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Barbecue and side dishes in South Carolina

South Carolina

10 Can’t-Miss Foods in South Carolina

By: Samantha Crespo

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  • States:
    South Carolina

The culture of the USA's Southeast region is catching on.

Just take note of the number of chefs nationwide who are working the region’s culinary influences into their menus. South Carolina is a hub of all things Southern — especially those quintessential regional flavors, including a few that taste best right at their source.

Barbecue

Pork dominates South Carolina barbecue. Sauces are crafted with mustard, tomatoes, vinegar and pepper. Follow the South Carolina BBQ Trail to taste all of the smoky, succulent possibilities.

Shrimp and Grits

South Carolina’s Lowcountry region is defined by scenic waterways and distinct delicacies such as this one: sweet shrimp, wild-caught off the South Carolina coast, ladled over creamy, buttered grits.

Boiled Peanuts

South Carolina’s native peanuts, raw with their shells on, are boiled in salted water. Pinch off and discard the shells, exposing a tender peanut bathed in briny juice. Look for these at roadside stands, shops and festivals.

Boiled peanuts, a staple in South Carolina

Boiled peanuts, a staple in South Carolina
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She-Crab Soup

This soup showcases the sweet meat and briny roe of female hard-shell blue crabs. The ingredients simmer in cream and sherry, creating a comforting taste that’s unique to the South Carolina coast.

Blue crabs, primary ingredient in She-Crab Soup

Blue crabs, primary ingredient in She-Crab Soup
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Collard Greens

At South Carolina barbecue, soul food and even upscale farm-to-table restaurants, collards are slow-cooked with ham hocks for a smoky pork flavor, then finished with just the right amount of vinegar.

Leafy collard greens, traditionally slow-cooked

Leafy collard greens, traditionally slow-cooked
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Okra

Like collards, okra is a South Carolina staple. Its versatility makes every bite delightfully different. Try it pickled, stewed heartily with tomatoes or dusted in cornmeal and fried into crunchy bites.

Delicious and crispy fried okra

Delicious and crispy fried okra
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Pecans

Throughout South Carolina’s central Midlands, pecans – pronounced “pea-cans” – grow. Eat them raw by the handful, baked into rich pecan pie or as pralines, roasted and coated in brown sugar.

A sweet classic, pecan pie

A sweet classic, pecan pie
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Hoppin' John

What South Carolinians call field peas, or black-eyed peas, are mixed with onion, bacon and rice – preferably homegrown Carolina Gold, a long-grain variety. Eat it year-round, but especially on New Year’s Day, when it’s believed to bring good luck.

Hoppin' John made of peas and rice

Hoppin' John made of peas and rice
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Iced Tea

South Carolinians like their tea ice-cold and sweet. Visit the Charleston Tea Plantation to see tea plants growing on pristine Wadmalaw Island and pick up loose-leaf American Classic brand teas that are produced from the plants.

Refreshing iced tea

Refreshing iced tea
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Frogmore Stew

Also called Beaufort Stew and Lowcountry Boil, this local favorite is simple: fresh shrimp, corn on the cob, sausage and redskin potatoes, boiled and best enjoyed at newspaper-covered picnic tables outdoors.

Frogmore Stew ready for devouring

Frogmore Stew ready for devouring
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