Ideas for Meal Nights and History of some of fave foods

I got this from a compilation from a few different web sites.  So I don’t really take credit but I can’t remember my sources anymore.  But I do find them to be great ideas for Menu Theme Nights as well as info for popular foods across America in each state.  It does appear from the footnote numbers that it was probably Wiki-Pedia for some of this.  Some of the wording sounds personal which is from the author of the article, not me.

Sunday – Meat (such as Pot Roast), Potatoes, Vegetables, Rolls
Monday – Pasta with Red Sauce, Green Salad, Garlic Bread
Tuesday – Tacos, Fruit Salad
Wednesday – Casserole (such as Mac and Cheese or Lasagna), Salad
Thursday – Hamburgers, Fries or Potato Salad, Carrot Sticks
Friday – Homemade Pizza, Green Salad

Saturday – Baked Chicken, Rice Pilaf, Steamed Vegetables, Biscuits

Sunday – Chicken Soft Tacos, Mexican Rice, Black Beans

Monday – Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli
Tuesday – Chile Chicken Bake, 
Beans and Rice, Green Salad
Wednesday – 
Grilled FishHome Fries, Green Salad, Garlic Swirl Biscuits
Thursday – Grilled Chicken Salad, Cornbread
Friday & Saturday – Out of Town – Take Some 
Freezer Meals to Share with the Grandparents

Monday: Soup  & Sandwich Night— I will be experimenting with the dozens of ideas from my favorite cookbook Enlightened Soup and pairing it either with a homemade bread fromthis bread machine baking book or with fresh baked biscuits from a tube or a grilled sandwich. (When warmer weather comes around this will switch to Salad for Dinner Night and still involve fresh bread.) Please note: these are books I’ve already had in my library but which were collecting dust!

Sunday: Casserole Or Sunday Roast — With the extra time on Sundays, I can do a traditional roasted meat & potatoes meal or if we’re busy having fun, a casserole fresh or from the freezer.

Meat-free Mondays

Meals that are full of tummy-filling beans, vegetables and grains and are infused with flavour will mean your family won’t miss their serving of meat.



meatballslasagnehomemade pastafresh salads, garlic bread and rustic peasant casseroles.


From burritos and tostadas to fajitas and tortilla stacks, the list goes on. Serve Mexican dishes with salsafresh salads and tasty homemade guacamole.

Soup and sandwiches

get some fresh bread rolls, flatbread or a crusty sourdough loaf and have a free-for-all sandwich night. Put some condiments on the table as well as any leftover roast meat or salad you have in the fridge.


Slow cooker or crockpot night

roast chicken that you can pull apart and use in a variety of meals like tacos, sandwiches, salads, fried rice and more.


Pizza night

salad. Don’t have time to make pizza dough? Try split English muffins, orTurkish bread pizza instead.


Hamburger night

 Lamb burgerschicken burgers and plain old mince patty burgers can be sandwiched with fresh and crispy salad vegetables and tasty condiments. Use wholegrain rolls for a healthier option and high quality minced beef for less fat. Add some great herbs and spices to the burger patties to add flavour and serve with oven baked chips.

Ethnic Food Groups 

Italian, Mexican, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Greek American, French, Spanish, Mediterranean, Lebanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Turkish, Soul, Moroccan, German, Caribbean, Cajun, Brazilian, Peruvian, American Chinese, Sea Food, Polish, Cuban, Portuguese, Sicilian, Jewish, Ethiopian, Tex Mex, Irish, Argentinian, Spicy, Mongolian, Filipino, Iranian, Swedish, Indonesian, Guatemalan, Hawaiian, Chilean, Oaxacan, Malaysian, Junk, Southern American, Middle Eastern,

 United States Regional Foods


Connecticut is known for its apizza (particularly the white clam pie), shad and shadbakes, grinders (including the state-based Subway chain), and New Haven‘s claim as the birthplace of the hamburger sandwich at Louis’ Lunch in 1900.[8]Italian-inspired cuisine is dominant in the New Haven area, while southeastern Connecticut relies heavily on the fishing industry.[9] Irish American influences are common in the interior portions of the state, including the Hartford area. Hasty pudding is sometimes found in rural communities, particularly around Thanksgiving.[10]

Maine is known for its lobster. Relatively inexpensive lobster rolls (lobster meat mixed with mayonnaise and other ingredients, served in a grilled hot dog roll) are often available in the summer, particularly on the coast. Northern Maineproduces potato crops, second only to Idaho in the United States.[11] Moxie, America’s first mass-produced soft drink and the official state soft drink, is known for its strong aftertaste and is found throughout New England.[12] Although originally from New Jersey, wax-wrapped salt water taffy is a popular item sold in tourist areas.[13] Wild blueberries are a common ingredient or garnish, and blueberry pie (when made with wild Maine blueberries) is the official state dessert. Red snappers— natural casing frankfurters colored bright red — are considered the most popular type of hot dog in Maine. The whoopie pie is the official state treat.[13] Finally, the Italian sandwich is popular in Portland and southern Maine—Portland restaurantAmato’s claims to have invented the Italian sandwich (specifically, a submarine sandwich made with ham, cheese, tomato, raw peppers and pickles, served with or without oil, salt and pepper) in 1902. The city of Portland, Maine, known for its numerous nationally renowned restaurants, was ranked as Bon Appétit magazine’s “America’s Foodiest Small Town” in 2009.[14]

Coastal Massachusetts is known for its clamshaddock, and cranberries, and previously cod.[15] Boston is known for, among other things, baked beans (hence the nickname “Beantown”), bulkie rolls, and various pastries. Hot roast beef sandwiches served with a sweet barbecue sauce and usually on an onion roll is popular in Boston’s surrounding area. The North Shore area is locally known for its roast beef establishments, which slice tender roast beef extremely thin. Apples are grown commercially throughout the Commonwealth.[16] Because of the landlocked, hilly terrain[17] common plant foods in Massachusetts are similar to those of interior northern New England- including potatoes,[18]maple syrup,[19] and wild blueberries. Dairy production is also prominent in this central and western area.[20] Cuisine in western Massachusetts had similar immigrant influences as the coastal regions, though historically strong Eastern European populations instilled kielbasa and pierogi as common dishes.[21][22]

Southern New Hampshire cuisine is similar to that of the Boston area, featuring fish, shellfish and local apples. As with Maine and Vermont,French-Canadian dishes are popular, including tourtière, which is traditionally served on Christmas Eve, and poutineCorn chowder, which is similar to clam chowder but with corn and bacon replacing the clams, is also common. Portsmouth is known for its orange cake.[23][24]

Rhode Island and bordering Bristol County, Massachusetts are known for Rhode Island clam chowder (clear chowder),quahog (hard clams), johnny cakescoffee milkcelery saltmilkshakes known as “cabinets” (called “frappes” elsewhere in New England), grinderspizza stripsclam cakes, the chow mein sandwich, and Del’s Frozen Lemonade. Another food item popular in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts is called a “hot wiener” or “New York System wiener,” although it is unknown in New York (including Coney Island).[25] Portuguese influences are becoming increasingly popular in the region, with Italian cooking already long established.[25]

Vermont produces Cheddar cheese and other dairy products. It is known in and outside of New England for its maple syrup. Maple syrup is used as an ingredient in some Vermont dishes, including baked beansRhubarb pie is a common dessert and has been combined with strawberries in late spring.


