Classic Charleston Dishes to Try

 If you’re paying a visit to the Lowcountry, there are several classic Charleston dishes you really ought to try.

After all, Charleston cuisine – good southern cooking with an elevated twist – is one of the main draws of the Lowcountry. Local restaurants have made many national “best of” lists, and for good reason.

Many of the classic Charleston dishes have roots in the Gullah culture. In the early days of Charleston, oftentimes it was enslaved Africans who ran both private and public kitchens of the historic city and who developed the dishes.

Recently, AFAR Travel Guide published its list of the eight essential Charleston dishes to taste while you’re in the Lowcountry.

Actually, it’s more than just a simple list of things to eat. The list also delves into the history of the Charleston dishes, plus suggests some of the best establishments around for you to try them.

In a nutshell, here’s the list of 8 essential Charleston dishes:

Purloo - a well-seasoned rice dish cooked with meat or seafood, onions and garlic (also known as Gullah rice).
Best places to find it: Purlieu, Poogan’s Porch, Husk, or The Grocery.

Chicken Bog - chicken cooked down till falling apart, then stirred into rice with peppers and onions.
The Shelter

Hoppin’ John - black-eyed peas cooked with rice
Virginia’s on King or Husk

Frogmore Stew, a.k.a. Lowcountry Boil - shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes boiled all together with spices
Fleet Landing or Bowens Island

Steamed Oysters - steamed over an open fire and served in a bucket
Bowens Island

She-Crab Soup - crab bisque with crab roe and sherry
Anson, Revival or Saffron Grill & Bakery

Shrimp & Grits - fresh local shrimp sautéed with bacon, onions, or the like, served with its light gravy over grits Slightly North of Broad or Acme Lowcountry Kitchen on the Isle of Palms, which offers 10 different variations!

Boiled Peanuts - a classic dish of green peanuts boiled in salted or spiced brine
Hyman’s Seafood, the Wreck of the Richard & Charlene, or the Charleston Riverdogs baseball games

Here’s a link to the AFAR article with the full story.

Reading over the list is making me seriously hungry. By the way, the AFAR list mentioned Hominy Grill multiple times, e.g. for their famous Shrimp & Grits – the recipe I make myself. Alas, Robert Stehling has since closed his famous landmark restaurant after a long and highly successful run.

So check out some of the Charleston dishes that feed people in the Lowcountry – both locals and those from afar. And remember when you're looking for the best beach house rentals in Charleston, call Exclusive Properties.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger