United States of Foods, 50 State’s local favorites

Eduardo Velasquez, Designer

Everyone has to eat something to gain nutrients and stay healthy. Different kinds of food today can be considered local favorites as every dish is unique in its own way. The United States has a total of 50 states, all with unique dishes that can be considered state official or named the most iconic food of the state, this article is a list of those foods.


Smoked chicken with white sauce is something to die for in Alabama. Chicken is smoked for hours until it’s ready to be covered in a tangy white sauce that is absolutely mouthwatering. Alabama white sauce is a barbecue sauce made of mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, and horseradish, along with a smattering of other flavor-building ingredients.


Alaska is famous for its salmon and, according to business reviewer Insider, harvests more than 100 million salmon every year. It can be cooked with a variety of flavors which can be grilled or smoked and paired with almost anything. Another popular dish is a dessert called Eskimo ice cream which is prepared differently from any other ice cream as it uses animal fat, oil, and berries. 


For Arizona, the Sonoran hot dog, originally from Mexico, is infamous in multiple parts of the state. The Sonoran hot dog is a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with onions, tomatoes, beans, mustard, and jalapeño salsa.  


Arkansas is known for its variety of cheese dips and holds competitions every year for the best one. Many people compete with their own recipes and test which one is best for tortilla chips. Cheese dip originated in a Mexican chain restaurant known as Mexico Chiquito, which first opened in 1935 in Arkansas, Little Rock.


A simple dish that’s famous in Cali is avocado toast. California produces the most avocados, according to Food insider, “90% of the avocados produced in the United States come from California.” Avocados can be made into more than just guacamole or toast, they can be made into burgers, fries, drinks, chips, chocolate, and even beer with avocados as the main ingredient. The avocado toast however is customizable which gives its unique characteristic. Avocado toast can be made with egg, fruit, hollandaise sauce, tomatoes, chilis, soy sauce, onions, etc.  


Rocky Mountain oysters, or mountain oysters, is a dish made of bull testicles. The organs are deep-fried after being skinned, coated in flour, pepper, and salt, and sometimes pounded flat. This specialty is most often served as an appetizer.


The New Haven-style Clam Pizza is a coal-fired Neapolitan pizza typical in and around New Haven, Connecticut. The white clam pie comprises a crust, olive oil, oregano, grated cheese, chopped garlic, and fresh little chicken clams. What makes New Haven-style pizza different is a variety of things such as its thin, oblong crust, characteristic charring, chewy texture, and limited use of melting cheeses. It originated at the Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletan and is now served in many places in Connecticut. 


In Delaware, chicken and slippery dumplings are a famous dish where the dumplings are cut into rectangles as it is mixed with vegetables and chicken soup. 


Florida is very famous for its variety and production of oranges but another big dish is the Cuban sandwich which is made with ham, roast pork, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. It was created in 1896 by the Sicilian-born Francisco Ferlita who was a Cuban-Spanish-Italian immigrant in Florida. 


The peach cobbler is a famous dessert from Georgia since peach is the official state fruit. It is a fruit filling poured into a large baking dish covered with batter before being baked. Georgia’s official state crop is peanuts which are also iconic in everyday PB&J.


Poke is a dish that contains chopped raw fish such as tuna or salmon. It’s then mixed with different ingredients such as sushi, salmon, tuna, avocado, or vegetables and sauces such as soy sauce, Sriracha, or traditional Poke sauce. This allows an entire variety of dishes to be made by the locals that are all unique combinations of flavors. Another popular treat would have to be shaved ice from the famous restaurant, Ululani’s as it holds six locations around the state.


Potatoes are a food product that mostly comes from Idaho, here in the U.S. Like any other potato, they can be made into french fries, chips, and other dishes inspired by potatoes. The difference between regular and Idaho’s is that Idaho has all the growing conditions to create the perfect environment for growing a potato with high solids and low moisture content. Baked Idaho potatoes are fluffier and french fries made with Idaho potatoes cook up crispier and absorb less oil.


Chicago deep-dish pizza is a fan favorite to many, and it is so popular that restaurants compete to have the best pizza. The pan in which it is baked gives the pizza its characteristically high edge, which provides ample space for large amounts of cheese and a chunky tomato sauce. 


Indiana’s main dish is a pork tenderloin sandwich. These are big crispy chicken sandwiches that are as massive as their taste. Contains a breaded and fried pork cutlet, said to be similar to the Wiener Schnitzel.


Iowa has its own version of a sloppy joe called the Maid-Rite sandwich. It is loose, cut-up beef mixed with different foods like onions or pickles. Except, unlike the sloppy joe, it doesn’t have the sauce. 


