As a Maryland native, I've been fortunate to have ready access to fresh, local seafood. Crabs are king here in Maryland, but there are other important foods that you'll find on menus all over the state. Whether you're visiting Ocean City, Baltimore, or a small town somewhere in between, here is a list of Maryland foods and drinks you have to try.
I was utterly disgusted when I found out the ingredients that make this irresistible Maryland treat, but after years of eating them at restaurants, I couldn't miss the chance to make them at home when I found myself with a handful of fresh crab meat from a generous neighbor. As a person who avoids mustard, mayo, and hot sauce (and all condiments for that matter) like the plague, I couldn't believe they were the three primary ingredients in my favorite summertime sandwich. They are surprisingly quick and easy to make at home once you have the crab meat out of the shell, but there are so many amazing places to get crab cakes in Maryland.
Maryland Crab Soup
Nothing soothes the soul like a slightly spicy bowl of hot Maryland Crab Soup. This tomato and beef-based recipe is chock full of healthy veggies, with lima beans as the star of the show. With a splash of Worcester and plenty of juicy crab meat, Maryland crab soup is bursting with flavor and texture, and it is best enjoyed with a side of saltine crackers.
Maryland Sushi Roll
Almost every sushi restaurant in my local area offers its own version of the Maryland Roll. If you order this signature sushi, you can expect a delightful combination of tempura shrimp, crab meat, and fresh tuna. I like to get it from Lin's Asian Cuisine in Pocomoke, but Sue's Asian Cuisine in Berlin offers the exact same recipe.
Smith Island Cake
When it comes to dessert in Maryland, there's one option that beats out cookies, cupcakes, and ice cream every time. This delicious dessert has been around since the 1800s, and more people fall in love with this nine-layer cake each year. As the official dessert of Maryland, Smith Island cake is commonly seen at weddings, birthday parties, and special events, and the flavor options are almost endless. Coconut, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Banana Cream, and Red Velvet are among the most loved flavors.
Raw Oysters and Steamed Clams
Raw oysters and steamed clams are available at almost any Maryland restaurant that serves seafood, but it's so much more fun and affordable to catch them by hand and prepare them at home. Oystering and clamming are allowed in many locations across Maryland, and best of all, you don't need a license to harvest them. Clams can be caught all year, and oystering is permitted from October 1st to March 31st. If fishing isn't your thing, you can look for eateries offering oysters on the half-shell or steamed clam specials. Oysters typically come in plates of six with a side of a lemon wedge and cocktail sauce. Clams are sold by the dozen and dipped in melted butter.
Steamed Blue Crabs Paired with Natty Boh
Crabbing is just as fun as clamming and oystering, but going to a crab house in Maryland is a must-try experience. There's something about sitting down in front of a pile of steamed crabs that makes you feel like royalty. If you want the full authentic Maryland experience, pair your crab feat with Natty Boh, Baltimore's signature beer.
Crab Chips Paired with an Orange Crush Cocktail
Last but not least, you have to try my personal favorite, The Crab Chip (as sold by UTZ) or Old bay Chips (sold by Herr's). I prefer them paired with black coffee, but a normal person like you probably won't go for that. Try them with an Orange Crush, one of the signature cocktails originating in Ocean City from Harborside Bar. It doesn't get any more Maryland than that.