Hey Good-Lookin’, What’s Cookin: The Food Each State is Known For

By Amanda Postma - Aug. 7, 2020

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When you think about common foods in each state, there are some definite (delicious) no-brainers. From Vermont and maple syrup to California and avocado toast. You can probably come up with a few more treats on your own.

These foods come in really handy when it comes to traveling there. I mean, how are you going to stop in Wisconsin and not try the fried cheese curds?

The answer is you’re definitely going to try the cheese curds because everyone wants to be a Cheesehead. But the point is that everyone should have access to each state’s best food just in case they ever visit.

Plus, is there any other reason to travel? If you’re anything like me, you schedule your vacation around food. If that describes you, then it’s super important you take notes on these delicious faves. I rigorously searched for the most quintessential food in each state so that you have something to look forward to in each state. Check out a few of my favorites.

Mouth-Watering Foods You Have to Try

  • Idaho – French Fries: I mean, duh. Haven’t you ever heard of Idaho Potatoes? It’s like the only thing they have there.
  • Illinois – Deep-Dish Pizza: For Illinois, it was between the deep-dish and the Chicago hot dog. Both are unique to the area, but the deep-dish is probably more well-known/eaten. Plus, the deep-dish has its own deep-rooted rivalry with New York-style pizza.
  • Kentucky – Hot Brown: Before you get any ideas (or decide to just not try it based on the name alone), this dish isn’t what it sounds like. It’s an open-faced turkey sandwich covered in Mornay sauce complete with tomato halves and crisp bacon slices. Some describe it as savory, creamy, and (you guessed it) hot. But pretty much everyone can conclude that this sandwich is the state’s best dish. Just give it a chance. Once you see beyond the name, you may end up falling in love.
  • Louisiana – Gumbo: Of course, if you’re wanting some spicy food that’s as delicious as it is hot, Louisiana is the place to go. The state is widely known for its gumbo, which has a little bit of everything mixed in there. But if the spice gets to be too much, you just have to try the state’s beignets. The sweet treat is definitely a close runner-up. Finish it off with a cup of coffee and we promise you’ll want to live on gumbo and beignets.
  • Maine – Lobster Roll: This one’s kind of obvious. Maine is well-known for its lobster, as it’s deliciously fresh there. Take that and place it atop a local buttery bun with a bit of mayo and your taste buds will be thanking you.
  • Maryland – Crab: Another delicious seafood is Maryland’s crab. Served a number of different ways, you’re sure to be a crab fan after a visit.
  • Michigan – Pasty: Seriously, get your mind out of the gutter. A pasty is essentially a meat hand pie that is celebrated in Michigan each year with its own festival. Yeah, it’s that good. The meat pocket is stuffed with beef, onion, potato, and rutabagas. We’re already drooling.
  • Missouri – Toasted Ravioli: Otherwise known as toasted ravs, the crispy, breaded, and fried ravioli is definitely a must-try. Other runner-ups include Imo’s pizza (pizza boxes are square, why not pizzas, too?) and gooey butter cake.
  • Nevada – Shrimp Cocktail: If you think about it, this makes sense. The best part of any casino restaurant is for sure the shrimp cocktail.
  • New York – Bagel: The New York bagel is definitely a classic. The runner-up is a New York slice (of pizza), which is pretty popular and in constant competition with Chicago-style. We’ve decided that while you’re visiting New York, you might as well try both.
  • North Dakota – Bison Burger: You may argue that North Dakota’s staple food is Lefse or Cheese Buttons, but we know where the buffalo roam. And that’s exactly where we’re getting our burger.

Your Tastebuds Can Thank Us Later

We’re sure you’re already drooling and starting to plan your next trip to visit Louisiana or New York. Before you get too far into your planning, be sure to check out the full list of that states below so you can really plan your food-inspired trip fully informed.

State Well-Known Food
Alabama Shrimp and Grits
Alaska King Crab
Arizona Chimichangas
Arkansas Fried Pickles
California Avocado Toast
Colorado Rocky Mountain Oysters
Connecticut New Haven-style Clam Pizza
Delaware Scrapple
Florida Cuban Sandwich
Georgia Chicken Biscuit
Hawaii Poke
Idaho French Fries
Illinois Deep-dish Pizza
Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
Iowa Sweet Corn
Kansas BBQ Ribs
Kentucky Hot Brown
Louisiana Gumbo
Maine Lobster Roll
Maryland Crab
Massachusetts Clam Chowder
Michigan Pasty
Minnesota Tator Tot Hotdish
Mississippi Fried Catfish
Missouri Toasted Ravioli
Montana Huckleberry Cobbler
Nebraska Runza
Nevada Shrimp Cocktail
New Hampshire Poutine
New Jersey Pork Roll
New Mexico Christmas-Style Chicken Enchiladas
New York Bagel
North Carolina Pulled Pork
North Dakota Bison Burger
Ohio Cincinnati Chili
Oklahoma Fried Okra
Oregon Marionberry Pie
Pennsylvania Philly Cheesesteaks
Rhode Island Coffee Milk
South Carolina She Crab Soup
South Dakota Chislic
Tennessee Hot Chicken
Texas Brisket
Utah Funeral Potatoes
Vermont Maple Syrup
Virginia Virginia Salty Ham
Washington Cedar-Planked Salmon
West Virginia Pepperoni Roll
Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds
Wyoming Fry Bread

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Author

Amanda Postma

Amanda Postma is a writer for the Zippia Career Advice blog with a focus on creating entertaining content to help you through your job search. She received her BA from the University Of Missouri-Columbia.

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