Best Food In Charleston: Local Grub

Best Food In Charleston: Local Grub

Located in the fabled South Carolina Lowcountry, Charleston’s charm is in its historical character, natural surroundings, and amazing food resources. In this article we will focus on best food in Charleston Charleston’s legendary cuisine bears in it the stories of a long and turbulent past. Established in 1670 and named Charles Town in honor of Charles III of England, Charleston is today known as the largest city in the state.

The siting of the city in the Lowcountry, home to the Gullah/Geechee people, has greatly influenced the food of Charleston, SC. Speaking their own unique language, the Gullah people’s culture is as unique as it is influential. They bring forward the traditions of Africa as a living legacy. Much of that legacy is today being carried into the future as some of the best food in Charleston!

Read about some of this culturally rich kitchen’s superstar dishes and the local food bounty used to create them.

Steamed Oysters

When it comes to the local food of Charleston, SC, steamed oysters are more than a favorite. The oysters of the Lowcountry grow in clusters of as many as a dozen. They have been eaten in the region since well before the arrival of European explorers. Embraced as one of the best reasons to live in Charleston, SC oysters are a food almost universally adored here.

Just add saltine crackers and cocktail sauce and you’re eating Charleston-style. Visit this subtropical city in winter to experience an oyster roast, a beloved Charlestonian activity, enjoyed among friends!

Frogmore Stew

Also known as “Lowcountry Boil”, Frogmore Stew is named for the Gullah village of Frogmore on St. Helena Island, the dish’s presumed birthplace. The stew itself consists of sausage, cut corn on the cob, shrimp, and potatoes, boiled in spices. Some recipes call for beer to be the boiling medium, while others stick to water.

When in Charleston, Frogmore Stew is one of the best, most original dishes to try as a taste of the Lowcountry’s deliciously simple food. Furthermore it is usually served outdoors on a picnic table covered in newspaper, this simple dish is a celebration of the region’s natural bounty. Its down-home preparation as well as local ingredients recall simpler times. Don’t spare the cocktail sauce!


Long grain rice is one of the Lowcountry’s claims to fame. Known as “Charleston Gold”, the crop was revived after almost going extinct due to the popularity of instant rice. The revival of long grain rice cultivation in the Lowcountry has led to a renaissance in Purloo, an increasingly popular food in Charleston’s best restaurants.

Purloo is another Gullah/Geechee gift to local cuisine. Simmered in chicken or fish stock, the rice is generously seasoned, using spices, garlic and onions. They also use pork fat or bacon. A protein of choice is then added, creating an African-rooted pilau dish with a distinct flavor profile. Experience the legacy of Gullah/Geechee food culture in Charleston, SC with this authentic dish.

Shrimp and Grits


Hominy grits and shrimp most likely originated in Africa, with the Gullah again contributing to the rich food traditions of Charleston, SC. While you’ll find this delicacy on menus all over the USA, there’s nothing quite like eating it in the Lowcountry.

An inexpensive starch like grits, paired with the free abundance of shrimp in local waters, was originally a poor person’s meal. Today, this regional dish is served in a variety of ways. Adding fried green tomatoes or topping the dish with gravy are just two of the variations you’ll find. This authentic Charleston, SC food may have humble beginnings but you’ll find it on some of the best menus in town.

Discover the Food of Charleston, SC with FFK

 Informed by the fascinating cultures of the region, food in Charleston can best be described as local heritage. The stories are almost as good as the food itself! We hope you liked our take on the best food in Charleston: Local Grub edition.

Food Fire + Knives is here to share amazing cuisine from all over the USA with you. Our private chefs take the party hosting off your plate, doing the shopping, cooking, as well as cleaning for you. You don’t lift a finger! And if you’re vacationing in Charleston, wouldn’t a personal chef be a great way to explore the Lowcountry’s exciting food traditions?

At FFK, we bring great food, great chefs, and lovers of the culinary arts together with a national network of accredited chefs. All across the USA, FFK’s ready to share the greatest hits of local grub with you, both here on the blog and in your own kitchen.

Ready to taste the bounty of Charleston, South Carolina with an accomplished private chef? Reserve now with our easy online booking process!

Published By Shamira Deshpande Shamira is a passionate Social Media Manager and avid foodie who brings creativity and enthusiasm to every project. With 7+ years of experience in the social media management field, she is responsible for creative strategy development and implementation, content creation, optimizing campaigns, and analysis of social media performance for Food Fire + Knives.