10 Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Regional Food Specialties in the US

When it comes to American cuisine, most people are familiar with the classics: New York-style pizza, Chicago hot dogs, Philly cheesesteaks, and so on. However, the United States is a vast and diverse country, and each region has its own unique culinary traditions that often fly under the radar. In this article, we’ll explore ten lesser-known regional food specialties from across the US that deserve more recognition. Whether you’re a foodie looking for your next culinary adventure or just curious about American cuisine, this list is sure to have something for you.

1. Cincinnati Chili (Ohio)

Unlike traditional chili, Cincinnati chili is a Mediterranean-spiced meat sauce used as a topping for spaghetti or hot dogs. It’s typically served in a “way” system, with three-way chili including cheese, four-way adding onions, and five-way adding beans.

2. Hot Brown (Kentucky)

This open-faced turkey sandwich was first served at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s topped with bacon, tomato, and a creamy Mornay sauce, then broiled until the sauce begins to brown.

3. Green Chile Stew (New Mexico)

Green chile stew is a staple in New Mexican cuisine. It’s a hearty soup made with slow-cooked pork, potatoes, and of course, plenty of green chiles.

4. Scrapple (Mid-Atlantic)

Scrapple is a breakfast meat popular in the Mid-Atlantic states, particularly Pennsylvania. It’s made from pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and flour, then sliced and pan-fried.

5. Loco Moco (Hawaii)

Loco Moco is a comfort food classic in Hawaii. It consists of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy.

6. Pasties (Michigan)

Pasties are a type of meat pie brought to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by Cornish miners. They’re typically filled with beef, potatoes, onions, and rutabagas.

7. Hoppin’ John (South Carolina)

Hoppin’ John is a traditional dish in South Carolina made with black-eyed peas, rice, and pork. It’s often eaten on New Year’s Day for good luck.

8. Fry Bread Tacos (Southwest)

Fry bread tacos are a staple of Native American cuisine in the Southwest. They consist of fry bread topped with ground beef, beans, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.

9. Whoopie Pies (Maine)

Whoopie pies are a sweet treat from Maine. They consist of two soft cookies (usually chocolate) sandwiched around a fluffy white filling.

10. Chislic (South Dakota)

Chislic is a South Dakota specialty consisting of cubed red meat (usually beef or venison) that’s seasoned and deep-fried. It’s typically served with garlic salt and crackers.

These are just a few of the many diverse and delicious regional food specialties found across the United States. So next time you’re planning a trip, why not explore the local cuisine and try something new?