5 Foods You Must Try in The Lowcountry

From traditional Southern meals to sugary sippin’s and late night nibbles, the Lowcountry’s culinary scene is vast and growing immensely nationwide. But you don’t have to spend a fortune at restaurants to sample some of the South’s specialties.

Fried Green Tomatoes:

This simple golden side dish peaked in popularity when the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” came out in 1991. Though considered Southern fare for years, this dish has its own secret backstory, emerging from Jewish immigrants in the Northeast and Midwest before becoming a star of the South. Some of the first recipes found published on this traditional American tomato dish were in Jewish cookbooks, before showing up in cookbooks in the Midwest and newspapers. No matter where they’re from, we’re just glad they’re here and you can find them on menus all  over the Lowcountry from Charleston to Bluffton.

Shrimp & Grits:

A staple on any Southern table, Shrimp & Grits is another hot dish you won’t want to miss. This regional specialty hails from the Lowcountry, with origins in the Native American Muskogee tribe who ground corn in a stone mill, giving it a gritty texture. It wasn’t until 1985 when Craig Claiborne of the New York Times visited North Carolina and published a recipe about them, that the Shrimp & Grits we know today gained widespread popularity. From hole-in-the-wall diners to upscale eateries all across the South, this plate is made many different ways, each pleasing palates of many different people.

Sweet Tea:

Sweet tea is regarded as an important regional staple in the cuisine of the South. It is
most commonly made by adding sugar or simple syrup to black tea either while the tea is brewing or while still hot. Sweet tea is almost always served ice cold. It may sometimes be flavored, most commonly with lemon but also with peach, raspberry, or mint. Unlike the northern states,when one orders iced tea at a restaurant in the Lowcountry, one is more likely to be served sweet tea instead of unsweetened.

Pralines:

Photo: The Chocolate Canopy, Hilton Head Island

When strolling by the candy kitchens and confectioners in the Lowcountry, you can’t help but smell the sweet aromas sifting through the air of fresh pralines. Though they’re known for their caramel color and crunchy pecans in the United States, these delights actually hail from France, where they’re much firmer, made with almonds and caramelized sugar. When they were brought over by French settlers to Louisiana, local chefs substituted the ingredients for the ample pecans and sugar cane. They’re in abundance here in the Hostess City of the South, so be sure to grab some sugar when you’re in Savannah!

Peaches:

Georgia may be called the “Peach State,” but did you know that South Carolina actually grows more of this sweet, succulent fruit? As of 2017, the state of South Carolina produced 11,000 tons of peaches. Whether you’re in the mood for peach ice cream, peach cobbler or just some fresh peaches from a roadside stand, be sure to get some of this fuzzy fruit while you’re here!