Lowcountry Style food in Charleston, SC, USA: sumptuous seafood and fried everything

Hauled as one of the best foodie cities in the US, Charleston is a particularly delightful destination for seafood lovers. I had the privilege to travel there for a librarian conference: that’s five nights of dining options, y’all!

The state of South Carolina and the coastal part of Georgia are referred to as the Lowcountry. Its cuisine has some similarities with other Southern states, for instance the Cajun influences, but is distinct nonetheless. Located on the Atlantic coast, Charleston is well known for its seafood. You can find raw bars in restaurants serving oysters and ceviche. Southern staples like shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes are omnipresent. You should also try the crab cakes and She-crab soup.

It seems Charleston chefs love frying food. Not only the tomatoes get battered and fried, sweet potato, okra and pickles get the frying treatment as well. In my opinion, the frying-thing is taken a bit too far. If you’ve ever tried fried pickles, you may know what I’m talking about.

Fried fish, sweet potatoes and okra at Fleet Landing
Fried dinner at Fleet Landing – fish, sweet potatoes and okra

One item Charleston locals can’t live without is hot sauce. You find it next to the salt and pepper at every restaurant table and there are hot sauce shops aplenty. Local hot sauces make for a great souvenir too. I got a few mini bottles of Spontaneous Combustion, Ass Kicking Wasabi Horseradish hot sauce and Hot Sauce from Hell. Believe me when I tell you they’re hot hot hot!

Hot sauce!
Pepper Palace shop next to Charleston Market where you can find all hot sauces one could ever wish for
Charleston Market
Charleston Market – souvenir and food shopping

Whenever I go to the US I look forward to eating a good hearty breakfast. I like to eat poached eggs for breakfast, but haven’t quite mastered the skill of poaching eggs myself, so whenever I can get excellent Eggs Benedict or whichever variation in a restaurant, I seize the opportunity. I would not recommend doing this every day, because the portion sizes in the US tend to be huge, as compared to what I’m accustomed to in Europe. It does give you plenty of energy for the day and it can’t be denied that eating such a luxurious breakfast is a lovely indulgence. The main image to this post was taken at Another Broken Egg cafe, where I managed to pursuade my colleague to go to with me, even though the breakfast at our hotel was good too.

Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Swamp Fox restaurant, Charleston, SC, USA
Crab Cake Sliders
Crab Cake Sliders at the Swamp Fox restaurant, Charleston, SC, USA

What strikes me as peculiar is the American’s love for ice in beverages. I’m talking lots and lots of it! I prefer my water without ice, but in the US people would think I’m weird.

Can't get enough of these summer rolls
Fresh summer rolls at Tasty Thai King Street
Tasty Thai duck curry
Duck curry at Tasty Thai. Tasty it is!
Five Guys fastfood lunch
My first Five Guys experience!

Charleston is a lovely town that I’d happily visit again. The downtown area is easily walkable, there are gorgeous mansions and cute alleyways, the friendliest people you can imagine, nice shopping on King Street and a plethora of restaurants. Charleston: until we meet again!

Where I ate:

Another Broken Egg Cafe – eggs, nice coffee mugs

Amen Street – fish, raw bar, lovely atmosphere
Fleet Landing – fish, water front, nautical decorations
Swamp Fox restaurant of the Francis Marion hotel
Tasty Thai – Thai, sushi, on King Street (great for shopping!)
Wasabi – sushi, dumplings, also a club


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