What is Lowcountry Cuisine?
Frogmore stew. Hoppin’ John. She-crab soup. If these odd-sounding names don’t make your mouth water, you must not be from South Carolina’s Lowcountry!
Lowcountry cuisine goes with Hilton Head like peanut butter goes with jelly, and we think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. If you’re not familiar with this regional cuisine, you’re in for a treat when you visit Hilton Head Island.
What Exactly Is Lowcountry Cuisine?
Lowcountry cuisine shares some features with Southern cooking, but it’s unique to the South Carolina Lowcountry region. The cuisine draws inspiration from our coastal estuaries and uses oysters, fish, shrimp and crabs as its foundation — you can expect some combination of seafood dishes at any Lowcountry meal. And the African and Caribbean influences add just the right amount of spicy kick.
Grits, rice, and local, fresh produce also play a significant role in this style of cooking. Rice cultivation saw a downturn here following the Civil War, but it’s picked back up in the past several decades. Today, rice — whether served on its own as a side dish or made into a pilau with tomatoes and vegetables — shares center stage with seafood in Lowcountry dining.
Plan Your Own Lowcountry Boil
What’s the Hilton Head equivalent of a New England clam bake? A Lowcountry boil!
To host your own, get the freshest shellfish you can find and put it in a huge pot with spicy, smoked sausage and vegetables. Add potatoes and corn if you want, along with some seriously spicy boil seasoning. Once it’s done, you’ll turn it all out on a table covered with newspapers — we recommend doing so outdoors — and enjoy a very messy Lowcountry feast.
Here’s a recipe we love for one Lowcountry boil variation using crawfish and shrimp. Enjoy!
Where to Find Authentic Lowcountry Dishes
If you want to enjoy Lowcountry cuisine in Hilton Head without cooking it yourself, you’ll find some great choices. One of our favorite restaurants is A Lowcountry Backyard, which offers an exceptional Lowcountry menu in a quaint, comfortable atmosphere. Try the Lowcountry Shrimpburger, Potato Chip Meatloaf, Island Crab Cakes, and, of course, Shrimp and Grits.
To get a taste of Lowcountry flavor in a variety of Hilton Head settings, consider a Savor the Lowcountry food tour. You can choose among several different tours with stops that include the island’s Coligny Beach district along with premier shopping and dining areas.
Enjoy Fine Dining Anytime as a Resident of The Cypress
While you’re in Hilton Head sampling the Lowcountry fare, we hope you’ll take time to stop by The Cypress, where our residents enjoy delectable cuisine in a variety of dining venues ranging from casual to elegant: The Cypress Dining Room — our white linen restaurant, The Bistro — for informal, tasty bites, our Patio Dining— for gorgeous views, our Private Dining Room — for special events, and of course our fully-stocked Bar. To learn more or to schedule your personal tour, please contact us today.