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Jun 6, 2006 06:21 PM

What is Low Country Cuisine?

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And is there any in SF? A visiting friend is asking... Thank you.

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  1. Unless your friend is talking about the Netherlands, Low Country cuisine would be that of coastal South Carolina/Georgia, I think (Charleston to Savannah?)

    4 Replies
    1. re: Gary Soup

      Correct. And I've never seen anyplace in SF that has any. One dish is a Pileu (sp?) which is a rice and seafood dish (shrimp amny times), somewhat like jambalaya.

      1. re: Monty

        Is Shrimp and Grits a low-country version at Memphis Minnie's in the Lower Haight?

        1. re: Cynthia

          It is a low country dish that's popular in the South. It is also served at The General's Daughter in Sonoma. The Chef, Preston Dishman, is from North Carolina though, not South Carolina. There are a few other takes low country dishes here and there like hoppin john and buttermilk fried poussin.

          It's not in SF though and not specificlaly low country. I imagnine you could find some of those dishes on restaurants taht serve Southern food.

          Low Country cooking


          1. re: rworange

            it's probably a good guess that there's not much low country cuisine there.

            possible dishes in low country cuisine, shrimp n grits, coconut cake, okra gumbo, biscuits and gravy, oh, yeah, and real grits.

            maybe an sf creole/cajun restaurant might have some of those dishes like elite cafe or something like that.

            oh, and for what it's worth r.w. "johnny apple jr. (not to be confused with our rworange) wrote an article a couple months back concerning the low country cuisine of charleston, south carolina in the new york times.

    2. Why would someone visiting San Francisco be asking about Low Country cuisine? Why would you visit one region to eat food from another region? I don't mean to be rude -- I'm truly curious about the reason.

      I think it's great that there are still regional cuisines that you have to travel to experience. If every cuisine was available everywhere, places would lose their unique flavor.

      I had some very good meals in the Low Country (Charleston and Savannah) -- but you have to like shrimp a lot to truly appreciate that cuisine.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        For the same reason that I hit the Colombian restaurants in NYC -- because it has them and the Bay Area does not. In other words, when I go to NYC, I may have more than pastrami and pizza. It also happens to be a center for many ethnic groups not represented in other parts of the country. This visitor may be hoping that the Bay Area may offer a favorite cuisine not available where he or she lives (like Wink, Texas).

        1. re: nestorius

          What is Columbian food like? For the same reason when I went to NYC a lot years ago, I ate Cuban food at Victor's and La Carridad.

        2. re: Ruth Lafler

          Well, you know Ruth some people just like the familiar. I know when on the road, I can always ground myself by having a Chinese meal, even if it's at an awful Americanized restaurant in Tampa.

          Me, I agree with you. Thanks to the SW board, on my trip to Denver in two weeks I'll be eating game, American Indian and chicken fried steak with eggs.

          A Chinese co-worker went on a Chinatown-organized tour of France and when I asked him where they ate, he said that they mainly went to Chinese restaurants. C'est dommage, mais a chacun son gout!

          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            Peter Cherches

            Let's say, for argument's sake, someone used to live in Charleston and now lives in Boise. Said person is coming to the Bay Area, known as a restaurant mecca, and sees this as a possible opportunity. Why not ask? When I visit, should I avoid Pagolac because the cuisine is from another country? Should I avoid Albona because I'm not in Istria? Why would a foreign cuisine be food-politically correct but not an American regional cuisine?

            I would love to find a great low country place in New York. We had one for a short while, when Edna Lewis took over Gage & Tollner in Brooklyn in the 80s. My favorite restaurant in D.C. is low country: Georgia Brown.


            1. re: Peter Cherches

              I guess some people might think that way.

              I would think if I used to live in Charleston that I could make better Low Country food at home, and/or that I would be unhappy with the quality of any "Low Country" restaurant I'd find far out of the region (maybe not DC, which is pretty close). It might be good Low Country cuisine *for San Francisco* but it probably would pale in comparison with the "real thing."

              When I travel I want to eat the food of that region. San Francisco has a distinct regional cuisine, and that's what I'd want to focus on if I were a visitor. As a resident, I enjoy the opportunity to sample other cuisines for variety and without having to travel, but I don't expect them to live up to the expectations of someone who is an expert in that cuisine.

          2. Another low country staple is She Crab Soup. It has the same regional relevance as a good bowl of clam chowder does in New England. A good recipe will spice it up with just a dash of sherry before serving. So, so good. A nice bowl of hushpuppies is also very worthwhile!