Maryland's Eastern Shore food is wonderful for so many reasons. The classic foods from this region are definitely ones you have to try. Located between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, an abundance of seafood is unique to this area. Some many inlets and rivers are home to breeding and nurseries to many species like rockfish and Maryland blue crab. The Eastern Shore of Maryland also has an abundance of agriculture, yet the main crops (corn and soybeans) are used for animal feed. Many local farms are growing wonderful organic food. Check out some of our favorite Eastern Shore food you need to eat on your next visit.
5 Eastern Shore Food To Eat On Your Next Visit
1. Maryland Blue Crab
The majority of foods on the must-have list are crab related. In Maryland, the blue crab is the most valuable fishery in the state. The brackish waters of the Chesapeake and the rivers that feed into the Bay are ideal growing grounds for the crab. The crabs are harvested for both hard and soft shell eating. Some watermen fish for soft shells using their peeler racks on the side of the water to provide soft shell crabs to the market. Both are highly desirable.
Maryland blue crabs with hard shells are best steamed with Old Bay or J.O. Seasoning. Serve them with corn on the cob, coleslaw and cornbread. If you prefer the soft shell crab, we enjoy them double egg dipped in panko and also lightly seasoned with Old Bay or J.O. These are delicious on a brioche bun with some pickled vegetable slaw.
2. Smith Island Cake
There is no other state cake I have ever known before I moved to Maryland. The Smith Island Cake is simply amazing. This delicious cake is from Smith Island in Somerset County, Maryland (same county as Sugar Water Manor). It is only accessible by boat. The cake traditionally includes 8-10 thin layers of individually baked yellow cakes with chocolate, fudge-like frosting between each layer. There are so many varieties of this cake, with more coming out each year. I traveled to Smith Island with friends and my daughter to learn how to make Smith Island Cake from the master herself, Mary Ada. Want to make it yourself? Use the original Smith Island Cake recipe!
3. Oysters and Clams
Oysters and clams are harvested from natural areas on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Unlike the Maryland blue crabs, oysters and clams are grown and harvested in saltier water. They are located just south of our river in the Tangier Sound to the Chesapeake Bay, in the waters around Chincoteague and Assateague and in the Atlantic Ocean inlets and beaches where you can clam. They are both just delicious. The oysters we like most are those from the small aquaculture farms in areas like Girdletree, where the oysters are much like the Kumoto of the West Coast. They are mellow, just a tad salty and a hint of cucumber. We eat them with nothing added to them.
4. Maryland Crab Cakes
The Maryland crab cake is a treat everyone has to have when visiting. They are simple and delicious. Some people bake them, and others fry them. I make a simple crab cake and enjoy it on a bun with some lettuce, onion and tomatoes. I mix the Maryland blue crab meat with eggs, a touch of Old Bay or J.O., a little flour and either panko or crushed saltines. Everyone has their own special recipe they know is the best, and soon we will share ours.
5. Maryland Eastern Shore Snacks
Looking for local snacks? Pick up a bag of Fischer’s Old Bay Carmel Popcorn that is so delicious. We always have it in our shop and in our home. Once you start eating them, you cannot stop.
Another devious snack is the Utz Crab Chips- Utz is a local Baltimore company, and with the addition of the crab seasoning, they are perfect. You can buy both in our shop and have them shipped, or they are both also available for shop pick up.
More Eastern Shore Food You Should Try
Do not forget to try these other local favorites too. (And look for recipes for them right here soon!)
Maryland crab soup
Wet Corn Bread
Enjoy all the Eastern Shore food you can get when you are visiting the area. You'll be glad you did!