While the Grand Strand has some of the best beaches on the east coast and is jam-packed with fun activities and other things to do, the Myrtle Beach area is just as famous for its mouth-watering local cuisine – Calabash food. Calabash food is probably the main reason why everyone seems to pack on a few pounds during their trip to Myrtle Beach, and if you’ve ever had it before, you can probably imagine why. If you haven’t had it, though, you’re probably wondering “what is Calabash food?” This post is going to answer that question for you and will also provide a little insight into what makes Calabash food so famous.


What is Calabash food?

Calabash food is the extremely popular local style of seafood in the Myrtle Beach area. This regional style of cooking is named after the town of Calabash, North Carolina which is a bit under an hour north of Myrtle Beach. In the 1930s, locals started opening up small restaurants that served their local cooking, and as people passed through, the food spread like wildfire. Basically, Calabash style seafood is lightly breaded in cornmeal and then deep fried. It might not sound too special or unique, but the freshness of the local seafood mixed with the cooking style are honestly a magical combination. If you like seafood, it really is some of the best fried food you’ll ever have.

Hush Puppies in Myrtle Beach

What kinds of Calabash Food are there?

Calabash food can be pretty much any kind of seafood. The offerings range from shellfish like scallops and clams, to fresh fish like cod and flounder, to hush puppies! If you’ve never had hush puppies, you are probably wondering “what are hush puppies, anyway?” Good question. Honestly, they’re my favorite Calabash food item. Hush puppies are basically the batter that is used to bread the seafood, deep fried. There isn’t anything inside of them. They are kind of like corndogs, but without the hot dog and stick, and even more deeply fried. They’re just fried batter, and if you add a little bit of honey butter, they may be the best Calabash food that you’ll ever try.

Where can I get Calabash Food?

Calabash food is served all over and in all kinds of different settings, but the best way to eat it is in the giant Calabash buffets that are dotted throughout the area. These are great, because you can try as much of everything as you want. If you try out the Calabash scallops and love them, you can go grab a second plate. If you try the Calabash shrimp and realize they’re not your thing, you can go grab a plate of something else that you like a little bit more. Do you have people in your group who aren’t really fans of seafood? Most of the Calabash buffets are so huge that they have plenty of non-seafood items on offer, that way everyone has something to choose from. I should also mention that most of the buffets serve bottomless crab legs, so while the ticket price can be on the higher end, you can absolutely get your money’s worth!

Calabash Fried Shrimp in Myrtle Beach

Which are the best Calabash Buffets in Myrtle Beach?

This question doesn’t have an easy answer. Depending on who you talk to, you will almost always get a different answer. The big buffets are all different, serving different food and offering up a different ambiance. Some are a bit nicer while others are more casual. Some focus on the Calabash food specifically while others offer up a wider menu. They are just all different and the “best Calabash buffet in Myrtle Beach” is going to be different for everyone.

With that being said, there are three very popular ones right in Myrtle Beach that tend to hover around the top of the list. Firstly there is Crabby Mike’s, which is located in Surfside Beach right off of highway 17. Crabby Mike’s has a little bit for everyone, with great seafood options, a full-service bar, and a handful of non-seafood options. It is an awesome all-around place, and if you can get a table without an absurd wait time, you should check it out.

Then there is The Original Benjamin’s, which is a lighthouse shaped restaurant offering up an even wider selection of food than Crabby Mike’s but without the bar. At The Original Benjamins, you will find a great buffet area with seafood and non-seafood entrees and side dishes, a full salad bar, a carving station, and a very long buffet stocked specifically with Calabash-style fried seafood. If you’re looking for the buffet with the widest offering, this one may be the best option for you.

Finally, there is Captain Benjamin’s, not to be confused with The Original Benjamin’s. Captain Benjamin’s is just like the other two options on this list. They have a great food offering in the buffet, a standard menu that you can order off of if you’re not looking to eat your body weight in seafood, and a full bar so that you can complement your hush puppies with a little beer. No matter which Calabash buffet you choose – whether it is on this brief list or not – you’re going to be in for a treat. For more places to eat or other information for your Myrtle Beach trip, check out this post.

Crabby Mike's Best Food in Myrtle Beach

Hopefully this post answered any questions you had about Calabash style seafood. If you visit Myrtle Beach and fall in love, reach out to us for help. We at The Boyd Team are always here to help you figure out whether Myrtle Beach is your next home or not, and we are committed to helping you find the right property for your needs and dreams.

Any question that you have about moving to the area and finding your dream home by the beach is our pleasure to answer. Feel free to send us an email at eddie@boydteam.com or text or call us at (843) 222-8566, and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Being true natives of the Grand Strand and Horry County and with over 25 years of experience in the local real estate market, whether buying or selling, we can help you make your dreams a reality.  


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Post written by Greg