As the saying goes, America is a melting pot, so it’s easy to think that there isn’t “real” American cuisine. That’s not true at all, though; in fact, there are many great foods that originated here in the United States, and you won’t find better elsewhere. Following are 15 of them.
We all know that “hamburger” originates from Germany, but Americans have taken the burger and made cheeseburgers a distinctly American thing. And there’s no end to great toppings you can add to a cheeseburger.
No one seems to know where the first chili dog came into being– it was probably a spontaneous idea by someone who wanted something different to put on a hot dog. Now, chili dogs are common everywhere, and there are even a number of regional varieties.
This Hawaiian dish is raw diced fish, often tuna. It’s served as an appetizer or a main course.
There are conflicting stories about who invented this dish, but all seem to agree it came about in New York City in the late 1800s. To make this, take two halves of an English muffin and top them with Canadian bacon, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce.
New England Clam Chowder
The name says it all, as does that of its relative, Manhattan clam chowder. New England clam chowder is one of the most popular soups in America and can be found on countless restaurant menus.
Mac & Cheese
Technically, mac & cheese is European in origin; Thomas Jefferson popularized it here after having it in France. However, like burgers, it’s become associated with the U.S., and there are numerous variations now.
Believed to have first been served in Maryland, crab cakes are a type of fishcake and are very popular in this country. The main ingredients are crab meat, bread crumbs, mayo, mustard, egg, and seasonings.
Take corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island or Russian dressing and grill them between slices of rye bread, and you’ll have a Reuben. As with eggs benedict, there are conflicting accounts of who made this popular sandwich first.
The state food of Louisiana, gumbo, is a hearty stew consisting of flavored stock, meat and or shellfish, a thickener, celery, bell peppers, and onions. Okra is often part of the recipe, and people add many other ingredients they like. This dish originated in Louisiana in the early 18th century.
If gumbo weren’t the Louisiana state food, jambalaya probably would be. It originated in southern Louisiana from Cajun and Creole cuisine. It mainly consists of meat and vegetables mixed with rice.
Key Lime Pie
This popular American dessert dish is thought to have originated in the Florida Keys. The primary ingredients are lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk.
These spicy chicken wings are unbreaded, deep-fried, and then dipped in a hot sauce before serving. They’re often accompanied by celery sticks, carrot sticks, and bleu cheese or ranch dressing.
This popular lunch sandwich comes to us from Philadelphia. At its most basic, it consists of grilled shredded steak, onions, and cheese served on a long hoagie roll.
You might assume that this staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex menus comes from Mexico, but it was actually invented in California. This hearty dish features a large flour tortilla wrapped around meat, cheese, rice or beans, and other filling ingredients.
Southern Fried Chicken
Neither Southerners nor any other Americans were the first to deep-fry chicken. However, Southerners brought their own style to it, and their brand of fried chicken is like no other style. It’s just one of so many great foods that originated right here in the United States.