Without a doubt, one of South Carolina's most iconic dishes is shrimp and grits. This Lowcountry staple has become a menu favorite across the state. Boiled peanuts, also known as “the caviar of the South”, are another popular food. These peanuts are eaten wet and may seem strange to those used to roasted peanuts.
But before you reject this idea, take a moment to learn more about it. Shrimp and grits is a combination of fresh shrimp from the Atlantic and semolina. It is often served with ham or sausages and spices, making it a feast. Restaurants on the coast offer their own versions of shrimp and grits, with Slightly North of Broad in Charleston being one of the favorites.
Chef Russ Moore prepares a hearty and spicy version with sausage, ham, tomatoes, onions and garlic. South Carolina is also known as the birthplace of American barbecue. The state has four official barbecue sauces, including a mustard-based sauce that is exclusive to Palmetto State. To find the best barbecue in South Carolina, check out the official barbecue route map and the South Carolina Barbecue Association's list of 100-mile barbecue restaurants.
Peaches are another popular food in South Carolina. From May to August, they can be found on restaurant menus and at produce stands across the state. South Carolina produces twice as many peaches every year than its southern neighbor, Georgia. The official state snack is boiled peanuts which can be found at roadside stands during the summer and early fall.
Oyster roasts are a South Carolina tradition with a long history that goes back centuries. The South Carolina Peach Festival is held in Gaffney in the upstate around the last half of July. From international trade in Charleston to the state's access to rich seafood along the coast, South Carolina offers a wide range of dishes to suit all palates. Swamp chicken is another unique dish that comes in as many versions as there are families in South Carolina today.
Barbecue in South Carolina is not just a style of cooking but a subculture with many variations between regions. Contests are held to see who is the supreme king. To savor South Carolina sweet tea, go to the Sweet Tea Festival in Summerville, South Carolina.