Every region of the United States is known for certain foods, from lobster in New England to enchiladas in the Southwest. But the deeper we go, the more we realize that certain dishes or ingredients can be an intrinsic element of the identity of the inhabitants of a state or region, even if they are sometimes almost unheard of outside its borders. (These are America’s most iconic dishes.)
The cuisine of a certain state is often heavily influenced by those who have settled there. Mexicans left elements of their cuisine in the Southwest, European and Russian immigrants brought many of their traditional dishes to the North and Midwest, and former slaves contributed heavily to the cuisine commonly associated with the South. (These Are Iconic Southern Foods Every American Should Try.)
Over the decades, these foods have been refined and adapted, and today they have become synonymous with certain places. Some of each state’s most iconic foods became so because they put an abundant local ingredient to good use, some were brought over by immigrants, some were simply invented there and remained popular even as the rest of the country has spread, and some are iconic for largely unknown reasons.
To compile a list of each state’s most iconic dishes, 24/7 Tempo consulted lists in The daily meal, Food Network, Free time, BuzzFeed, southern life, Thrillistand Taste of homeas well as many state-specific sites.
Click here to see each state’s most iconic dish