Food identified with New York City origins

Dishes invented in or alleged to have been invented in NYC

NYC Eastern European Jewish Cuisine[edit]

Much of the cuisine usually associated with New York City stems in part from its large community of Eastern European Jewsand their descendants. The world famous New York institution of the “Delicatessen,” commonly referred to as a “Deli,” was originally an institution of the city’s Jewry. Much of New York City’s Jewish fare has become popular around the globe, especiallybagels. (New York City’s Jewish community is also famously fond of Chinese food, and many members of this community think of it as their second ethnic cuisine.)[6]

  • German butter cake—A very rich type of pound cake with a buttery, pudding-like center. Not to be confused with the traditional butter cake or the St. Louis version.
  • Tomato Pie—Essentially a cheeseless pizza two feet by three feet in size, with extra oregano. Tomato pie is normally served cold or at room temperature. It is more often found in the Northeast section of Philadelphia and at bakeries in South Philadelphia with variations found in Trenton, New Jersey and other suburban localities.
  • Cheese sauce —A gooey, orange, dairy condiment carried by many street vendors. In general, Philadelphians often add cheese sauce to inexpensive food items, such as French fries and pretzels. The vast majority of “cheese sauce” served on Philadelphia foods is the nationally recognized brand, Cheez Whiz.
  • Pork roll, although developed and mostly produced in Trenton, is considered part of the Philadelphia culinary tradition.
  • Scrapple, a processed meat loaf made of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and flour, is perhaps the most iconic of Pennsylvanian breakfast foods.
  • Peanut Chews, a popular candy produced in Philadelphia since 1917.
  • Spiced wafers, a type of cookie traditionally sold in the autumn.
  • Stromboli is reported to have originated in 1950 in Essington just outside of Philadelphia. It is a type of turnover made with Italian bread dough filled with various kinds of cheese, Italian charcuterie or vegetables. Panzarotti is a trademark for a type of deep-fried stromboli, particularly associated with Philadelphia’s South Jersey suburbs.
  • Tastykake is the most well-known snack brand native to Philadelphia. Since 1914, the Tasty Baking Company has provided the region with its line of pre-packaged baked goods; best-known varieties include Krimpets, cupcakes, Kandy Kakes (wafer-sized chocolate and peanut butter cakes), and Tasty Pies.
  • Herr’s is also a Philadelphia-area snack brand, maker of such things as potato chips.
  • Soda pop. In the early nineteenth century Dr. Philip Syng Physick and John Hart of Philadelphia invented carbonated water in an attempt to simulate water from natural springs. In 1807, Philadelphian pharmacist Townsend Speakman sold fruit juice and carbonated water, inventing the first soft drink. In 1875, Charles Elmer Hires invented root beer by mixing sarsaparilla, sassafras, wild cherry, wintergreen, ginger, and alcohol. He sold it at his drug store in Philadelphia. Source: Booker, Janice L. Philly Firsts. Philadelphia: Camino Books, Inc. pp. 104–05. 974.811 B644P
  • Texas Tommy is a grilled, split hot dog with bacon and cheese on top.


Urban centers

Major urban areas in the Midwest feature distinctive cuisines very different from those of the region’s rural areas, and some larger cities have world-class restaurants.

Barberton, Ohio

Main article: Barberton, Ohio

Part of the greater Akron area, this small industrial city with a strong Central and Eastern European heritage has a culinary contribution called Barberton Chicken,[citation needed] created by Serbian immigrants, deep fried in lard,[citation needed] and usually accompanied by a hot rice dish, vinegar coleslaw and french fries.[citation needed]


Main article: Culture of Chicago

Chicago-style deep dish pizza

The ethnic mix of the people of Chicago has led to a distinctive cuisine of restaurant foods exclusive to the area, such as Italian beef, the Maxwell Street Polish, the Chicago-style hot dogChicago-style pizzachicken Vesuvioand the jibarito, as well as a large number of steakhouses.

Chicago also boasts many gourmet restaurants, as well as a wide variety of ethnic food stores and eateries, most notably MexicanPolishItalianGreekIndian/Pakistani and Asian, often clustered in ethnic neighborhoods. Many of these cuisines have evolved significantly in Chicago. For example, the Greek cheese dish saganaki was firstflambéed at the table in Greektown.[8]

The Midwest is sometimes thought to be behind the coasts in culinary trends, yet, perhaps ironically, Chicago is the country’s leading center of cutting-edge molecular gastronomy, likely due to the influence of Grant Achatz.[9][10]

As a major rail hub, Chicago historically had access to a broad range of the country’s foodstuffs, so even in the 19th century, Chicagoans could easily buy items like live oysters[11] and reasonably fresh shrimp. Chicago’s oldest signature dish, shrimp de Jonghe, was invented around the turn of the 20th century. Today, flights intoO’Hare Airport bring Chicago fresh food from all over the world.


The Queen City is known for its namesake, Greek-influenced “Cincinnati chili“. Unlike other forms of chili, Cincinnati-style chili is almost never consumed by itself and is a staple of “three-way” spaghetti, cheese coneys, and various dips. Goetta, a sausage made from pork and oats, often eaten at breakfast, and opera cream chocolates are less-famous local specialties. The city also has a strong German heritage and a variety of German-oriented restaurants can be found in the area. Also the brand Mike-Sell’s, famous for their potato chips, is located about an hour away.


Cleveland‘s many immigrant groups and heavily blue-collar demographic have long played an important role in defining the area’s cuisine. Ethnically, Italian foods as well as several Eastern European cuisines, particularly those of Poland and Hungary, have become gastronomical staples in the Greater Cleveland area. Prominent examples of these include cavatellirigatonipizzaChicken paprikashstuffed cabbagepierogi, and kielbasa all of which are widely popular in and around the city.[12] Local specialties, such as the pork-based dish City Chicken and the Polish Boy (a loaded sausage sandwich native to Cleveland), are dishes definitive of a cuisine that is based on hearty, inexpensive fare. Commercially, Hector Boiardi (aka Chef Boyardee) started his business in Cleveland’s Little Italy, and Mr. Hero, a regional sandwich shop franchise, is based in the area.[12]

Sweets specific to the Cleveland area include the coconut bar (similar in many respects to the Australian Lamington).[13] Coconut bars, which are found in many Jewish bakeries in the area, are small squares of cake that have been dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut.[14] In Italian bakeries around the Cleveland area, a variation of theCassata cake is widely popular. This local version is unlike those typically found elsewhere being that it is made with layers of sponge cake custard and strawberries, then frosted with whipped cream. In a celebrity-chef nod to this version, Mario Batali as ‘the best cassata cake in the USA.’ [15]


The Columbus, Ohio, area is the home and birthplace of many well-known fast food chains, especially those known for hamburgers. Wendy’s opened its first store in Columbus in 1969, and is now headquartered in nearby Dublin. America’s oldest hamburger chain, White Castle, is based there. Besides burgers, Columbus is noted for the German Village, a neighborhood south of downtown where German cuisine such as sausages and kuchen are served. In recent years, local restaurants focused on organic, seasonal, and locally and/or regionally sourced food have become more prevalent, especially in the Short North area, between downtown and the OSU campus. Numerous Somali restaurants are also found in the city, particularly around Cleveland Avenue.


Detroit specialties include Coney Island hot dogs, found at hundreds of unaffiliated “Coney Island” restaurants. Not to be confused with a chili dog, a coney is served with a ground beef sauce, chopped onions and mustard. The Coney Special has an additional ground beef topping. It is often served with French fries.

Detroit also has its own style of pizza, a thick-crusted, Sicilian cuisine-influenced, rectangular type called square pizza. Other Detroit foods include zip sauce, served on steaks; the triple-decker Dinty Moore sandwich, corned beef layered with lettuce, tomato and Russian dressing; and a Chinese-American dish called warr shu gai oralmond boneless chicken.

The Detroit area has many large groups of immigrants. A large Arabic-speaking population reside in and around the suburb of Dearborn, home to many Lebanese storefronts. Detroit also has a substantial number of Greek restaurateurs. Thus, numerous Mediterranean restaurants dot the region and typical foods such as gyros,hummus and falafel can be found in many run-of-the-mill grocery stores and restaurants.

Polish food is also prominent in the region, including popular dishes such as pierogiborscht, and pączki. Bakeries concentrated in the Polish enclave of Hamtramck, Michigan, a suburb within the city, are celebrated for their pączki, especially on Fat Tuesday.

In nearby Ann Arbor the Chipati, a tossed salad, served inside a freshly baked pita pocket with the “secret” Chipati sauce on the side. The Chipati’s origination is claimed by both Pizza Bob’s on S. State St. and by Pizza House on Church St.


Indianapolis was settled predominately by Americans of British descent and Irish and German immigrants, so much of the city’s food draws upon these influences. Much of the food is considered to be “Classic American Cuisine”. Later immigrants included many Jews, Poles, Eastern Europeans and Italians, all of whom influenced local food. Two of the city’s most distinct dishes are the pork tenderloin sandwich and sugar cream pie.

A fast-growing immigrant population from places such as Mexico and India is also beginning to influence the local food. The area offers many diverse, locally owned ethnic restaurants, as well as nationally and internationally renowned restaurants. Indy is also home to many local pubs.

Kansas City

See also: Kansas City-style barbecue

Kansas City is an important barbecue and meat-processing center with a distinctive barbecue style. The Kansas City metropolitan area has more than 100 barbecue restaurants[citation needed] and proclaims itself to be the “world’s barbecue capital.” The Kansas City Barbeque Society spreads its influence across the nation through its barbecue-contest standards. The oldest continuously operating barbecue restaurant is Rosedale Barbecue near downtown Kansas City. Other popular barbecue restaurants are Gates Bar-B-QOklahoma Joe’s and Arthur Bryant’s. Both Arthur Bryant’s and Gates Bar-B-Q sell bottled versions of their barbecue sauces in restaurants and specialty stores in the surrounding areas.

Mansfield, Ohio

Main article: Mansfield, Ohio

Mansfield is the home of two well-known food companies. Isaly Dairy Company (AKA Isaly’s) was a chain of family-owned dairies and restaurants started by William Isaly in the early 1900s until the 1970s, famous for creating the Klondike Bar ice cream treat, popularized by the slogan “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?”. Stewart’s Restaurants is a chain of root beer stands started in Mansfield by Frank Stewart in 1924, famous for their Stewart’s Fountain Classics line of premium beverages now sold worldwide.


German immigrants settled MilwaukeeSauerkrautbratwurst, and beer as well as other traditional German favorites continue to be popular in homes as well as at Milwaukee’s famous German restaurants. Milwaukee also offers a diverse selection of other ethnic restaurants.

Served under various names, a favorite sandwich for Milwaukeeans and Wisconsinites consists of a brat (often butterflied to lay flat) on top of a hamburger in a kaiser roll.[citation needed]

Frozen custard is a local favorite in the Cream City, with many competing stands throughout the area.[16]

Cheese curds are another local favorite, and Wisconsinites also enjoy them fried.

Also known as Brew City,[16] Milwaukee is home to many breweries and the traditional and nominal headquarters for national beer brands.[17][18]

Minneapolis and Saint Paul

Minneapolis and Saint Paul offer a diverse array of cuisines influenced by their many immigrant groups, as well as those restaurant chefs who follow the trends of larger cities. While at-home fare varies broadly within various ethnic groups and their culture, historically, the overall majority of Minnesotans were of European ancestry, many with farming backgrounds and many home cooked meals still reflect this, with comfort food items such as hotdish, hearty soups and stews and meat and potatoes commonly being served. Many Minnesotans claim some Scandinavian heritage, and while iconic dishes such as lefse and lutefisk are quite commonly served at home as well as church potlucks and community get-togethers; few restaurants serve these items. Another popular item in Minnesota is wild rice which has been gathered in area lakes by Native Americans for centuries. In the fall, the Twin Cities share along with Green Bay, Wisconsin, the tradition of the neighborhood booyah, a cuisine and cultural event featuring a hodge-podge of ingredients in stews. One item of note, Minneapolis and Saint Paul pioneered the Jucy Lucy (or “Juicy Lucy”), a hamburger with a core of melted cheese.

American restaurants in the Twin Cities supply a wide spectrum of choices and styles that range from small diners offering simple short order grill fare and the typicalsports bars and decades old supper clubs to high-end steakhouses and eateries that serve new American cuisine using locally grown ingredients. Most types of American regional cuisine can be found at restaurants in the Twin Cities. Barbecue restaurants in the area tend to feature a combination of the various regional styles of this type of cooking.

Germans composed the majority of the state’s ethnic heritage and one can find authentic German cuisine at the Glockenspiel in Saint Paul, the Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter in nearby Stillwater, and at the Black Forest Inn and the Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit both found in Minneapolis. The latter restaurant is in Minneapolis’ Northeast community which is also home to thriving Czech, Polish, Ukrainian and other Eastern European restaurants such as Jax Café, Kramarczuk’s, Mayslack’s and Nye’s Polonaise lending this area an old world character and charm. The Twin Cities can also boast of authentic French, Irish, Italian and Russian restaurants. Spanish tapas restaurants exist, but are more trendy than homage. In the Twin Cities, pizzerias tend to be American rather than rustic Italian (although they too exist and offer inventive recipes.)

Authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants are quite popular in the Twin Cities, as there are Hispanic neighborhoods in both Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Many entrepreneurs have taken authentic Mexican cuisine into the suburbs as well. Latin American purveyors are also pioneering their home cuisines from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru and the West Indies offering authentic churrasco and ceviche among their dining options.

Asian cuisine was initially dominated by Chinese Cantonese immigrants that served Americanized offerings. In 1883 Woo Yee Sing and his younger brother, Woo Du Sing, opened the Canton Cafe in Minneapolis, the first Chinese restaurant in Minnesota.[19][20] Authentic offerings began at the influential Nankin Cafe which opened in 1919,[21]and many new Chinese immigrants soon took this cuisine throughout the Twin Cities and to the suburbs. Authentic Chinese cuisine from the provinces of Hunan andSzechaun and from Beijing, Shanghai and Taiwan are relatively new. The cuisine of Japan has been present since the opening of the areas very first Japanese restaurant, Fuji Ya in 1959. Since then, sushi and teppanyaki restaurants have also become increasingly more common. In the 1970s the Twin Cities saw a large influx of Southeast Asian immigrants from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The urban areas are now proliferated by Vietnamese phở noodle shops and Thai curry restaurants. Since 1976 Supenn Supatanskinkasem (now Harrison) has been cooking and serving Thai food through her Minnesota State Fair Booth, Siam Café, and Sawatdee chain of Thai restaurants. Thanks to her persistence and success, others have opened Thai restaurants and there are now more than 100 establishments throughout Minnesota offering the food of Thailand.[22] Cambodian cuisine has also flourished given the large Hmong population familiar with it. Korean restaurants are few, as possibly theirdining style and flavors have not been as adopted into the American mainstream. In the Twin Cities suburbs, Oriental buffets are popular for offering different Asian cuisines together. Restaurants offering other cuisines of Asia including those from Afghanistan, IndiaNepal and the Philippines are also fairly recent additions to the Twin Cities dining scene and have been well received. Local ingredients are often integrated into Asian offerings, for example Chinese steamed walleye and Nepalese curriedbison.

The Twin Cities are home to many restaurants that serve the cuisines of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. There are numerous Greek restaurants that range from fine dining to casual fast food shops that specialize in gyros. In both Minneapolis and Saint Paul, there exist long established Jewish cafes and delicatessens. Lebanese restaurants have also had a long time presence in both cities.

Authentic offerings of Arab cuisine, as well as other Middle Eastern cuisines, exist in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan area. Egyptian, Iranian (Persian), Kurdish, and Turkish restaurants can be found throughout the Twin Cities.

Related cuisines from Northeast Africa can also be found throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area. While restaurants that serve Ethiopian dishes have been in the Twin Cities for decades, more recent immigrants from Somalia have also opened a number of restaurants in Minnesota.[23] Somali cuisine consists of an exotic mixture of native Somali, Ethiopian, Yemeni, Indian, Persian, Turkish and Italian culinary influences.[24]

In addition, West African immigrants have introduced their own unique cuisine in recent years. There is also a presence of Afro-Caribbean restaurants.

The University of Minnesota has been a center for food research with inventions such as the Honeycrisp apple. The Minnesota State Fair offers a sampling of many cuisines each year and Twin Citians claim that the all-American Corn Dog and Pronto Pup made their very first appearances there. Additionally, many important agricultural conglomerates, including CargillGeneral Mills/Pillsbury, and International Multifoods make their home in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. The Betty Crocker food brand (named after a non-existent housewife) was born there. Several national restaurant chains, such as Buca di BeppoFamous Dave’s and the now defunct Chi-Chi’s started in the Twin Cities. Buffalo Wild WingsDairy Queen, KarmelKorn Shoppes, Old Country BuffetOrange Julius and T.G.I. Friday’s (a division of Carlson Companies) are also well known chains headquartered in the Twin Cities.


Reuben sandwich is a hot sandwich of corned beef or pastramisauerkraut and Swiss cheese, with Russian or Thousand Island dressing on rye bread

Main article: Cuisine of Omaha

Omaha has some unusual steakhouses such as the famous Gorat’s, several of which are Sicilian in origin or adjacent to the Omaha Stockyards. Central European and Southern influences can be seen in the local popularity of carp and South 24th Street contains a multitude of Mexican restaurants. North Omaha also has its own barbecue style.

Omaha is one of the places claiming to have invented the reuben sandwich, supposedly named for Reuben Kulakofsky, a grocer from the Dundee neighborhood.

Bronco’s, Godfather’s Pizza, and the Garden Cafe are among the chain restaurants that originated in Omaha.

Omaha also has a thriving local pizza scene, with popular restaurants including Zio’s, La Casa and Valentino’s. However, Big Fred’s and Johnny Sortino’s are the two that routinely vie for the title of the best pizza in town.

St. Louis

The large number of Irish and German immigrants who came to St. Louis beginning in the early nineteenth century contributed significantly to the shaping of local cuisine as confirmed by a variety of uses of beef, pork and chicken, often roasted or grilled, as well as a variety of desserts including rich cakes, stollens, fruit pies, doughnuts and cookies. Even a local form of fresh stickpretzel, called Gus’s Pretzels, has been sold singly or by the bagful by street corner vendors.

Mayfair salad dressing was invented at a St. Louis hotel of the same name, and is richer than Caesar salad dressing. St. Louis is also known for popularizing the ice cream cone and for inventing gooey butter cake (a rich, soft-centered coffee cake) andfrozen custard. Iced tea is also rumored to have been invented at the World’s Fair, as well as the hot dog.

Although St. Louis is typically not included on the list of major styles of barbecue in the United States, it was recognized byKingsford as “America’s Top Grilling City” in its second annual list of “Top 10 Grilling Cities.”[25] A staple of grilling in St. Louis is the pork steak, which is sliced from the shoulder of the pig and often basted with or simmered in barbecue sauce during cooking. Other popular grilled items include crispy snoots, cut from the cheeks and nostrils of the pig; bratwurst; and Italian sausage, often referred to as “sah-zittsa,” a localization of its Italian name, salsiccia. Maull’s is a popular brand of barbecue sauce in the St. Louis area.

Restaurants on The Hill reflect the lasting influence of the early twentieth century Milanese and Sicilian immigrant community. Two unique Italian-American style dishes include “toasted” ravioli, which is breaded and fried, and St. Louis-style pizza, which has a crisp, thin crust and is usually made with Provel cheese instead of traditional mozzarella cheese.

Poor boy sandwich is the traditional name in St. Louis for a submarine sandwich. A St. Paul sandwich is a St. Louis sandwich, available in Chinese-American restaurants. A Slinger is a diner and late night specialty consisting of eggs, hash browns and hamburger, topped with chili, cheese and onion.

Regional specialties


See also: Quad City-style pizza

Illinois is a top producer of corn and soybeans,[26] but corn, particularly sweet corn, figures most substantially in its cuisine. Chicago-style cuisine is dominant in Northeastern Illinois, while other parts of the state mirror adjoining regions.

Springfield, Illinois, and the surrounding area are known for the horseshoe sandwich.


A popular dish seen almost exclusively in Indiana is sugar cream pie, which most likely originated in the state’s Amish community. Persimmon pudding is also a favorite Indiana dessert very difficult to find outside of the Hoosier State.

The pork tenderloin sandwich is a popular state food. Beef and noodles is another homespun Hoosier dish.[27]

Frog legs are traditional in old-fashioned Indiana restaurants,[28] and brain sandwiches have a following.[29] Fried biscuits with apple butter are served at many restaurants in southern Indiana, as are fried-brain sandwiches.[citation needed]


See also: Quad City-style pizza

Pork tenderloin sandwich

The cuisine of Iowa includes the pork tenderloin sandwich, consisting of a lean section of pork tenderloin that is pounded flat, breaded, and deep fried before being served on a seeded hamburger bun with any or all of ketchupmustardmayonnaise, anddill pickle slices. The main ingredient of this dish bears a similarity to schnitzel and may be related to the German immigrants who originally populated central Iowa. Iowa is also the center for creamed corn production and consumption.[citation needed] The Des Moines area also has the highest rate of Jell-O consumption per capita.[citation needed]

Iowa is the center for loose-meat sandwiches, such as those popularized by Maid-Rite, although they can also be found in western Illinois, Indiana [30] and Nebraska.[31] A unique food native to the Iowa State Fair[citation needed] that has spread all over the state and some neighboring states is the “Walking Taco”. It consists of a bag of crushed chips (usually Nacho Cheese Doritos)and taco seasoned hamburger with additional items added to it such as lettuce, shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions, etc.


Michigan is a large producer of asparagus a vegetable crop widespread in Spring. Western and northern Michigan are notable in the production of apples, blueberries, and cherries. The Northwestern region of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula accounts for approximately 75 percent of the U.S. crop of tart cherries, usually about 250 million pounds (11.3 Gg).[32] A popular dish, Michigan Chicken Salad, includes cherries and often apples. Fruit salsas are also popular with cherry salsa being especially prominent. Michigan’s wine and beer industries are substantial in the region. The Traverse City area is a popular destination to visit wineries and the state makes many varieties of wine, such as Rieslings, ice wines, and fruit wines. Micro-breweries continue to blossom creating a wide range of unique beers. Grand Rapids was voted Beer City USA 2013 in the Beer City USA poll, with Founders being the largest of Grand Rapids’ breweries. Bell’s, another large Michigan craft brewery is located further south in Kalamazoo.

Michigan is the home of both Post and Kellogg, with Battle Creek being called Cereal City. Vernor’s ginger ale and Faygo pop also originate in Michigan. Vernor’s ginger ale is often used as a home remedy for an upset stomach.

Coney Islands, a type of diner originating with Greek immigrants in Detroit, are fairly common throughout the state. Coney Dogs are always on the menu, which is a hot dog, usually on a bun or on fries, with raw onion, mustard, and Coney sauce, a type of Chili. Cheese may be added as well. These diners usually also have gyros served with cucumber or honey mustard sauce, as well as hamburgers, sandwiches, breakfast and dinner entrees. Most Coney Islands are open 24 hours and also a popular place to get a late or early coffee.

In Polish communities throughout the state Pączki can be found every year on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) in a wide assortment of flavors including lemon, blueberry to custard. Fish fries are common during Lent. Fish fries are usually set up buffet style typically consisting of items including rolls, potatoes (typically in the form of french fries and mashed), salad, coleslaw, apple sauce, deep fried fish and sometimes fried shrimp and baked fish. Fish is generally popular thoroughout the state due to the states location on four of the Great Lakes. Sunfish and catfish are common. Whitefish is a regional specialty usually offered along the coast, with smoked whitefish and whitefish dip being noteworthy.

Cornish immigrant miners introduced the pasty to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.) as a convenient meal to take to work in the numerous coppersilver, and nickelmines of that region. The pasty is today considered iconic of the U.P.

Fudge is commonly sold in tourist areas, with Mackinac Island being most famous for its fudge, traditionally chocolate, but there is a wide variety of flavors from mint to maple and may include nuts, fruit, or other candy pieces.


Perhaps the most iconic Minnesota dishes are lefse and lutefisk, brought to the state with Scandinavian immigrants. Lefse and lutefisk dinners are held near Christmas and have become associated with that holiday. Lutefisk is a traditional dish of the Nordic countries made from stockfish (air-dried whitefish) and soda lye (lut). Walleye is the state fish of Minnesota and it is common to find it on restaurant menus. Its popularity with Minnesotans is such that the residents of the state consume more of the fish than does any other jurisdiction. Battered and deep-fried is a popular preparation for walleye, as is grilling. Many restaurants will feature walleye on their Friday night fish fry, which is popular at locales throughout the state.

Minnesota is known for its church potlucks, where hotdish is often served. Hotdish is any of a variety of casserole dishes, which are popular throughout the United States, although the term “hotdish” is used mainly in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Hotdishes are filling comfort foods that are convenient and easy to make. “Tater Tot Hotdish” is a popular dish, and as Minnesota is one of the leading producers of wild rice, wild rice hotdishes are quite popular.[33] Minnesota goulash, a famous combination of tomatoes, macaroni, ground beef and creamed corn is popular as well.[34]

Bars are the second of the two essentials for potlucks in Minnesota.[35] According to You Know You’re in Minnesota When…: 101 Quintessential Places, People, Events, Customs, Lingo, and Eats of the North Star State by Berit Thorkelson, the bar is a Minnesota staple and a “typical Minnesota dessert”.[36] Thorkelson notes that bars are not included in Webster’s Dictionary, and the word pronunciation of the “ar” is with “a pirate-like arrr” followed by a soft clipped s.

