The Origins of Calabash Seafood

September 11, 2008

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Signs advertising Calabash style seafood are ubiquitous along the Grand Strand. An area seafood joint without Calabash style food is about as popular as the media in LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens’ office.

But to find out where it got started, a trip to Calabash, a town that bills itself as the “Seafood Capital of the World,” is necessary. Calabash style seafood is believed to have been born in the 1930s when local families fried cornbread and fish along the Calabash River.

Eventually the shacks grew into restaurants like Coleman’s Original, Captain Nance’s and Dockside, local establishments that perfected lightly battering and frying seafood.


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“We focus on the seafood and cooking the way were taught from generation to generation,” said Donna Morgan, who has worked at Captain Nance’s for 25 years. “Each restaurant (along the marina) is family owned, and it’s passed down from generation to generation. The shrimp and flounder (are) the most popular.”

Calabash style food is popular everywhere along the Grand Strand, but it’s at its best at home.