10 Famous Foods In South Carolina: Must-try South Carolina Food

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South Carolina is known for its unique cuisine that blends traditional Southern flavors with a variety of international influences. Foods in South Carolina is focused on fresh, local ingredients from the state’s bountiful coastlines and farms. The delicious world of South Carolina food makes the state an exciting destination for foodies.

What’s Special About Foods In South Carolina?

South Carolina cuisine is heavily influenced by its history, geography, and cultural diversity. 

The state’s coastal location provides an abundance of seafood, including shrimp, and oysters which contribute to dishes like shrimp and grits and oyster roasts. Unsurprisingly, the agriculture sector has an obvious impact on the food of South Carolina.

Gullah-Geechee culture, which originated in West and Central Africa and developed in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina, has also played a significant role in the state’s food scene.

In addition, South Carolina’s food scene is influenced by its proximity to other southern states, such as Georgia and North Carolina. This has led to the sharing of recipes and ingredients, resulting in unique regional dishes.

When you think of South Carolina, different dishes may come to mind, but these are some of the popular foods from South Carolina to try.

Most Famous South Carolina Food

Carolina Reaper

If you’re a fan of spicy foods, then one food South Carolina is known for has to be the Carolina Reaper. This pepper was created by taking two of the hottest peppers in the world (the Bhut Jolokia and Red Habanero), and cross-breeding them to create this monster!

At 1.57 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on average it officially became the hottest pepper in the world in 2013, or at least according to The Guinness Book of World Records. To put that into perspective, that’s around 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce!

Despite its fiery reputation, the Carolina Reaper is also celebrated in the South Carolina food scene for its unique flavor. It’s definitely not for those who can’t handle the heat though.

People in South Carolina love to incorporate Carolina Reapers into their dishes, mainly adding a little bit for some extra heat, such as a dry rub in barbecue or making pepper jellies.

So if you feeling adventurous, why not try some Carolina Reapers? You can find them sold as dried flakes or powder, and of course as a hot sauce.

Famous Foods In South Carolina

Frogmore Stew

Frogmore Stew is a seafood boil dish that is a favorite of the Lowcountry region in South Carolina. That is why it’s also referred to as Lowcountry boil. This South Carolina food is often served at barbecues and other social gatherings in the area. 

The name comes from Frogmore, a small town near Beaufort, which is known for this delicious seafood boil! The origin of the dish though is rather murky with a few different stories to it. But one thing that doesn’t change – this is one delicious tasting food from South Carolina.

The ingredients in Frogmore Stew can vary but it is traditionally made with fresh shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes all boiled together in a flavorful broth made with spices like Old Bay seasoning, butter, and garlic. 

The ready-cooked goodness are then dumped onto a newspaper-lined table and everyone digs in with their hands. It’s all part of the fun, y’all! This is also one of the popular foods in Charleston as they tap into the fresh seafood from the coast.

There’s nothing quite like the savory and spicy flavors of Frogmore Stew to transport you straight to the heart of Southern cooking.

Shrimp And Grits

This dish is a classic Southern comfort food that has been around for generations. Therefore, it is an iconic dish in the South Carolina food scene, and you can commonly find it in restaurants, cafes, and even local homes.

The simple yet yummy dish typically consists of creamy, buttery grits served with sautéed or grilled shrimp. A vibrant version also includes a topping mix that has bits of ingredients such as bacon, mushrooms, garlic, onions, peppers, and other vegetables.

The result is a hearty combination of flavors and textures that often varies depending on the cook. 

The dish has its roots in the Gullah Geechee culture of the South Carolina Lowcountry, where it was a staple for enslaved Africans who lived in the region. Today, the dish has become a symbol of Southern hospitality and tradition.

This unique dish is traditionally served as breakfast or brunch but can also be enjoyed any time of day! It’s definitely one of the famous foods in South Carolina that everyone should try at least once. 

South Carolina Barbecue

Barbecue is one of the most popular foods in the U.S., and South Carolina is no exception. This pit fire cooking style has a long history that stretches back hundreds of years and a smoky flavor that can’t be beaten. However, each state has its own signature spin and twists on barbecue.

South Carolina is known for its mustard-based barbecue sauce or rub, which is quite different from the tomato-based ones you’ll find in other states. Some even call it the Carolina Gold. 

South Carolina barbecue is typically whole hog style, meaning the whole pig is used. The pork is cooked low and slow over wood or hot coals for many hours until it develops an unforgettable smokiness and tenderness. It’s served either chopped or pulled along with sauces.

The dishes are often accompanied by classic Southern sides like coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, or hush puppies. Don’t miss out on the chance to try this mouthwatering barbecue. It’s a staple of the South Carolina food scene and a true culinary treasure.

Chicken Bog

A hearty, one-pot meal that’s great for feeding a crowd, Chicken Bog has become a beloved dish in the South Carolina food scene.

This is essentially a stew made with chicken, sausages, and rice, seasoned to perfection with herbs and spices. It’s actually believed to have originated from the Lowcountry of South Carolina with inspirations from African and Spanish cuisine (i.e. Jollof and paella)

One of the great things about Chicken Bog is how versatile it is. Some folks like to add vegetables like onions and bell peppers, while others prefer to keep it simple with just chicken and sausage. 

