My recent travel through the Deep South brought me to the charming Old South townÂ Charleston, the second biggest city of South Carolina. Â Charleston is just very pretty. Â Surrounded by the Atlantic ocean on three sides, it boasts of historic houses with stunning colonial architecture and century old mansions,Â separatedÂ by cobblestoneÂ road, beautiful churches and mature trees decorated by Spanish moss.
I felt like a character (Scarlett to be precise) from Gone with the Wind waiting for Rhett to pick me up in a horse carriage and drive me to my cotton plantation…
I spent my days there just walking around, enjoying the Southern charm and friendliness that Charleston has to offer. Â And the accent! Could there be anything more fun than a South Carolina accent?
Foodwise I go with Scarlett O’Hara and summarise Charleston with “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”
Southern food is gorgeous and in many ways more exotic to me than South East Asian or many European cuisines. Â I have not even heard of the existence of Lowcountry cookingÂ before my stay in the Southern US. Â Lowcountry cuisineÂ originates from the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia. Â It is rich in fish and seafood and has its roots in Southern US cooking refined by influences from Caribbean and African cuisines. Â Â Husk in Charleston winning the New Best Restaurant of the Year Award 2011 (read more about it here) has put this traditional and diverse cuisine back on the map and revived the interest in Southern ingredients and recipes.
I started my culinary exploration with breakfast at Poogan’s Porch, located in aÂ beautifully restoredÂ Victorian house, which has been serving upmarket Lowcountry cuisine since 1976.
The traditional dining room is perfect for breakfast – an open fire in one corner of the room, highÂ ceilingsÂ with large windows and beautiful wood panelling.
We went with some of the most traditional dish on the menu, which ended in being the mostÂ enormousÂ breakfast I was ever served. Â This is the kind of food you need before spending your day doing hard physical labour AND skip lunch. Â In our modern society this is just results in obesity, which is not surprisingly very prevalent in the Southern States.
Truly addictive were theÂ complementaryÂ buttermilk biscuits served with creamy honey butter (both Southern specialities). Â These fluffy rolls came fresh from the oven and still warm and smelling divine – I could happily eat these all day every day.
Apart from the overly generous portion which, in Europe, would sate a small family, Poogan’s Porch’s Shrimps and Grits were superb. Â Stone-groundÂ gritsÂ are a typical Southern breakfast stable of American Indian origin, resembling polenta. Â At Poogan’s Porch, the grits were topped with plumbÂ and tender shrimps in a rich and slightly sweet gravy of peppers and onions, topped with crÃ¨me fresh.
The fried tomatoes were good, although IÂ preferredÂ the ones I had one day later at Husk.
After we just about managed to finish about two-thirds of this breakfast between the two of us, the waitress honestly asked us if we wanted dessert. Â DESSERT!?!?! AFTER BREAKFAST ?!?!? Â We were stunned. Â No question about the American obesityÂ epidemicÂ any more…
Poogan’s Porch is a great choice for Southern breakfast, just don’t plan lunch!