It is where West African, Central African, and Lowcountry culinary techniques and ingredients meet, emerging from the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the 16th century.
Gullah Geechee food is often rice and seafood-based and includes produce from West Africa, like okra, cowpeas, and black-eyed peas, grains like grits, and dishes like shrimp and grits, fried corn cakes, and okra and shrimp gumbo.
Diners can find most of these foods at Chef and owner Lorraine Smalls’ My Three Sons of Charleston. First-timers should try red rice (listed as ‘Gullah rice’ on her menu), a quintessential Gullah Geechee meal. Charleston is also home to several other Gullah Geechee restaurants, like Bertha’s Kitchen, Nigel’s Good Food Express, Florence’s Lowcountry Kitchen, and Hannibal’s Kitchen.
For folks looking to get a deeper dive into Gullah Geechee culture, Intrepid Travel offers an immersive six-day experience from Charleston to Savannah, highlighting the culture, history, and impact of the Gullah Geechee people, descendants of enslaved West and Central Africans. Travels are accompanied by a local leader who can learn about Gullah Geechee culture during explorations of James Island, Johns Island, and St. Helena Island and learn about Georgia’s Gullah Geechee heritage on a guided tour of Savannah.