From mouth-watering barbecue to tantalizing shrimp and grits, the food scene here is a culmination of history, culture, and the abundance of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Let’s take a closer look at the diverse flavors and dishes that make South Carolina a true food lover’s paradise.

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits is a classic dish that holds a special place in the hearts and stomachs of many South Carolinians. Its history can be traced back to the Gullah Geechee culture, descendants of West African slaves who settled in the coastal areas of South Carolina. These slaves relied heavily on seafood and cornmeal for sustenance, and it is believed that the combination of shrimp and grits was born out of necessity.

Traditionally, shrimp and grits were prepared by simmering fresh, local shrimp in a savory broth with a medley of vegetables. The grits, made from stone-ground cornmeal, are cooked slowly until they reach a creamy consistency. The shrimp are then added to the simmering broth, infusing the dish with their delicious flavors. The end result is a rich and hearty meal that perfectly showcases the bounty of South Carolina’s coastal waters.

Over the years, there have been many variations of shrimp and grits that have gained popularity. Some chefs add bacon or sausage to enhance the dish’s flavor, while others incorporate different types of cheese into the grits for a creamy and indulgent twist. No matter the variation, one thing remains constant: the harmonious marriage of the succulent shrimp and the comforting grits.


When it comes to peaches, South Carolina reigns supreme. The state’s warm climate and fertile soil create the perfect conditions for growing juicy and flavorful peaches. South Carolina peaches are known for their vibrant color, high sugar content, and mouthwatering taste. They are truly a summertime delicacy that locals and visitors alike look forward to each year.

To celebrate the state’s beloved fruit, there are numerous peach festivals and events held throughout South Carolina. These festivals are a true celebration of all things peach, offering a wide array of activities and entertainment for both young and old. From peach picking to pie eating contests, these events are a testament to the importance of peaches in South Carolina’s agricultural landscape.

In addition to enjoying fresh peaches, there are also many peach-based dishes that showcase the fruit’s versatility. From peach cobbler to peach salsa, South Carolina’s culinary scene has embraced the peach in all its glory. The natural sweetness of the fruit pairs perfectly with both savory and sweet dishes, making it a staple in many kitchens across the state.

What Food Is SC Most Known For?

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled peanuts may seem like a simple snack, but in South Carolina, they hold a special place in the hearts of many. The origins of boiled peanuts can be traced back to the Civil War era, when soldiers needed a cheap and easily accessible source of protein. Peanuts, which were readily available in the southern states, became a staple for soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

Today, boiled peanuts are not only a beloved snack in South Carolina but also a popular street food. You can often find vendors selling steaming hot bags of boiled peanuts at roadside stands and farmers markets throughout the state. The process of boiling the peanuts in salty water softens the shells and infuses the nuts with a rich and savory flavor.

Boiled peanuts can also be incorporated into various culinary creations. From peanut salads to peanut soups, the possibilities are endless. The creamy texture and distinctive taste of boiled peanuts add a unique twist to any dish, creating a true taste of South Carolina.

Lowcountry Cuisine

Lowcountry cuisine is a culinary style that originated in the coastal regions of South Carolina. It is characterized by its use of fresh, local ingredients and a blend of flavors influenced by West African, French, and Caribbean cuisines. The term “lowcountry” refers to the geographical region of the state that is made up of coastal plains and marshes.

Key ingredients in Lowcountry dishes include seafood such as shrimp, crab, and oysters, as well as rice, grits, and fresh vegetables. These ingredients are often prepared using techniques such as slow simmering, braising, and frying to create depth of flavor. The result is a cuisine that is hearty, flavorful, and comforting.

There are several famous Lowcountry recipes that have become iconic in South Carolina. One such dish is Frogmore Stew, also known as Lowcountry Boil. This one-pot wonder features a medley of seafood, sausage, corn, and potatoes, all boiled together in a flavorful broth. Another popular dish is She-Crab Soup, a creamy and indulgent soup made with blue crab meat and crab roe.

Lowcountry cuisine is a true reflection of the history and culture of South Carolina’s coastal regions. With its rich flavors and diverse ingredients, it continues to captivate the taste buds of locals and visitors alike.

What Food Is SC Most Known For?

Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is a beloved Southern staple that holds a special place in the hearts of many South Carolinians. Its origins can be traced back to the early 20th century when it gained popularity as a sandwich filling and spread. Pimento cheese is made by blending grated cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos, resulting in a rich and creamy spread with a hint of sweetness.

South Carolina has its own unique take on pimento cheese, known for its bold flavors and spicy kick. Many locals add a touch of hot sauce or cayenne pepper to give the spread an extra punch. Pimento cheese is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways. It can be served as a dip with crackers or vegetables, spread on sandwiches, or melted on top of burgers and hot dogs.

In addition to its traditional applications, pimento cheese has become a star ingredient in many South Carolina dishes. Chefs across the state have embraced the spread’s creamy texture and bold flavors, incorporating it into dishes such as pimento cheese grits and pimento cheese stuffed jalapenos. These creative dishes offer a new and exciting way to enjoy this classic Southern favorite.

Frogmore Stew

Frogmore Stew, also known as Lowcountry Boil, is a hearty and flavorful dish that originated in the coastal regions of South Carolina. Contrary to its name, the stew does not actually contain frog meat. Instead, it is a combination of fresh shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes, boiled together in a flavorful broth.

