Local Grub: Good Food in Savannah

Separated from South Carolina by the Savannah River, mention this southern city and you immediately conjure visions of Spanish moss clinging to live oak trees. Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC have much in common. But like all cousins, they’re distinct from each other in so many ways. Good food is defined by the same traditions in both cities but in Savannah, by its unique context. Check out local grub, good food in Savannah!

It’s in the coastal Lowcountry geography of these two southern cities that we find the source of their common heritage in living by land and sea. This factor has shaped the culinary traditions of the Lowcountry, influencing their seasonal nature and development over time. The good food you’ll find in Savannah is both typical and unique to the city, bearing imprints of Africa and the earthy presence of indigenous ingredients.

If you’ve been following our Local Grub series here on the blog, you’ll know that we recently stopped at Charleston. So, you’ll recall that the Gullah/Geechee people have exerted tremendous influence on the 350-year-old Lowcountry food tradition. This culturally rich kitchen has grown outward to influence and impact native US cuisine as a whole. Let’s read more about what specific food Savannah is best known for!

Savannah Red Rice

Rice in the Lowcountry has a very special place in associated foodways. Long grain rice cultivation was revived in the region after almost disappearing in the wake of instant rice’s popularity. Called “purloo”, “pilau”, or “purlou”, long grain rice is at the heart of Lowcountry food as both the main dish and beloved side. In Savannah, this take on Lowcountry rice is the city’s own special food, known for its red color provided by an abundance of good, fresh tomatoes used in the stock it’s cooked in.

Savannah Red Rice is simmered in fish or chicken stock. Generously seasoned, this Savannah food’s elegant flavor profile is rooted in its simple goodness. When well-prepared, the rice at the top of the dish will be fluffy, while at the bottom of the dish, a crispy crust will have formed. The secret? Don’t peek! Let that puppy cook and you will have produced the Georgia coast’s most representative dish! Right at the top of the list of what foods Savannah’s best known for is its eponymous red rice.

Peach Cobbler

While peach cobbler isn’t in a specific Lowcountry tradition, what’s better suited to the lacy Spanish moss of Savannah than a genteel encounter with the iconic Georgia peach? There is nothing more redolent of Georgia than this fuzzy, richly-scented fruit. And cobbler made with the state fruit is so popular in Savannah. Plus, you’ll find a million places to eat it. Good food, including sweetly delicious peach cobbler, is pretty easy to find in Savannah.

Visit Savannah from about the middle of May until mid-August to experience peach cobbler at its best. Because peaches plucked fresh from the tree are practically a local legend. In cobbler form, they’re mythical.

Among the foods Savannah is best known for, peach cobbler is what many visitors look forward to eating here, leading to a healthy competition to make the best. At least one local eatery has won peach cobbler bragging rights. Because it’s widely rumored to be home to the finest in the state!

Savannah She-Crab Soup

Bucket of gray crabs

She-crab soup is a good example of local ingredients being elevated, yet remaining true over time. This soup is a creamy bisque. It is dubbed “she-crab” due to the inclusion of the roe (eggs) of the female crab it’s created from. In Savannah, she-crab soup is known as one of the local foods too good to miss!

Created in Charleston, SC, she-crab soup was born to answer President William Taft’s love of turtle soup.  This happened during a visit to the city. The Mayor’s butler, William Deas, elevated the simplicity of local Lowcountry crab soup to the sublime with a simple dollop of red crab roe!

While that’s what the tour guides are going to cheerfully tell you, the truth is just a little different. As is true with all lore, sometimes you need to look a little deeper to determine what foods in Savannah are known for! To produce a winning she-crab soup, Savannah restaurants are forever locked in a friendly competition to create the good, honest food people love to discover when visiting!

Experience Good Food in Savannah with Food Fire + Knives

Savannah hosts get to settle into a languid evening of fine dining without lifting a finger, with Food Fire + Knives. We make it happen, bringing you effortless catering. Your FFK chef explains what to expect from the Lowcountry and Georgia state southern foods Savannah is known for, then creates them in your own kitchen! Reserve today to experience the ease of private chef catering for an experience of seamless culinary excellence, with FFK.

Published By Kim Gandhi Kim Gandhi began cooking at 8 years old with a love of food driving her to experiment with her Hispanic and German heritage. She gained a BBA in Marketing and turned to the business world for much of her career. Her strong customer service background and her passion for great events that involve chefs, customers, and amazing food allows her to indulge in her love of cooking and enjoying what FFK chefs bring to the table.