8 Mar 2023
Any visit to the charming communities of the Charleston coast includes dining on local seafood, prepared in a variety of ways. But you do not want to miss out on some of our favorite specialties.
In Charleston, rice was once king, so it makes sense that Lowcountry pirlou (also spelled perloo) was once one of its crowning dishes. Chefs use Carolina Gold Rice, lobster, shrimp, crab, and sweet peas in the Pirlou, reminiscent of a Louisiana jambalaya.
Shrimp and Grits
Shrimp and Grits combine two simple and abundant Lowcountry foods - shrimp and stone-ground corn, or grits. Shrimp and Grits consist of shrimp cooked in bacon grease served over creamy grits, though every restaurant uses its own recipe to get a unique flavor.
Frogmore Stew, also known as Beaufort Boil or Lowcountry Boil, is a local staple. The meal combines shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes in a huge pot, seasoning with crab boils such as Old Bay or a homemade spice mix. It is served on a large platter for all to enjoy.
She Crab Soup
She Crab Soup is one of the Lowcountry’s most popular culinary delicacies. Similar to a rich bisque, She Crab Soup is made of milk or heavy cream, crab or fish stock, locally-caught Atlantic blue crab meat, and sometimes crab roe. It is simply delicious!
Many outdoor gatherings involve a bushel of local oysters, a roaring fire, a long table, and oyster knives. Oysters are roasted on a flat surface for even cooking and steamed under cover of a damp burlap sack. Once the shell starts to open, the oysters are removed from the heat. Use a knife to pop the oysters open and slurp ‘em down.
Oysters are also prepared fried in a light batter to a crispy finish. A perfectly-fried oyster allows you to taste the savory, briny flavor of these delicacies. Some chefs use a dusting of cornmeal rather than flour-based batter.
Crab patties, or croquettes, were an idea brought by the British — Lowcountry chefs just spiced them up a bit. The best crab cakes are packed with meat, lightly breaded, and fried to a perfect golden brown. Some restaurants top them with a light cream sauce, which may have shrimp or more crab meat.