United States: land of the free, home of the most exquisite culinary delights in the world. For all of you foodie travelers looking for your next grand adventure filled with rich flavors and aromas, this is the place you want to be.
From the classic American hamburger through the sizzling southern grills of Texas all the way to the street chow up in Boston, there is no shortage of diversity and excitement on the American plate. So, let’s take a look at the most iconic foods in the US you need to try at least once before you kick the proverbial bucket.
The adventure begins with the hamburger
Ah, the Hamburger. Kind of like every German plays Bach’s compositions differently, so does every American have a different view of how the perfect hamburger is made. And no, McDonald’s does not have the right answer.
From the in-n-out burger joints dotting the West Coast, each with a unique recipe up its sleeve, to the fine dining options in downtown New York, the best hamburger in the country is wherever you want it to be. The key here is to stay away from mainstream brands and opt for those little artisan eateries with wholesome American values and traditional recipes. Your best bet: the century-old joint called Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut.
Deep-dish pizza, anyone?
Chicago is known for three things: 1920’s mobs, insufferable winter weather, and deep-dish pizza. Now, every New Yorker will tell you that Chicago pizza is nothing compared to Brooklyn pizza, but no one can deny that deep-dish pizza is something truly special you shouldn’t miss.
Besides, every region is proud of its own cultural heritage, so you might even end up crowning the Chicago-style pizza as the best pizza in the world, because if you like the crust, then you’re going to love the insane amounts of cheese and tomato sauce it holds. That said, nothing can truly tease and bewilder your palate like a southern-style barbeque.
Falling in love with Texan BBQ
Throw the meat on the barbecue over the weekend? Not in Texas, friend. Here, you live and die by the grill. While there is a unique BBQ recipe to every region in the US the local people swear by, Texas is where the true grilling heritage comes from, and Austin is the place where you will find the perfect bite of spicy barbeque beef.
Combining a plate of BBQ beef ribs with a tall glass of ice-cold beer is something of a religious experience, but the local barbeque restaurants have all the meats you could hope for to spice up your selection, including pork links and pulled pork, which are also to die for. With all this red meat on your plate, the last thing you think of adding to the dish are collard greens, but just give it a shot – it makes for an amazing combination that will only enrich the flavor.
Clam chowder – looks can be deceiving
Okay, this is a dish you might not want to look at while tasting, but you definitely won’t regret trying it. In fact, you might just end up falling in love with this lumpy, white-ish bowl of soup served on every corner of Boston. In fact, visiting Boston and not trying the famous New England clam chowder is a downright insult to the local way of life and its inherent inability to make food that looks good.
Don’t worry, the dish is actually delicious, to say the least, so just let the distinct aroma of quahog shellfish fused with salted pork, soft potatoes, herbs, and heavy cream wash over you as you dip your spoon into the unsightly mix. Whoever came up with the recipe is a genius you never knew you’d be praising.
Complete the adventure with a Thanksgiving turkey
If you can time your visit to the US around Thanksgiving, do it. Better yet, if you have family there you can spend the holiday with, do not skip the opportunity to try a bit of everything from the Thanksgiving dinner table. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll get nowhere else in the world, and it’s definitely something you shouldn’t miss.
Aim for the turkey legs first, and make sure you fill up on cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and don’t forget to top it all off with walnut-crusted pumpkin pie. Yum. Now go ahead and buy a gym membership because you will be burning off the extra calories for quite some time.
The US is known around the world as the foodie central every traveler needs to visit and experience at least once in their lifetime. While there are literally hundreds of unique dishes you can try in the Land of the Free, these five culinary delights are the essential foods that should hold top priority on your American bucket list.