10 Must-Try American Foods Guaranteed To Make You Hungry

By Johnny Ward,

The U.S. is a country with remarkable cultural variety among its 50 states. There are so many great local food specialties in the U.S. that you’d have to eat your way around the country for a year to try them all! But who says you can’t give it a try? If you’re a foodie and have the ability to travel a bit, America is the perfect place to satisfy all of your cravings.

The Bagel

NEW YORK CITY

Boiled, Baked and Smothered in cream cheese

The best bagels in the world

New York Bagel stack. Photo by Woodleywonderworks CC BY

The bagel is a food loved worldwide, and New York serves up some of the best in the country. It’s a regional specialty whether plain and smeared with cream cheese, or loaded up with herbed cream cheese, lox, capers and tomatoes in a sandwich. The bagels are crisp and chewy at the same time, and you’ll see locals walking around with a bagel in hand at lunchtime everywhere. Once you try a New York bagel, you’ll find it hard to eat one anywhere else!

Where to get it – The Bagel Hole, New York City

The Clam Chowder

NEW ENGLAND

Bread Bowl filled with rich chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Clam chowder, albeit without the bread bowl. Photo by Pointnshoot CC BY

They don’t call it New England Clam Chowder for nothing! When you’re in this region of the U.S., you must give this thick and creamy chowder a try in its birthplace. It’s a budget eat that will fill your belly and soul with its rich flavor, but don’t forget to try it in a bread bowl for the ultimate experience.

Where to get it – B & G Oysters, Boston

The Grilled Cheese

WISCONSIN 

Do you have a certificate in the art of the grilled cheese?

Wisconsin grilled cheese sandwich

Ooey gooey grilled cheese. Photo by Chris Stanley CC BY

Everybody knows that grilled cheese is a comfort food favorite, but did you know that Wisconsin serves up what is arguably the best in the country? Not only that, but they have a Grilled Cheese Academy created for serving up the best of the best. There aren’t many other places in the country with that kind of dedication to the sandwich.

Where to get itMelthouse Bistro, Milwaukee

The Gumbo

LOUISIANA 

A little bit of this, that, and lots of spices

Louisiana Gumbo

Gumbo served up fresh. Photo by Shreveport-Bossier CC BY

The south is home to some of the most belly-warming, stick-to-your-ribs specialties in the country and gumbo is no exception. This thick and comforting stew is filled with shellfish, onions, peppers, celery, smoked pork and other great flavors that create an insane combination perfect served with warm chewy bread.

Where to get itGalatoire’s, New Orleans

The Cheesesteak

 PHILADELPHIA

The only thing you ever want oozing

Philadelphia cheesesteak

A charming cheesesteak. Photo by Kimberly Vardeman CC BY

The cheesesteak is another food whose full name includes its birthplace, and you’ll see why when you come to Philly for a bite of this ridiculously delicious sandwich. Grab a baguette filled with thinly cut flavorful steak, oozing cheese and grilled onions and we can guarantee you’ll be back for more.

Where to get itTony Luke’s Cheesesteaks, Philadelphia

The BBQ Ribs

ST. LOUIS 

Sweet, spicy & tangy

BBQ Ribs

Even a plateful will leave you wanting more. Photo by Jeffreyw CC BY

The South isn’t the only destination for great comfort foods; the Mid-West has its own fair share, especially in Missouri. Barbecued ribs are a staple of the local cuisine in St. Louis so you’ve got to try them when you’re in the city. The spare ribs here are so tender that the meat nearly falls off the bone, and they come loaded with sweet, spicy and tangy sauce that you’ll want to lick off your fingers.

Where to get itBogart’s Smokehouse, St. Louis

The Fish Tacos

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 

 Crispy, tangy & fishy

SoCal Fish tacos

Classic SoCal fish tacos. Photo by Jeffreyw CC BY

This unique Baja-style dish is highly popular throughout the West Coast, but you’ll find the best of the best in So Cal. A warm and crispy taco shell is filled with light and flaky halibut, cabbage, tomato salsa and a fresh tangy white sauce to finish it all off. It’s the perfect light meal with a great combination of flavors that just work together.

Where to get itBlue Water Seafood Market & Grill, San Diego

The Cuban Sandwich

MIAMI

Meet the grilled sandwich of your dreams

Food Cubano

The grilled Cuban sandwich is sure to delight. Photo by Jeffreyw CC BY

You may not have heard of this local specialty outside of Miami, but it’s a sandwich not to be missed. It’s like a fancy version of that fantastic grilled cheese you can find in Wisconsin, but with a regional twist. Here they press juicy roasted pork, salty ham, melty Swiss cheese, tangy pickles and yellow mustard in between two slices of bread and grill it to perfection, creating a sandwich you’ll dream about afterwards.

Where to get itEnriqueta’s Sandwich Shop, Miami

The Deep Dish Pizza

CHICAGO

Eat your body weight in delicious pizza

Deep Dish Pizza

Does it get any better than deep dish pizza? Photo by Agude CC BY

There are so many types of pizza, from thin-crust to stuffed crust, New York style and Italian margherita. But nothing comes close to the intensity of the deep-dish Chicago-style pizza, a must-try when you’re in the city. Sitting down to a deep-dish pizza means you’re ready to eat your body weight in delicious buttery crust, juicy tomato sauce, melted cheese and an abundance of flavorful fillings. This is definitely a fork-and-knife pizza that will fill you for several meals!

Where to get itLou Malnati’s, Chicago

The Mission-Style Burrito

SAN FRANCISCO 

An immense meal rolled into a tortilla

San Francisco Burrito

A whole meal wrapped up and bursting with flavor. Photo by T.Tseng CC BY

California is known for its Mexican-influenced specialties, and the mission-style burrito is a classic example of a local favorite in San Francisco. What sets the mission-style apart from the normal burrito is the immense tortilla which wraps around the beans, rice, meat, veggies, guac, cheese and sour cream, all encased in a foil wrapping which you can unfold with glee as you venture into this magnificent meal.

Where to get itLa Taqueria, San Francisco

The Hushpuppies

SOUTHERN STATES

Deeply fried cornbread delights 

HUshpuppies southern food

A side of hushpuppies with every order please. Photo by Eugene Kim CC BY

Whether deep-fried or baked, hushpuppies are a classic Southern side. These delightful little cornbread balls date back to Southern Native American culture but have become a staple in dinning rooms across the modern USA. Eat them with a sticky serving of some classic southern BBQ!

Where to get it: Ole Time Barbecue, Raleigh, North Carolina

What other American classics would you add to this list?