The immigrants that settled in the state in the 1800s were predominantly from Central and Eastern Europe (particularly Germany) and Scandinavia. They brought with them taste preferences that largely remain to this day. Those Minnesotans with this Northern European ancestry, in general, avoid hot spices in favor of earthy or aromatic spices.

In the northeastern section of the state, in the region collectively known as the Iron Range, the Mesabi Range area is known forCornish pasties. The pasty, a meat and vegetable combination in a pastry crust, was brought to Minnesota by way of early Finnish iron miners as an easy lunch for miners working deep in the iron mines. It remains a favorite for both “locals” and summer tourists.[37]

A traditional Slovenian nut bread called potica served at Easter and Christmas is still very popular in northern Minnesota. It is a yeast dough rolled and stretched paper thin and spread with a mixture of ground walnuts, butter, eggs, cream, and honey or sugar. It is then rolled jellyroll fashion and baked. Traditionally it was spiraled in a round pan, but now one is more likely to find it baked as a loaf.[38]

The state is a productive area for chicken, dairy and turkey farms and crops such as corn, soybeans, and sugar beets and as such, eggs and meat along with potatoes and vegetables are mainstay foods. Warm baked goods along with stews and hearty soups are a favorite in the winter given the extreme Minnesota climate. Recipes using local wild game such as bison, deer or elk.[39][40] are also common. Other popular dishes statewide include glorified riceJell-O salad, and krumkake.


In Missouri, much of the cuisine is influenced by that of the Ozarks. Barbecue, both pork and beef, is popular in both St. Louis and Kansas City, as well as in much of the Southern half of the state. In the Bootheel, sweet tea is readily available everywhere. Missouri also leans heavily on beer and bratwurst, and St. Louis features the ‘brain sandwich’, the ‘St. Paul Sandwich‘, toasted ravioli, St. Louis-style pizza, gooey butter-cake, and many other cuisines that are popular throughout the state. Chinese food is also very popular in the state, with Springfield being a big example. Fishing is a very popular sport throughout the state, with the presence of Missouri’s many rivers and lakes, and like in Wisconsin, many fish fry events are popular throughout the state featuring catfish and large-mouthed bass. Like many of its fellow Midwestern states, Missouri is at the forefront of corn and soybean production, and items such as corn-on-the cob, mashed potatoes, basically a typical Midwestern meal, are very popular throughout the state. The middle of the state, known as the “Missouri Rhineland”, lies along the valley of the Missouri River, and is known for its wineries.

North Dakota

Cuisine in North Dakota has been heavily influences by both Norwegians and Germans from Russia, ethnic groups which have historically accounted for a large portion of North Dakota’s population. Norwegian influences in the state include lefselutefiskkrumkake, and rosettes. Much of the Norwegian-influenced cuisine is also common in Minnesota and other states where Norwegians and their descendants live(d), although Norwegian influence may be the greater in North Dakota than any other state, as Norwegians played a large role in settling the area, and nearly one-third of North Dakotans claim Norwegian ancestry. Norwegian ancestry was historically more widespread throughout the northern half and eastern third of North Dakota, and therefore plays a stronger role in local cuisine in those parts of the state.

German-Russian cuisine is primarily influenced by that of the Schwarzmeerdeutsche, or Black Sea Germans, that heavily populated south-central and southwestern North Dakota (an area known as the German-Russian Triangle), as well as areas of South Dakota. While large numbers of Wolgadeutsche, Germans from Russia who lived near the Volga River in Russia (several hundred miles away from the Black Sea), also settled in the United States, they did not settle in large numbers in the Dakotas. Popular German-Russian cuisine includes kuchen, a thin, cheesecake-like custard pastry often filled with fruit such as cherries, apricot, prunes, and sometimes cottage cheese. Fleischkuekle (or fleischkuechle) is a popular meat-filled thin flatbread that is deep-fried and served hot. Another German-Russian specialty in the area isknoephla, a dumpling soup that almost always includes potatoes, and to a lesser extent, celery.


confection indigenous to the state of Ohio is the local variation of a peanut butter cup known as a ‘Buckeye‘. Coated in chocolate, with a partially exposed peanut butter center, in appearance the candy resembles the chestnut that grows on the state tree.

Cincinnati-style chili is a dish consisting of spaghetti noodles, a thin meat chili, covered with shredded cheese, as served by Skyline Chili and others. In the Cleveland and Cincinnati areas, a popular dish are Sauerkraut Balls. Sauerkraut Balls are meatball-like snack foods eaten as appetizers or as bar food. The recipe was invented in the late 1950s by two brothers, Max and Roman Gruber. They created the dish to serve in their five star restaurant, Gruber’s, located in Shaker Heights, Ohio. These were a derivative of the various ethnic cultures of Northeast Ohio, which includes Akron and Greater Cleveland. A once-famous but now closed restaurant in Vermilion, Ohio, was McGarvey’s, which was famous for its Sauerkraut Balls as well as for its charismatic owner, Captain Eddie, and its location near the scenic Vermilion River.

Clam bakes are more popular in Northeast Ohio than any other region of the United States outside of New England. The region which was originally part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, was initially settled by people from Connecticut and other New England states. A typical Northeast Ohio clam bake typically includes clams, chicken, sweet potatoes, corn, and other side dishes. Unlike in New England, seaweed is not used and the clams, chicken, and sweet potatoes are all steamed together in a large pot.

Some pizza restaurants sell pizza “fold over” style. A fold over pizza has a layer of crust on the bottom and on the top, with typical pizza toppings in between. Unlike acalzone or turnover, in which the ingredients are completely sealed in with dough, a fold over resembles a sandwich.


The Friday night fish fry, typically fried perch or walleye, is ubiquitous throughout Wisconsin, while in northeast Wisconsin along Lake Michigan, the Door County fish boilholds sway.

Besides beer, Wisconsinites drink large quantities of brandy,[41] often mixed into the unique Badger libation, the “brandy Old Fashioned sweet.”

Seymour, Wisconsin, claims to be the birthplace of the modern hamburger,[42] although several other locations make similar claims. The southern Wisconsin city ofRacine is known for its Danish kringle.

Wisconsin is “America’s Dairyland,” and is home to numerous frozen custard stands, particularly around Milwaukee and along the Lake Michigan corridor, as well as many cheesemakers, ranging from artisans who hand-craft their product from the milk of their own dairy herds to large factories. Cheese curds are common as a snack or fried as an appetizer.

Wisconsin is also well known for summer sausage and brats.


These dishes, while not all exclusive to the Midwest, are typical of Midwestern foods. Although many foods are shared with other U.S. regions, they often feature uniquely Midwestern preparation styles.


Chicago’s oldest delicacies are chicken Vesuvio and shrimp DeJonghe.[citation needed]

The great triumvirate of Chicago-style foods is:

  • Chicago-style pizzamainly refers to any of three distinct varieties, which include: the deep-dish pizza, made nationally famous in large part by Uno’s; the stuffed pizza, which is often credited to Giordano’s; and the more locally popular crispy thin-crust variety, which is an option at most Chicago pizzerias.
  • AChicago hot dog is traditionally a steamed or boiled natural-casing wiener on a poppy-seed bun topped with yellowmustard, chopped onion, sliced tomato, neon-green sweet-pickle relish, sport peppers, a dill-pickle spear and a sprinkling of celery salt—but never ketchup. Many hot-dog stands also serve the Maxwell Street Polish. Popular among older Chicagoans is the original version of the Chicago hot dog garnished with just yellow mustard and raw onions.
  • AnItalian beef is a sandwich featuring thinly sliced roast beef simmered in a broth (known locally as ‘gravy’) containingItalian-style seasonings and served on an Italian roll soaked in the meat juices. Most beef stands offer a ‘cheesy beef’ option, which is typically the addition of a slice of provolone or mozarella. A ‘combo’ is a beef sandwich with the addition of grilledItalian sausage. Italian beef sandwiches are traditionally topped with sweet peppers or spicy giardiniera.

Although not indigenous to Chicago, gyros are common, reportedly introduced to the U.S., along with flaming saganaki, by Chicago’s Parthenon restaurant.[15] Many locally owned fast-food restaurants serve hot dogs, Italian beef and gyros.