The origins of Frogmore Stew can be traced back to the small community of Frogmore, located on St. Helena Island in South Carolina. Local fishermen would gather their catch of the day and boil it in a large pot with ingredients readily available to them. The resulting stew became a staple in the community, and its popularity eventually spread throughout the state and beyond.

Traditionally, Frogmore Stew is served on a large communal table, inviting friends and family to gather and enjoy the flavors of South Carolina’s coastal waters. The ingredients are typically boiled together in a flavorful broth, allowing the flavors to meld and infuse into each other. Once cooked, the stew is poured onto a newspaper-lined table, encouraging a hands-on and casual dining experience.

Over the years, there have been many variations and modern takes on Frogmore Stew. Some chefs add additional ingredients such as crab legs or clams to elevate the dish, while others experiment with different spices and seasonings. Regardless of the variation, Frogmore Stew continues to be a beloved and iconic dish in South Carolina’s culinary landscape.

What Food Is SC Most Known For?


When it comes to barbecue, South Carolina has its own unique style that sets it apart from other barbecue regions. Unlike the tomato-based barbecue sauces found in other states, South Carolina’s barbecue is known for its tangy and mustard-based sauce. This distinct flavor profile creates a mouthwatering combination of smoky, sweet, and tangy flavors.

The importance of mustard sauce in South Carolina barbecue cannot be overstated. It is the star of the show, coating the slow-smoked meats and infusing them with its vibrant and zesty flavors. The mustard sauce is typically made with a combination of mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, and spices, resulting in a sauce that is both flavorful and versatile.

South Carolina is home to many famous barbecue joints that have become institutions in their own right. These establishments have perfected the art of slow and low cooking, resulting in tender and flavorful barbecue that locals and visitors flock to. From pulled pork sandwiches to ribs, the barbecue scene in South Carolina is a must-visit for any meat lover.

She-Crab Soup

She-crab soup is a classic South Carolina dish that showcases the state’s rich seafood heritage. The soup is made with blue crab meat and crab roe, giving it a rich and creamy texture with a hint of sweetness. The name “she-crab” refers to the female blue crabs that are used to make this indulgent soup.

The history of she-crab soup in South Carolina dates back to the late 19th century when it was created by a Charleston chef named William Deas. Legend has it that Deas was preparing a dinner for President William Howard Taft when he realized he was running out of soup. In a stroke of culinary genius, he added crab roe to his traditional crab soup, creating she-crab soup.

Today, she-crab soup is a beloved dish in South Carolina and can be found on the menus of many restaurants across the state. It is often served as a starter or as part of a seafood-centric meal. The soup’s rich flavors and velvety texture make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

If you find yourself in South Carolina, there are several establishments that are known for serving the best she-crab soup in the state. From Charleston to Hilton Head, these restaurants have perfected the art of she-crab soup, offering a truly unforgettable dining experience.

Collard Greens

Collard greens are a staple in Southern cuisine and are deeply rooted in the food culture of South Carolina. They are a type of leafy green vegetable that is rich in vitamins and minerals. Collard greens have been a part of Southern foodways for centuries, and their significance in the region’s culinary traditions cannot be overstated.

Collard greens are typically prepared by simmering them slowly until they become tender. They are often seasoned with salt, pepper, and other spices to enhance their flavor. The resulting dish is a comforting and soul-satisfying accompaniment to many Southern meals.

In South Carolina, collard greens are often served as a side dish alongside other traditional Southern fare such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and cornbread. They are also a common addition to Hoppin’ John, a traditional New Year’s dish that symbolizes good luck and prosperity.

Regardless of how they are prepared, collard greens continue to be a beloved and cherished part of South Carolina’s culinary landscape. Their hearty and comforting nature makes them a true Southern favorite.

Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a traditional South Carolina dish that has been enjoyed for generations. It is often served on New Year’s Day and is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the year ahead. Hoppin’ John is made with black-eyed peas, rice, and pork, creating a hearty and flavorful dish that is both comforting and delicious.

The background of Hoppin’ John can be traced back to the Gullah Geechee culture, descendants of West African slaves who settled in the coastal regions of South Carolina. These slaves brought with them a tradition of eating black-eyed peas for good luck, which eventually evolved into the dish we know today as Hoppin’ John.

To prepare Hoppin’ John the South Carolina way, start by simmering black-eyed peas with onions, garlic, and spices until they become tender. In a separate pot, cook rice with a generous amount of pork, such as bacon or ham hock, to infuse the dish with its rich flavors. Once both components are cooked, they are combined together to create a dish that is both hearty and satisfying.

In addition to its symbolic significance, Hoppin’ John is a delicious and comforting dish that can be enjoyed year-round. Its flavors and textures make it a true taste of South Carolina and a testament to the state’s rich culinary traditions.

South Carolina is a state rich in culinary traditions and flavors that are deeply rooted in its history and culture. From its iconic dishes like shrimp and grits and she-crab soup to its unique barbecue style, the state offers a diverse and vibrant culinary scene that is truly a feast for the senses. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, exploring the tastes of South Carolina is a journey that will delight and satisfy your taste buds. So, dig in and experience the rich and flavorsome world of South Carolina cuisine!