What is Myrtle Beach famous food?

Myrtle Beach is a popular vacation destination located along the coast of South Carolina. Known for its beautiful beaches, lively boardwalk, and array of attractions, Myrtle Beach also boasts a vibrant food scene. From seafood shacks to Southern comfort food, Myrtle Beach’s famous eats reflect the city’s coastal location and Southern roots. Keep reading to learn more about the iconic dishes that Myrtle Beach is known for.


Given its prime spot along the Atlantic coastline, it’s no surprise that seafood reigns supreme in Myrtle Beach. In fact, some of the city’s most famous foods are fish, shrimp and other ocean delicacies freshly plucked from nearby waters.

Fried Fish

Beachgoers know that no seaside vacation is complete without savoring a basket of crispy fried fish. Myrtle Beach’s version features flaky white fish like haddock or Atlantic cod, dipped in a light tempura-style batter before hitting the deep fryer. The fish comes out with a perfectly crunchy exterior that crackles as you bite into the moist, tender flesh inside. Fried fish is served everywhere from seaside seafood shacks to upscale restaurants in Myrtle Beach. It’s often paired with hushpuppies, coleslaw, and a cold beer.

Fried Shrimp

As another staple of coastal Southern cuisine, fried shrimp also tops the list of Myrtle Beach’s iconic foods. Jumbo shrimp are lightly battered and fried until golden and crisp. Part of the appeal lies in the fun ritual of peeling and eating the shrimp with your fingers, ideally while sitting oceanside. Like the fried fish, fried shrimp is ubiquitous in Myrtle Beach, appearing on menus at everything from casual beachfront eateries to white tablecloth restaurants. Don’t forget the cocktail sauce for dipping!

She Crab Soup

For a taste of Myrtle Beach’s regional lowcountry cuisine, order a steaming bowl of she crab soup. This creamy bisque is thickened with a rich roux and chock-full of crab meat, making it a local specialty. It’s seasoned with sherry and a special blend of spices. The “she” in she crab soup refers to female crabs, which are valued for their tasty orange roe (eggs). She crab soup is a hearty appetizer you’ll find at many Myrtle Beach restaurants.

Lowcountry Boil

Similar to other coastal Southern cities, Myrtle Beach is known for its lowcountry boils. This shellfish feast features shrimp, crab, mussels, clams, corn, potatoes, and smoked sausage boiled together in a flavorful broth. Dumping everything onto a table covered in newspaper is traditional. Roll up your sleeves and dig in, peeling the shellfish as you go. Lowcountry boils are a fun, hands-on way to enjoy Myrtle Beach’s bounty of fresh seafood. The communal meal brings people together over food and fun.

Southern Favorites

Beyond the beachside seafood, Myrtle Beach also embraces classic Southern comfort cuisine. From ribs to fried chicken, the city serves up some of the best in stick-to-your-ribs fare.

Pulled Pork BBQ

Mouthwatering pulled pork barbecue is a star player in Myrtle Beach. Smokey, tender pork shoulder is rubbed with a blend of spices, slowly smoked, and shredded by hand into delicate morsels. The indulgent pork barbecue is almost always served on a soft bun and topped with a tangy Carolina-style barbecue sauce. Sides like baked beans and coleslaw complete the quintessential Southern BBQ experience.

Fried Chicken

You can’t visit Myrtle Beach without sinking your teeth into some crispy, juicy fried chicken. From hole-in-the-wall joints to upscale eateries, the city offers no shortage of places to sample this Southern staple. Skilled cooks use secret spices and tried-and-true methods to produce some of the best fried chicken around. The chicken emerges from the fryer with an irresistibly crunchy exterior and moist, flavorful meat. Fried chicken is the perfect summer supper, ideally enjoyed outdoors on a warm evening.

Shrimp and Grits

For a taste of South Carolina’s coastal cuisine, order shrimp and grits in Myrtle Beach. The comforting combination brings together plump shrimp, creamy grits (a type of ground corn porridge), and rich gravy. Each restaurant prepares their version a little differently, but expect a hearty serving of grits topped with sautéed shrimp, onions, garlic, bacon, and gravy. The dish provides a savory, satiating start to a day at the beach.

Classic Beach Treats

A beach vacation needs some sweet treats too! When temperatures rise, Myrtle Beach visitors cool off with chilled desserts and snacks sold at stands along the boardwalk.

Shaved Ice

Also known as snow cones, shaved ice provides the perfect sweet relief from a hot summer day. Vendors shave mounds of ice before topping the flaky snow with your choice of sweet syrup. Classic flavors like cherry, blue raspberry, and lime are refreshing crowd-pleasers. But you can also opt for tropical flavors like banana, piña colada, or mango. The best part lies in savoring the ice cold sensation as the syrup-soaked snow melts in your mouth.

Saltwater Taffy

Stroll down Myrtle Beach’s boardwalk and you’ll spot taffy shops with huge tubs filled with row after row of colorful taffy. Saltwater taffy is a beach vacation staple – the candy’s origins trace back to the late 19th century along the Atlantic City, New Jersey boardwalk. Machine spun and stretched into a chewy, fruity treat, it comes in a wide array of flavors and colors. Part of the fun for kids lies in picking out different flavors to create a customized mix. Saltwater taffy shops are part of Myrtle Beach’s classic beachfront experience.