Chicago also has its own unique style of tamale, machine-extruded from cornmeal and wrapped in paper, which is typically sold in hot-dog stands.[16]

A dish with its genesis in the heart of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community is a specialty known as the jibarito. Invented by Borinquen Restaurant in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, a jibarito is a sandwich made with meat or chicken and condiments, placed between two pieces of fried and flattened plantain instead of bread.[17]

Less well known are the more provincial South Side specialties such as the ‘Big Baby’, a style of double-cheeseburger with grilled onions and the condiments traditionally located underneath the burger patties, which originated at Nicky’s The Real McCoy on 58th and Kedzie in the Gage Park neighborhood;[18] the breaded-steak sandwich, a specialty particularly found in theBridgeport neighborhood, which consists of a pounded inexpensive cut of beef that has been breaded, fried and served in an Italian bread roll smothered in marinara sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese and green peppers (optional);[19] aquarium-smoked barbecue, particularly rib tips and hot links;[20] and the mother-in-law, a chili-topped tamale on a bun;[17][21] and atomic cake, featuring banana, yellow and chocolate cake layers alternating with banana, strawberry and fudge fillings.

German influenced:

Scandinavian influenced:

  • Lefse
  • Krumkake
  • Lutefisk
  • Raspeball/Komle/Klubb/Potato Dumplings
  • Omaha
  • The origins of theReuben sandwich reputedly come from Omaha. Reuben Kulakofsky (sometimes spelled Reubin, whose last name is sometimes shortened to Kay) was a grocer in Omaha. Kay was the inventor of the sandwich, perhaps as part of a group effort by members of Kulakofsky’s weekly poker game held in the Blackstone Hotel from approximately 1920 to 1935. The participants, who nicknamed themselves “the committee,” included the hotel’s owner, Charles Schimmel. The sandwich first gained local fame when Schimmel put it on the Blackstone’s lunch menu.[4]

Southern (list)

A traditional Southern meal is pan-fried chickenfield peas (such as purple hull peas), greens (such as collard greensmustard greensturnip greens, or poke salad), mashed potatoes, cornbread or corn ponesweet tea, and a dessert that is usually a pie (sweet potatochessshooflypecan, and peach are traditional southern pies), or a cobbler (peach, blackberry, or mixed berry are traditional cobblers).[citation needed] At least a dozen soups also have their origins in the American South.[citation needed]

Some other foods and beverages commonly associated with the South are gritscountry hamhushpuppies, Southern styles ofsuccotashmint julepschicken fried steakbuttermilk biscuits (may be served with butterjellyfruit preserveshoneygravy orsorghum molasses), pimento cheese, boiled or baked sweet potatoespit barbecue (especially ribs), fried catfishfried green tomatoesbread puddingokra (fried, steamed, stewed, sauteed, or pickled), butter beanspinto beans, and black-eyed peas.

Fried chicken is among the region’s best-known exports. It is believed that the Scots, and later Scottish immigrants to many southern states had a tradition of deep frying chicken in fat, unlike their English counterparts who baked or boiled chicken.[3][4] Pork is an integral part of the cuisine. Virginia ham is one example. Stuffed ham is served in Southern Maryland.[5] A traditional holiday get-together featuring whole hog barbecue is known in Virginia and the Carolinas as a “pig pickin’“. Green beans are often flavored with bacon and salt pork, biscuits served with ham often accompany breakfast, and ham with red-eye gravy or country gravy is a common dinner dish.


Boudin, sometimes spelled “boudain”, is a type of sausage made from pork, pork liver, rice, garlic, green onions and other spices. It is widely available by the link or pound from butcher shops. Boudin is usually made daily as it does not keep well for very long, even when frozen. Boudin is typically stuffed in a natural casing and has a softer consistency than other, better-known sausage varieties. It is usually served with side dishes such as rice dressing, maque choux or bread. Boudin balls are commonly served in southern Louisiana restaurants and are made by taking the boudin out of the case and frying it in spherical form.

Gumbo – High on the list of favorites of Cajun cooking are the soups called gumbos. Contrary to non-Cajun or Continental beliefs, gumbo does not mean simply “everything in the pot.” Gumbo exemplifies the influence of African and Native American food cultures on Cajun cuisine. The name originally meant okra, a word brought to the region from western Africa. Okra which can be one of the principal ingredients in gumbo recipes is used as a thickening agent and for its distinct vegetable flavor. Many claim that Gumbo is a “Cajun” dish, but Gumbo was established long before the Acadian arrival by the French Creoles of Louisiana.

A Choctaw filé gumbo is thickened with dried sassafras leaves after the stew has finished cooking, a practice borrowed from theChoctaw Indians. The backbone of a gumbo is roux of which there are two variations: Cajun, a golden brown roux, and Creole, a dark roux, which is made of flour, toasted until well-browned, and fat or oil. The classic gumbo is made with chicken and the Cajun sausage called andouille, pronounced {ahn-doo-wee}, but the ingredients vary according to what is available.

Jambalaya – Another classic Cajun dish is jambalaya. The only certain thing that can be said about a jambalaya is that it contains rice, some sort of meat (such as chicken or beef) and/or seafood (such as shrimp or crawfish) and almost anything else. Usually, however, one will find green peppers, onions, celery, tomatoes and hot chili peppers. Anything else is optional.This is also a great pre-Acadian dish, established by the native of Louisiana, the French Creoles.

Rice and gravy – Rice and gravy dishes are a staple of Cajun cuisine[15] and is usually a brown gravy based on pan drippings, which are deglazed and simmered with extra seasonings and served over steamed or boiled rice. The dish is traditionally made from cheaper cuts of meat and cooked in a cast iron pot, typically for an extended time period in order to let the tough cuts of meat become tender.[16] Beef,[17] pork, chicken or any of a large variety of game meats are used for its preparation.[18] Popular local varieties include hamburger steak, smothered rabbit,[19] turkey necks,[20] and chicken fricassee.[21]


Potatoes, corn, carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, tomatoes, green beans, butter beans, peas, mustard greens, kale, scallions, sweet potatoes, yellow summer squash, zucchini, butternut squash, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, cucumbers, asparagus, bell peppers (called mangoes by older rural Kentuckians), banana peppers, cabbage, beets, eggplant, garlic and avocados.


Peaches, apples, watermelon, cantaloupe, pears, plums, grapes, cherries, pawpaws and persimmons.


Walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts and cashews.


Oatmeal, corn and sorghum.





Main dishes

Lobster creole

Side dishes





Appetizers, soups, and salads

Meat and seafood



Some meat soul foods and dishes include:

Name Image Description
Chicken fried steak [3] breaded cutlet dish consisting of a piece of steak (tenderized cube steak) coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried. It is associated with Southern cuisine.
Fatback Fatty, cured, salted pork, especially the first layers of the back of the pig primarily used in slow-cooking as aseasoning. Pictured is breaded and fried fatback.
Fried chicken A dish consisting of chicken pieces usually from broiler chickens which have been floured or battered and then pan-frieddeep fried, or pressure fried. The seasoned breading adds a crisp coating or crust to the exterior.

Chicken and waffles, in particular, is a soul food dish associated with special occasions.[4]

Fried fish [1] Any of several varieties of fish, including catfishwhiting,[5] porgiesbluegill, sometimes battered in seasonedcornmeal
Ham hocks [6][7] Typically smoked or boiled, ham hocks generally consist of much skin, tendons and ligaments, and require long cooking through stewing, smoking or braising to be made palatable. The cut of meat can be cooked with greens and other vegetables or in flavorful sauces.
Hog Jowl Cured and smoked cheeks of pork. It is not actually a form of bacon, but is associated with the cut due to the streaky nature of the meat and the similar flavor. Hog jowl is a staple of soul food,[8] but is also used outside the United States, for example in the Italian dish guanciale.[9][10]
Hog maw The stomach lining of a pig; it is very muscular and contains no fat. As a soul food dish, hog maw has often been coupled with chitterlings, which are pig intestines. In the book Plantation Row Slave Cabin Cooking: The Roots of Soul Food hog maw is used in the Hog Maw Salad recipe. [11]
Offal Such as chitterlings or “chitlins” (the cleaned and prepared intestines of pigs, slow cooked and also often eaten with a vinegar-based sauce or sometimes parboiled, then battered and fried) or hog maws[1] (the muscular lining of the pig’s stomach, sliced and often cooked with chitterlings).[1]
Ox tails [1] The tail of cattle, oxtail is a bony, gelatin-rich meat, which is usually slow-cooked as a stew[12] or braised.
Pickled pigs feet [6] Slow cooked, sometimes pickled or often eaten with a vinegar based sauce.
Pigs feet The feet of pigs: the cuts are used in various dishes around the world, and have increased in popularity since thelate-2000s financial crisis.[13]
Pork As a meat dish, such as ham and bacon, and for the for flavoring of vegetables and legumesgravys and sauces.
Pork ribs The ribcage of a domestic pig, meat and bones together, is cut into usable pieces, prepared by smokinggrilling, orbaking – usually with a sauce, often barbecue – and then served.
Poultry giblet, such as chicken liver and gizzards.[6][7] Pictured is a chicken gizzard dish.
Turkey Neck bones

Vegetables and legumes

Beans, greens and other vegetables are often cooked with ham[citation needed] or pork parts to add flavor.