Nothing is a Kanas meal without BBQ meats, but this one, in particular, is Kansas baby back ribs. It’s coated in the special rub and dripping in some special barbeque sauce. 


Kentucky’s hot brown is something to die for. It’s an open sandwich with tomato, turkey, and bacon, covered up with Mornay white sauce, then cooked until it’s brown. 


Gumbo is the official state food as it’s made from multiple cultures such as French, African, and many others. It is a stew that has chicken, sausage, or other meats that can be combined with corn and other vegetables. 


The unique but famous dish, the lobster rolls, represents Maine. Most of the U.S lobster comes from Maine. This occurs as the Gulf of Maine’s cool waters to the ideal temperature for lobsters, which has helped grow Maine’s fishing industry and harbors. It is a big dish that stuffs lobster chunks and sauce into a sandwich. 


Like Maine, Lobster rolls are also famous in Maryland as well. However, Maryland’s appetizing dish is crab cakes that go well with seasoning like old bay. Steamed Crab can also be enjoyed while eating with just fingers and a mallet to break the shell.


Clam Chowder from Massachusetts, also known as New England clam chowder is defined, according to Insider, as “a thick chowder made from clams, potatoes, onions, sometimes salt pork, and milk or cream.” The recipe usually calls for heavy cream, light cream, or whole milk as the base for the soup. 


Michigan’s Mackinac Island fudge is one of the most popular desserts as the fudge is made on granite as it’s able to cool faster. During holidays or vacations, Michigan creates over 10,000 pounds of fudge every year in multiple fudge shops according to Murdick’s fudge and Insider. 


Tater Tot Hotdish is a unique dish that stacks tater tots on cream, vegetables, and meats. It’s then roasted until golden. Ground beef is browned, dripping with creamy mushroom sauce, and draped over tots. Melted cheddar cheese and a few more tots crown the top for rib-sticking glory.


Unlike fried fish, Mississippi is number one for its fried catfish. According to Insider, it has the most producing ponds that raise catfish in the U.S. which stands around 205 farms, producing more than 65% in the U.S.


Missouri’s toasted ravioli is something to get when visiting the state. This pasta dish is fried to a perfect golden color and then served with marinara sauce. Its breaded deep-fried ravioli is usually done as an appetizer. It was created and popularized in St. Louis, Missouri at two restaurants, Mama Campisi’s and Charlie Gitto’s.


Huckleberry is one of the most famous fruits in Montana. It is used for everything such as pie, cake, jam, pretzels, and more. It is grown naturally in Montana, making it the official state fruit. 


Nebraska has many dishes that are iconic such as its steak, corn, and the Runza sandwich which features fresh-baked bread stuffed with ground beef, onions, our secret blend of spices and cabbage, and even chili and cinnamon rolls.


Considering Nevada has world-renowned casinos, buffets are really famous all around the state. Shrimp Cocktail is a popular appetizer that’s offered on menus all across Nevada. Another is Chateaubriand, a popular dish that is a cut filet of tenderloin, specifically Basque-style chateaubriand.

New Hampshire 

No one can go wrong with New Hampshire’s Apple-cider doughnuts. Considering that New Hampshire has many apple orchards, this dish should best represent the state. 

New Jersey 

New Jersey is famous for its old but gold Saltwater Taffy, which is made of cornstarch and sugar. The mixture is then cooked, cooled, pulled, and stretched to aerate the candy, making it softer. The sweet is said to have received its name after a boardwalk candy shop flooded with water from the Atlantic Ocean in 1883. 

New Mexico 

Green Chile is one of the most popular food in New Mexico. The flavor can be described as similar to an onion or garlic, with a sweet, spicy, crispy, and smoky taste. It can be used in many dishes since it’s a different pepper used in many cultures.

New York

New York Pizza has to be, without a doubt, one of the most iconic types of pizza. New York style is made with a large hand-tossed thin crust, often sold in wide slices. The crust is thick and crispy yet the body is soft and thin, pliable enough for even the toppings to be folded in half to eat. According to Insider, the reason for its chew-goodness is most likely because of the tap water use in New York. 

North Carolina 

Simple Barbeque is number one in North Carolina and here is why. They’re two types of styles, Eastern and Lexington. Eastern-style barbecue is a whole-hog style of barbecue, often said to use “every part of the hog except the squeal”. The eastern-style sauce is vinegar and pepper with no tomato. Lexington style uses a red sauce made from vinegar, tomatoes, and usually red pepper flakes, along with other spices on only pork shoulder meats. 

North Dakota 

Knoephla soup is a dish filled with potatoes and dough balls. In turn, makes the soup a rich and thick potato and chicken soup, almost to the point of being a stew. The cheese Button is little dumplings stuffed with cottage cheese. They’re typically boiled or pan-fried in butter and topped with cheese, scallions, or sautéed onions and a drizzle of fresh or sour cream.