Funnel Cake

A trip to the Myrtle Beach boardwalk isn’t complete without digging into a hot, crispy funnel cake. These carnival-inspired pastries begin as a simple batter poured into hot oil and skillfully swirled into a thin, crisscrossed shape. Out comes a dense, chewy confection that pairs perfectly with a dusting of powdered sugar or drizzle of chocolate syrup. Funnel cakes are best enjoyed right on the boardwalk, providing a sugary boost of energy for more rides and games. Their sweet scent alone is enough to lure in hungry passersby.

Local Specialties

Beyond the classics, Myrtle Beach has a few unique dishes that reflect the region’s culture and Cajun influences. Track down these specialties to taste the city’s distinctive lowcountry flare.

Gullah Cuisine

The Gullah people are descendants of enslaved Central and West Africans who lived and worked on the rice plantations of coastal South Carolina and Georgia. Their cuisine remains influential in the Myrtle Beach area. Dishes like Hoppin’ John (black eyed peas and rice), okra soup, and benne wafers showcase the culinary legacy of Gullah culture. Several restaurants in Myrtle Beach creatively adapt Gullah recipes using local seafood and produce.

Frogmore Stew

Also known as a lowcountry boil, Frogmore stew originated in the town of Frogmore, South Carolina. It brings together mild sausage, corn on the cob, potatoes, shrimp, and crab boiled in a salty, spicy broth. Some versions contain whatever local seafood is freshest. The stew’s medley of flavors represents the region’s coastal ingredients. Look for Frogmore stew on Myrtle Beach menus, particularly at laid-back seafood shacks.

Carolina Gold Rice

Carolina Gold is a heritage rice varietal that originated in the Carolinas during the 1700s. Once a major export crop, Carolina Gold nearly died out until experiencing a revival in the late 20th century. Now many Myrtle Beach chefs seek out this heirloom grain for its distinct earthy flavor and hint of buttery sweetness. The versatile rice works well in everything from hoppin’ John to risotto. Supporting Carolina Gold helps preserve an important piece of local cuisine and history.

Where to Find Myrtle Beach’s Famous Foods

Myrtle Beach’s vibrant dining scene offers plenty of places to try the city’s most iconic cuisine. Here are some of the best restaurants to sample famous local dishes:


* The Wreck of the Richard & Charlene – no-frills seafood shack serving super fresh fried baskets

* Sea Captain’s House – upscale seafood restaurant with delicious she crab soup

* River City Cafe – refined spot for lowcountry boil and local catches

Southern Favorites

* Carolina Roadhouse – casual BBQ joint with melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork

* Magnolia’s – scratch-made fried chicken and down-home sides

* Victoria’s Restaurant – elevated take on shrimp and grits

Beach Treats

* Sweet Home Carolina Shaved Ice – over 70 flavors of snowy shaved ice

* Old Fashioned Saltwater Taffy – huge selection of fruity, chewy taffy

* Sugar & Spice Boardwalk Treats – classic funnel cakes fried fresh to order

Local Specialties

* Bistro 217 – upscale locale dishing out creative Gullah-inspired cuisine

* Drunken Jack’s – live music and Frogmore stew in the heart of Murrells Inlet

* Collective Soul Restaurant – farm-to-table eatery that sources Carolina Gold rice

Food & Culture Tours

Beyond just eating, consider taking a tour to unlock the stories and history behind Myrtle Beach’s famous foods. Options include:

Gullah Heritage Tour

This half-day tour includes a Lowcountry cooking class exploring Gullah cuisine, followed by a meal at a traditional Gullah restaurant. Learn how the Gullah community and West African influences shaped Southern lowcountry cooking.

Foods of the Grand Strand Tour

Sample several spots for hyper-local specialties on this guided culinary walking tour of Myrtle Beach. You’ll learn about the city’s food culture while tasting everything from barbecue to boiled peanuts.

Farm to Table Experience

Tour and lunch at a historic local farm specializing in heirloom Southern crops like Carolina Gold rice and Sea Island red peas. Gain insight into how Myrtle Beach’s cuisine is intimately connected to South Carolina’s agricultural roots.

Iconic Dishes from Other Coastal Southern Destinations

While each city has its own specialties, several iconic Southern coastal dishes span the region. Here are some other foods you may enjoy on a trip through the lowcountry:

Beaufort, SC

– Lowcountry boil
– Shrimp burgers
– Pecan pie

Savannah, GA

– Chicken and waffles
– Shrimp and grits
– Peach cobbler

Charleston, SC

– She crab soup
– Benne wafers
– Huguenot torte

Wilmington, NC

– Calabash seafood
– Brunswick stew
– Sweet potato pie

Jacksonville, FL

– Fresh local seafood
– Cuban sandwiches
– Key lime pie


From just-off-the-boat seafood to Southern comfort classics, Myrtle Beach’s food scene reflects its seaside setting and regional lowcountry cuisine. Fried fish, she crab soup, shrimp and grits, and pulled pork barbecue rank among the city’s most iconic foods. Sweet treats like shaved ice and saltwater taffy provide nostalgic boardwalk snacking. And local specialties like Frogmore stew showcase the area’s distinctive flavors. Visiting Myrtle Beach isn’t complete without sampling its famous fare. So come hungry, and prepare your taste buds for the culinary adventure of a lifetime along South Carolina’s sunny shores.

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