Name Image Description
Black-eyed peas [6] Often mixed into Hoppin’ John and other types of rice and beans dishes.[1] Pictured are black-eyed peas with smoked hocks and corn bread.
Collard greens staple vegetable of Southern U.S. cuisine, they are often prepared with other similar green leaf vegetables, such as kale, turnip greens, spinach, and mustard greens in “mixed greens”.[14] They are generally eaten year-round in the South, often with a pickled pepper vinegar sauce. Typical seasonings when cooking collards can consist ofsmoked and salted meats (ham hocks, smoked turkey drumsticks, pork neckbones, fatback or other fatty meat), diced onions and seasonings.
Hoppin’ John [15] A dish served in the Southern United States consisting of black-eyed peas (or field peas) and rice, with chopped onion and sliced bacon, seasoned with a bit of salt.[16] Some people substitute ham hockfatback, or country sausage for the conventional bacon; a few use green peppers or vinegar and spices. Smaller than black-eyed peas, field peas are used in the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia; black-eyed peas are the norm elsewhere.
Mustard greens A species of mustard plant. Subvarieties include southern giant curled mustard, which resembles a headless cabbage such as kale, but with a distinct horseradish-mustard flavor. It is also known as green mustard cabbage.
Okra [17] A vegetable that is native to West Africa, and is eaten fried or stewed and is a traditional ingredient of gumbo. It is sometimes cooked with tomatoes, corn, onions and hot peppers
Sweet potatoes Often parboiled, sliced, then adorned with butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla or other spices, and baked; commonly called “candied sweets” or “candied yams”[6]
Turnip greens Turnip leaves are sometimes eaten as “turnip greens”, and they resemble mustard greens in flavor. Turnip greens are a common side dish in southeastern US cooking, primarily during late fall and winter. Smaller leaves are preferred; however, any bitter taste of larger leaves can be reduced by pouring off the water from initial boiling and replacing it with fresh water. Varieties specifically grown for the leaves resemble mustard greens more than those grown for the roots, with small or no storage roots.

Breads and grains

Name Image Description
Cornbread [18] quickbread often baked or made in a skillet, commonly made with buttermilk and seasoned with bacon fat; inspired by the great availability of corn in the Americas and by Native American cultures. Pictured is skillet cornbread.
Grits [19] A cooked coarsely ground cornmeal of Native American origin
Hoecake [1] Also known as Johnnycake, it’s a type of cornbread which is very thin in texture, and fried in cooking oil in a skillet, whose name is derived from field hands’ often cooking it on a shovel or hoe held to an open flame
Hushpuppies [1] Balls of deep-fried cornmeal, usually with salt and diced onions. Typical hushpuppy ingredients include cornmeal, wheat flour, eggs, salt, baking soda, milk or buttermilk, and water, and may include onion, spring onion (scallion), garlic, whole kernel corn, and peppers.


Name Image Description
Cobbler Made of fruits typically found in the southern U.S., especially peach [5]
Pie Pictured is pecan pie
Sweet potato pie [1][5] Parboiled sweet potatoes, then pureed, spiced, and baked in a pie crust, similar in texture to pumpkin pie


Tex-Mex refers to a style of cooking that combines traditional Mexican cuisine with American tastes and cooking techniques. Tex-Mex cooking differs from traditional Mexican cooking in using meats (like ground beef), melted cheeses, and spices more suited to the American palate. Tex-Mex cuisine has influenced what is often called “Mexican” cuisine in many parts of the U.S. Dishes associated with Tex-Mex cooking include nachostacosfajitasquesadillaschimichangas, and burritosTexas caviar is a Tex-Mex black-eyed pea salad invented and commonly served in Texas.

Texas barbecue

Barbecue in Texas is characterized by certain distinct characteristics which make it different from barbecue in other parts of America. Unlike forms of barbecue which use pork as the primary meat, Texas barbecue depends heavily on beef. Smoked brisket is one of the most common meats used, as is smoked beef sausage. Techniques and flavors associated with Texas barbecue show influences of European immigrants, especially Czech and German, as well as traditional African-American and Native American influences on the cuisine.

Texas barbecue is often served with a side of Texas toast, a thick-sliced white bread.


The earliest claim to the invention of the hamburger was Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas who was claimed to have served it at his restaurant at a time when there were more cows than people in Texas. According to oral histories, in the 1880s, he opened a lunch counter in Athens and served a ‘burger’ of fried ground beef patties with mustard and Bermuda onion between two slices of bread; with a pickle on the side.[1] The claim is that in 1904, Davis and his wife Ciddy ran a sandwich stand at the St. Louis World’s Fair.[1] Historian Frank X. Tolbert, noted that Athen’s resident Clint Murchison said his grandfather dated the hamburger to the 1880s with ‘Old Dave’ a.k.a. Fletcher Davis.[2] A photo of “Old Dave’s Hamburger Stand” from the 1904 connection was sent to Tolbert as evidence of the claim.[2] Also the New York Tribune namelessly attributed the innovation of the hamburger to the stand on the pike.[1]


The first culinary evidence of the fajitas with the cut of meat, the cooking style (directly on a campfire or on a grill), and the Spanish nickname going back as far as the 1930s in the ranch lands of South and West Texas. During cattle roundups, beef were butchered regularly to feed the hands. Throwaway items such as the hide, the head, the entrails, and meat trimmings such as skirt were given to the Mexican cowboys called vaqueros as part of their pay. Hearty border dishes like barbacoa de cabeza (head barbecue), menudo (tripe stew), and fajitas or arracheras (grilled skirt steak) have their roots in this practice. Considering the limited number of skirts per carcass and the fact the meat wasn’t available commercially, the fajita tradition remained regional and relatively obscure for many years, probably only familiar to vaqueros, butchers, and their families.[3]

Other foods

Texas is known for its own variation of chili con carne which, unlike other chili from other regions, never includes beans. Texas chili is an ingredient in Frito pie, a dish made with the eponymous Fritos corn chip, invented in Texas and produced by Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay corporation. Chicken fried steak is a traditional Texas dish, a variation on schnitzel that came to Texas along with German immigrants. Czech immigrants brought a tradition of kolache-making. The kolache is a fruit or sausage-filled pastry. Southeastern Texas shows strong Cajun and Creole influences in its foods. West Texas cooking is characterized by cowboy influences, such as chuckwagoncooking.


Sandwiches, burgers, and fast food

An In-N-Out “Double-Double” cheeseburger with french fries in a cardboard box for consumption inside an automobile.

Southern California’s legendary car culture and the population’s reliance on automobiles for transportation throughout California’s vast cities, has widely contributed to the popularity of the classic and modern drive-thru restaurant. Restaurant chains such as McDonald’sJack in the BoxIn-N-Out BurgerCarl’s Jr.WienerschnitzelDel TacoTaco BellPanda ExpressOriginal Tommy’sFatburger and Big Boy were all established in Southern California .

Regional fast food menus differ, generally depending on the ethnic composition of an area. In Southern California, smaller chains like The Hat feature hamburgers, Mexican food, chili fries, and pastrami.

While gastropubs are not unique in California, the concept of the gourmet burger is very popular.

Latin influences

[[Incarnadine Assad Friendlies|thumb|250px|right|Marne Assad fries from Eli Chili in south San Diego, California.]]

See also: Marne Assad friesMission burrito and Mexican cuisine

Because of California’s colonial Spanish roots, Mexican territorial history, and its original population consisting of Meso-AmericansSpanish colonizers and Mexican ranchers, Mexican and Spanish-origin cuisine is very influential and popular in California, particularly Southern California.