The Buckeye is a small treat in which a peanut butter ball is dipped in chocolate. This dessert is named after the Buckeye tree since it looks close to its nuts hence the name.


Chicken fried steak is a breaded cutlet dish that’s known throughout Oklahoma. It has its beefsteak coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried then complemented with delicious white gravy.


Marionberry is a berry that originated in Oregon back in the 1900s. Marionberry can be made into pie, jams, syrup, juice, and so much more.


No one in Pennsylvania has not heard of the Philadelphia cheesesteak as it is world-famous. It’s a bread roll stuffed with loads of beefsteak then covered with melted cheese to top it all off but could also include a variety of other ingredients such as sauteed onion, avocado, mushrooms, bell peppers, and more. All can be a unique variety of the dish but it’s typically with beefsteak and cheese.

Rhode Island 

Stuffed clams are quad hog giant clams stuffed with herbs and bread that the locals absolutely love. The official state drink of Rhode Island is coffee milk which is Coffee-and-sugar syrup, spun with frozen milk for an ice cream-free riff on a milkshake that’s simply delicious.

South Carolina 

Want a little bit of everything? South Carolina’s famous low-country boil consists of shrimp, corn, sausage, and potatoes, all on one plate. The popular dish, She-crab soup, is a traditional blend of cream, fresh crab meat, and red-orange roe from the female crab which was once a family recipe and later became an iconic menu of a restaurant.

South Dakota

Chislic is a local favorite cubed meat that is a lamb or beef skewer with a kebab stick and it’s usually cooked or fried. Lefse is another popular dish. The flat potato bread is best eaten with a spread of butter and sprinkled with sugar then rolled up.


Memphis-style Ribs are a go-to for having mouth-watering barbeque ribs topped with sauce or dry rub. Nashville Hot Chicken is another popular dish with an interesting story behind it. According to mashed.com, a scorned lover tried to get revenge by spicing up her lover’s fried chicken with an insane amount of pepper until it was an infernally dark red color and blazingly hot in flavor, eventually loving it to opening a restaurant to serve it to the locals.


Simple Barbeque is number one in the state of Texas with a variety of meats that usually would be smoked for days to make every meal flavorful. Meats like beef, steak, or pork are cooked for hours to end up with easy-to-remove bones with mouth-watering meat, and even the sausages are grilled to perfection.


Funny enough, Jell-O is the state’s official dish/dessert as Utah, coming from Insider, is closely related to Mormon Culture which happens to love Jell-O. 


Maple syrup is mass-produced as Vermont’s tree sap has been found to be the easiest to process from sap into sugar, then to syrup. Vermontvacation.com stated that there are over 3,000 sugarhouses statewide as they generate over 50% of the country’s maple syrup. Through its common-to-find syrup in grocery stores, it goes without saying that maple is a way of life there as the locals take pride in making maple products to “enjoy in your coffee, cocktails, baking, and cooking”.


Virginia’s Smithfield Ham is a local favorite as it’s cured country ham that’s cooked in a heated oven to 325 degrees at Smithfield farms. It is a perfect addition to the traditional American breakfast with a plate of scrambled eggs, biscuits, and gravy that is truly lifted with a slice of cooked Smithfield ham.


Coffee is big in Washington considering Starbucks was founded in Seattle. Seattle alone has around 843 tallied coffee shops in the city. Another food to recognize is the abundance of seafood that is offered there like sea shells, oysters, salmon, clams, crabs, lobsters, etc. 

West Virginia 

Take me home to West Virginia’s pepperoni rolls, created as an easy snack for miners during the 1920s according to Insider. Consists of a fairly soft white yeast bread roll with pepperoni baked in the middle. During baking, the fats in the pepperoni melt, resulting in a spicy oil suffusing into the bread. Pepperoni rolls are typically eaten as a snack or as the main dish of lunch either unheated or slightly warmed.


Considering Wisconsin is a cheese and dairy state, cheese curds are the most iconic food. New Berlin West Junior, Marcus Hernadez, explained that “you go to Wisconsin, you have to get cheese curds, if you don’t get cheese curds, what’s the point of going to Wisconsin? I love cheese curds, they are one of my favorite foods.” Cheese curds are eaten fresh or deep-fried multiple times. Other foods such as Cream puffs or bratwurst are also a fan favorite as it is served locally or during events. Emilio Garay, a New Berlin West Junior, also said, “creampuffs are so good, when you bite into one it feels cooly and sweet”.


Bison Steak is a unique but amazing dish as, according to Insider, the taste of bison is very similar to beef. It has a coarser texture and a slightly sweeter flavor than beef steak.