And of course, everyone has their own secret spice blend that makes their Chicken Bog stand out. This is one of the foods from South Carolina that’s sure to warm your heart and fill your belly!

Oyster Roasts

Oyster roasts are essentially the core of seafood gathering that is ingrained in the culture of South Carolina. It’s a communal affair and requires a good amount of effort to make it happen – but it’s more than worth it!

Imagine huddling around a fire pit with your friends and family on a crisp fall day, and feasting on freshly roasted oysters straight from the coast.

The oysters are typically roasted in large metal pans with hot coals or open flames until they pop open, revealing their succulent meat. They’re then served with plenty of butter, lemon juice, and other sauces for dipping. 

There’s something about the combination of the salty ocean flavor and the charred smokiness that’s just hard to beat.

Of course, they go well with a cold beer or wine, maybe even some Lowcountry classics like she-crab soup, boiled peanuts, or sweet tea.

Oyster roasts are a nod to South Carolina’s rich coastal heritage and a perfect representation of how food can bring people together to create memories that last a lifetime. Don’t miss out on this wonderful South Carolina food tradition if you get the chance.

Snacks Foods Of South Carolina

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts are a staple snack in the South Carolina food scene that you just can’t resist! It’s an incredibly simple dish — just raw peanuts boiled in heavily salted water until they become soft and tender, but they are downright delicious.

These little legumes are packed with flavor and you’ll find roadside stands selling these mouth-watering treats. This is where people gather to munch away at a bag (or two) of boiled peanuts. They are so popular that they have become the official state snack of South Carolina!

Despite its simplicity, the unique texture that is slightly chewy and salty, with a nutty and earthy flavor just keeps you coming back for more. So maybe grab and stash a bag in your backpack as you explore the famous landmarks in South Carolina.

Boiled peanuts can also go perfectly with other southern favorites like fried chicken or sweet tea. They are also packed with nutrients, including protein, fiber, and healthy fats; so it serves as a relatively healthy snack option (in moderation, of course.)

Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese is one of the famous foods in South Carolina; people even term it “the caviar of the South” so you know this is one dish you have to try. 

It’s a combination of sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and diced pimentos (or roasted red bell peppers). All these ingredients are blended together until it reaches an irresistible creamy texture and flavor.

This creamy spread or dip can be found at just about any barbecue, potluck, or family gathering in the state. It’s perfect for enjoying with crackers or bread, slathering on a burger, or even topping off a hot dog.

You can buy this in most stores around the state, or even make it yourself as everyone seems to have their own special recipe catering to their taste preferences. But one thing is for sure, once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked on the tangy, cheesy goodness.

Desserts And Sweet Foods From South Carolina


South Carolina’s climate and soil are perfect for growing this succulent fruit. And boy, do they grow some good ones! The peaches in South Carolina are world-famous, and for good reason.

This state produces some of the juiciest, sweetest, and most delicious peaches in the country. From May through August, you can find roadside stands selling ripe and plump peaches all over South Carolina.

The peaches are so juicy that when you take a bite, you’ll feel the sweet nectar running down your chin. Plus, peaches make a great addition to various dishes like cobblers, pies, jams, and jellies. They also freeze well so you can enjoy them all year round! 

South Carolina even has an annual peach festival in the summer, where you can celebrate all things peachy and enjoy the state’s delicious fruit in all its forms.

So if you’re ever in South Carolina during peach season make sure to buy some to bring home as souvenirs or simply enjoy on the spot! In any case, it’s one of those famous foods in South Carolina; in fact, it is the official state fruit.

Iconic Drinks Of South Carolina

Sweet Tea

Sweet tea is like the unofficial state beverage in the South Carolina food tradition! It’s not just your average glass of iced tea. Oh no, sweet tea is a way of life down here. It’s the perfect balance of freshly brewed tea and sugar, served over ice on a hot summer day.

As its name implies, sweet tea has sugar added to it; some people prefer more, while others like less. Everyone has their own recipe. Some like it a little sweeter, some like it with a twist of lemon, and some even like to add a splash of bourbon.

But either way, this beverage can be found almost everywhere throughout South Carolina as it’s enjoyed by both locals and visitors. Sweet tea is often the first thing you’ll be offered when you visit someone’s home.

This refreshing beverage it’s an absolute must-have when enjoying other foods of South Carolina like barbecue or fried chicken.

Go ahead and grab a glass of iced Sweet Tea while lounging around the South Carolina beaches. It’s perfect for cooling down during those hot summer days in the Palmetto State.

Discovering Delicious Foods Of South Carolina

Well, they say the way to a Southerner’s heart is through their stomach, and that’s especially true in South Carolina! Overall, South Carolina’s food scene is characterized by its rich history, coastal location, and cultural diversity.

The state is known for its unique styles of barbecue with standout mustard-based sauces and rubs that keep you coming back. Seafood plays a significant role in the cuisine, with shrimp and grits, oyster roasts, and Lowcountry boil being popular dishes.

Many of the dishes are great for sharing, reflecting the communal aspects of South Carolina food culture. So take the time to savor the flavors and foods in South Carolina, while enjoying the company of those around you.



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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