Myrtle Beach, SC - The Grand Strand - Vacation Travel Guide

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Myrtle Beach Area Features

Discover the Tastes of the Grand Strand

  By: Jacquelyn Eurice
Southern cuisine is famous throughout the world. It blends flavors from all the different cultures of people who came to live in the region over the centuries. Traditional recipes from one continent may infuse ingredients that are locally grown or sourced. Nowadays, chefs in Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand take beloved Southern food and make it their own. Restaurants offer modern themes to accommodate varying tastes and large groups of patrons. If you’re in the region, here are some things we recommend you should try.

Grits

Grits are synonymous with the South, but nowhere are they more beloved than South Carolina and Georgia. Made from a coarse cornmeal, grits are typically cooked in water until soft and creamy. (Charleston grits differ in that they are cooked in milk.) Usually, a lot of butter is added to them and sometimes cheese when served as a side dish or as a full entrée. Shrimp and grits is a Carolina classic that is enjoyed at either breakfast or dinner. The Boundary House in Calabash, NC (just a few miles from North Myrtle Beach) rightfully prides itself on its shrimp and grits entrée. After all, it is award-winning!

BBQ

In the competitive world of barbeque, states are constantly claiming to have the nation's best… Of course that's relative, but South Carolina does have an advantage—the sauces! Though mustard sauce is most commonly thought of as unique to the region, you'll easily be able to try other flavors at most establishments including tomato- and vinegar-based varieties. Pork is the meat that is used for true barbeque and it is typically smoked low and slow for a juicy, flavorful taste and the meat just falls off the bone!

Low Country Cookin'

Known regionally as Frogmore stew, a low country boil is a staple food of South Carolina and is rich in local flavors. Many will be relieved to hear that there is no frog in the stew. Instead, it is a medley of sausage, corn, potatoes and shrimp, cooked together in one pot with seafood seasoning. Pawley's Raw Bar has its own recipe that typically includes shrimp, mussels, clams, oysters, crab legs, and sausage. Chicken bog is a dish prepared with rice, sausage, chicken, vegetables and seasonings—similar to a jambalaya.

Seafood

Myrtle Beach is a seafood lover's paradise. Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, there are not only a lot of different types of fish, shellfish and crustaceans to enjoy, but there are also different ways to prepare and enjoy them. Raw, grilled, Calabash-style, etc. are all available and served to you on an individual plate or maybe even on a buffet line…

Seafood Buffets

Everywhere you look there are restaurants offering buffets of fried, steamed and raw seafood. Crab legs, fried fish, oysters on the half shell—it's all there. Of course you can also fill your plate with beef and chicken dishes, pasta or many different side dishes that will tempt your appetite and offer flavorful alternatives. Yes, it's food as far as the eye can see and that's what makes these restaurants so very popular—but it’s the seafood that gives you the biggest bang for your buck. In fact, the buffet restaurants are a large draw to the region, with hungry Grand Strand visitors often lining up for the chance to combine their favorite foods onto one plate (or two or three!) Use a coupon from your trusted Sunny Day Guide at the Giant Crab Seafood Restaurant, Preston’s Seafood & Country Buffet and others to get additional savings while enjoying a mouthwatering smorgasbord.

Calabash-Style Seafood

Located a short distance north of Myrtle Beach is the small town of Calabash, North Carolina. It's a relatively quiet place, but when it comes to seafood, Calabash makes a lot of noise. The town refers to itself as the "Seafood Capital of the World," and since residents claim to have created a famous style of tenderly fried fish, oysters, shrimp, calamari, etc., Calabash has a right to the title. What makes Calabash-style seafood so appealing is the incorporation of cornmeal into the flour coating to create a crispy, lightly browned crust. The delicate meat inside is flavorful and moist. If you’re in Calabash, visit Oyster Rock, a newer waterfront restaurant with gorgeous views and decadent dining. Using locally sourced ingredients in homemade recipes, the meals here are wonderful. Start with “Rock that Oyster” (their speciality) for an appetizer before trying the Calabash-style seafood platter. Oyster Rock also offers a wide variety of plated seafood delights including seared scallops, grilled fish, and soon they’ll even have custom-made fire pits for mini-pecks or half-bushels of the juicy shellfish. If you feel like staying in town, don't worry—Calabash seafood has become so popular that it is easily found in Myrtle Beach—try Original Benjamin's Calabash Seafood on Myrtle Beach’s Restaurant Row! Their buffet line allows diners to try many different Calabash-fried seafoods while staying in the exciting environment of the Grand Strand.

Fresh Off the Boat Seafood (with Great Views!)

Watch as the fishing boats come in on the Intracoastal Waterway at Coquina Harbour while indulging on a freshly prepared fish (or a juicy ribeye) at Clark's Seafood & Chop House. This fine-dining establishment serves flavorful surf-and-turf combinations that can placate any appetite. Pair your meal with one of their fine wines for the complete dining experience. At Filet's on the Water, start with a freshly made sushi roll or sip cocktails on the waterfront deck that overlooks Harbourgate Marina. On select evenings there is also live, outdoor entertainment and dancing. Plus, if you would like a fine dining ambiance, just venture into Filet's for exceptional cuisine and fine wines.

Carolina Shrimp

Shrimping is such a huge source of income in the coastal Carolina fishing industry that it deserves its own call-out! Every year, more than 4.5 million pounds of shrimp are caught in the local waters and end up on dinner plates throughout the United States. They are often seasoned and steamed, fried and broiled. The local chefs have many interesting recipes using shrimp including soups and bisques, dips, stuffed shrimp or fish topped with a shrimp stuffing. Visit Carolina Seafood & Steak to try a number of their delicious shrimp entrées. Enjoy!

Ice Cream!

Walk along the boardwalk or visit Barefoot Landing for a sinful and cool treat at a local ice cream shop. Sweet Molly's Creamery and Crafty Cow Handcrafted Ice Cream have just the thing to put a smile on your kids' faces. Each offers an array of locally made flavors and toppings for a decadent dessert.

Quick Bites

Sometimes, you just need to satisfy a craving or grab a quick bite—and many surveys report that pizza is America’s favorite food. Hungry Howie's Pizza can make that perfect pie with different toppings, just the way you like. Plus, you can choose from eight different ways to flavor your crust—or get it stuffed! Their menu also offers subs, wings, and salads to add to your order. Meanwhile, the tacos from Craft Taco are undeniably craveable and served quickly to families on-the-go. In the mornings, fresh bagels from the Bagel Factory will fill you up and send you on your way. And hot pancakes and other sit-down breakfast foods arrive quickly to your table at the Golden Griddle Pancake House.

Beach Snacks

Live music, late-night drinks and succulent seafood can be enjoyed at several area restaurants. One of the newest places to eat and have fun is at LuLu’s in North Myrtle Beach. Not only can you get great seafood appetizers, but your toes can remain in the sand. Guests of LuLu’s can arrive by car or boat to this family-friendly tropical party. The menu is extensive and it certainly has a flair for Caribbean cuisine. Bummz Beach Cafe is located in a retro-style beach house just steps off the beach. Walk in (even in your beach attire) to try some grouper fingers with an ice-cold tropical cocktail. Oceanfront Bar & Grill has been a boardwalk staple for over 60 years. Featuring a vast selection of seafood including their steam pot and shrimp and crab dip, this restaurant consistently manages to tempt tourists' appetites.

More options certainly abound in this town that serves up delicious food. Hopefully, this will help you to uncover some of the must-try items offered in Myrtle Beach. Between the beautiful views and delightful cuisine, you are likely to be ensured a vacation state-of-mind.
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