Taste of the South

Want to experience the heart and soul of Charleston? Taste the local food. Comprised of heirloom recipes proudly passed from one generation to the next, Lowcountry cuisine has evolved over the past 300 years. Today’s chefs reap the best local ingredients to create dishes that celebrate Charleston’s authentic flavours, including ‘she-crab’ soup (a cross between a bisque and a chowder), shrimp and grits, collard greens, Lowcountry boil, crab cakes, hoppin’ John (a rice-and-bean pilaf), oyster pie, biscuits and gravy, Country Captain (curried chicken and rice), and more. The benne wafer, which dates back to the plantation age, is a popular treat: crunchy wafers made from butter, sugar and sesame seeds. A great Charleston souvenir, bags of benne wafers are available at the historic City Market. Go behind the scenes with Culinary Tours of Charleston and visit noted chefs, bakers, artisan food producers and chocolatiers for an authentic sample of the area’s prized cuisine.

Charleston Sweet Treats

Culinary Talents

A modern playground for culinary talent, Charleston is home to a volume of world-class dining normally associated with cities five times its size. Named ‘Best New Restaurant in America’ by Bon Appétit in September 2011, Husk is hailed as one of the most important restaurants in the history of Southern cooking. Opened in November 2010 by James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock, Husk adheres to locavore philosophy and only stocks ingredients grown or harvested in the South. For more fine dining thrills, visit Charleston Grill, whose menu is divided into four categories, each reflective of its ingredients and preparation: Pure, Lush, Southern and Cosmopolitan. Fig is part retro diner and part elegant bistro; its menu features delectable dishes that use seasonal ingredients prepared by James Beard-approved chef Mike Lata. Don’t miss the coddled Sea Island egg with stone crab, sweet corn, chanterelles and croutons.

Outdoor Culinary Experiences

A Barbecue Haven

Barbecue fans will be in smoky heaven here. Head to Lewis Barbecue on North Nassau Street, where John Lewis (nicknamed ‘The Brisket Evangelist’ by Garden & Gun magazine) welds his own custom-designed smokers to create expertly smoked beef brisket, pork spareribs and beef ribs. Whole hog is still the king of the menu at Rodney Scott’s BBQ at 1011 King Street, but it’s got a lot of tasty friends to keep it company. Try the spare ribs covered in a special rub and the baked mac n’ cheese, which has a delicious crispy breadcrumb topping.

Crab Cake

Succulent Seafood

Seafood fans can rejoice; from tidal tributaries to the Atlantic Ocean, the pristine waters surrounding Charleston produce a fresh, edible bounty, including shrimp, fish, oysters, clams, and crabs. Picturesque Shem Creek in the town of Mt. Pleasant is home to a fleet of hardworking shrimp boats that ensure fresh seafood is abundantly available in Charleston. Sample the succulent catch of the day in one of the friendly harbourside restaurants…