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 Southern 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.
When strolling by candy kitchens and confectioners, you smell the sweet aromas of fresh pralines. Known for their caramel color and crunchy pecans in the United States, these delights actually hail from France. The French make them much firmer with almonds and caramelized sugar. When these Southern specialties came with the French settlers to Louisiana, chefs substituted local ingredients. They’re in abundance in Savannah, so be sure to grab some when you visit!
Georgia may the “Peach State,” but did you know that South Carolina actually grows more of this 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 or peach cobbler get some while you’re here!