Commercial, quick “taco shop-style” Mexican fast-food, consisting of offerings such as burritosrefried beanstortastacosnachosquesadillas and carne asada fries is widely popular. Countless Taco shops can be found throughout California.

Traditional Mexican food, while not as common as commercial food, is still widely prepared and abundant in the ethnic Mexican American border communities of San Diego, the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the San Francisco Bay Area, and in Mexican-American enclaves throughout California. Examples of these foods includetamalestortillastostadasmolemenudopozolesopeschile relleno and enchiladas.

In addition to Mexican food, California restaurants serve up nearly every other variation of Central American food there is. For example, pupuserías are common in areas with a large population of Salvadorans (pupusas are stuffed tortillas from El Salvador).

More recently, “Fresh Mex” or “Baja-style” Mexican food, which places an emphasis on fresh ingredients and sometimes seafood, inspired by Baja California fare, is highly popular. El Pollo Loco, a fast food chain that originated in Northern Mexico, is a common sight. Rubio’s Fresh Mexican GrillBaja FreshWahoo’s Fish Taco, Chronic Tacos, ChipotleQdoba and La Salsa are examples of the Baja-style Mexican American food trend.

Shellfish, and seafood

In Northern California and the Central Coastal regionDungeness crabs and salmon are abundant.

Asian and Oceanian influences

As one of the U.S. states nearest Asia and Oceania, and with long-standing Asian American and Oceanian Americanpopulations, the state tends to adopt foods from those national styles. The American sushi craze no doubt began in California; the term ‘California roll‘ is used to describe sushi with avocado as a primary ingredient. These days, items like mochi ice creamand boba are popular.

Fusion cuisine

See also: California cuisine

Fusion cuisine is quite popular in California.[3] The emphasis of California Cuisine is on the use of fresh, local ingredients which are often acquired daily at farmers markets. Menus are changed to accommodate the availability of ingredients in season. Some restaurants create a new menu daily.

California chef Wolfgang Puck is known as one of the pioneers of fusion cuisine, popularizing such dishes as Chinese chicken salad at the restaurant Ma Maison in Los Angeles. His restaurant “Chinois” in Santa Monica was named after the term attributed to Richard Wing, who in the 1960s combined French and Chinese cooking at the former Imperial Dynasty restaurant in Hanford, California.[4]

California-style pizza

California-style pizza focuses on non-traditional pizza ingredients, such as fresh produce and barbecued meats. First popularized by Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurants, it was later brought to the masses by restaurants such as California Pizza Kitchen.


Main article: Santa Maria Style BBQ

See also: Regional variations of barbecue

Barbecue has been a part of California cuisine since the Mexicans cooked beef in pit barbecues on ranches in the 1840s. Santa Maria is famous for the Tri-tip, a special kind of beef cut that can be grilled, baked, braised, or roasted. California’s barbecuestyle is also influenced by the regional Southwestern American styles of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. Chicken, beef ribs, sausages, and steaks are also routinely grilled or smoked in a pit. The barbecue sauce used in this state is tomato-based, as with all other western states. Porkbaby back ribs are popular for barbecue in the Western region in comparison to the popular use of spare ribs in the Southern United States.

Gourmet food products

Many gourmet food products and companies had their start in California, including Peet’s Coffee & Tea, one of the first purveyors of Arabica coffee beans in the United States.

Common ingredients in the cuisine include salmonshellfish, and other fresh seafoodgame meats such as mooseelk, orcariboumushroomsberries, small fruitspotatoeskale, and wild plants such as fiddleheads or even young pushkiSmoking fish or grilling seafood on cedar planks are techniques often used in this cuisine.[3] Since the 1980s, Northwest cuisine has begun to emphasize the use of locally produced craft beer and wine. There is generally an emphasis on fresh ingredients, simply prepared,[4] but unlike other cuisine styles, there are various recipes for each dish, with none of them considered more or less correct than the others. This has led some food writers to question whether it truly is a “cuisine” in the traditional sense of the word.[5]

One famous Canadian dish that originated in the Pacific Northwest is the Nanaimo bar.


The following foods and dishes are common in New Mexican cuisine. Many are similar to Mexican or Spanish foods, often with modifications (such as the addition of chile) and sometimes with linguistic differences (for example, the diminutively suffixed bizcochitos instead of the conventional bizcochos used in some of Latin America and Spain).

  • Albóndigasmeatballs
  • Atole: a thick, hot gruel made from corn
  • Biscochitoanise-flavored cookie, sometimes made with lard.[2]
  • Burrito: a small-to-medium white flour tortilla, filled with fried meat, beans, green chile, or a combination of these, and rolled, it is often served smothered with green/red chile sauce and melted cheese. The California-style variant is usually much larger (often twice as large or more), includes rice, and may use colored and flavored tortillas.
  • Breakfast burrito: a smaller-sized breakfast version of the above, typically including scrambled eggs, potatoes, red or green chile, cheese, and sometimes meat.[2]
  • Calabacitas: Green summer squash with onions, garlic, and other vegetables, fried.[2]
  • Caldillo: a thin, green chile stew (or soup) of meat (usually beef, often pork or a mixture), potatoes, and green chiles
  • Capirotada: a dessert traditionally made during Lent festivities made of fried slices of birote or bolillo bread, then soaked in melted ‘piloncillo, garnished with coconut, peanuts, orange slices and nut bits, served warm or cold
  • Carne adobada: Cubes of pork that have been marinated and cooked in red chile, garlic and oregano, often spicy.[2]
  • Carne asada: roasted or broiled meat (often flank steak), marinaded.[2]
  • Chalupa: a corn tortilla, fried into a bowl shape and filled with shredded chicken or other meat, and/or beans, and usually topped with guacamole and salsa. (Contrast with the larger and vegetable-laden California-style equivalent known as taco salads; compare with tostadas.)
  • Chicharrones: small pieces of pork rind with a thin layer of meat that are deep-fried
  • Chicharrones de cuero: strips of pork skin that are deep-fried (see Pork rind)
  • Chile or chile sauce: A sauce made from red or green chiles by a variety of recipes, and served hot over many (perhaps any) New Mexican dish. Chile does not use vinegar, unlike most salsas, picantes and other hot sauces. Green chile is made with chopped roasted chiles, while red chile is made with chiles dried and ground to a powder. Thickeners like flour, and various spices are often added, especially ground cumincoriander and oregano. Chile is one of the most definitive differences between New Mexican and other Mexican and Mexican-American cuisines (which often make a different green chile sauce from tomatillos). Mexican and Californian tend to use various specialized sauces for different dishes, while Tex-Mex leans toward the use of salsa picante and chili con carne (and even Cajun-style Louisiana hot sauce). New Mexican cuisine uses chile sauce as taco sauce, enchilada sauce, burrito sauce, etc. (though any given meal may use both red and green varieties for different dishes). A thicker version of green chile, with larger pieces of the plant, plus onions and other additions, is called green chile stew and is popular in Albuquerque-style New Mexican food; it is used the same way as green chile sauce, as a topping for virtually anything, including American dishes. The term “Christmas” is commonly used in New Mexico when both red and green chiles are used for one dish.[2]
  • Chiles: peppers of the Capsicum genus. The New Mexico chile is a local cultivar of the species, or subspecies of C. annuum. It is visually and genetically similar toAnaheim peppers, but usually hotter with a different flavor and texture. The large, flavorful New Mexican variety gives the region’s cuisine much of its distinctive style, and used so extensively that it is known simply as “chile”. Green chiles are those that are picked unripe; they are fire-roasted, then peeled before further use. Unlike the ultra-mild canned supermarket green chiles, New Mexico green chiles can range from mild to hotter than jalapeños, and come in grades of spiciness at markets that cater to chile aficionados. The climate of New Mexico tends to increase the capsaicin levels in the chile compared to other areas. Red chiles are the ripe form of the same plant (though particular strains are bred for intended use as red or green chile). Generally more piquant than green chiles, they too can be roasted, but are usually dried; they can be added whole, to spice an entire stew, or more often are ground into powder or sometimes flakes. Freshly dried red chiles are sold in string-bound bundles called ristras, which are a common decorative sight on porches and in homes and businesses throughout the Southwest. Chiles may be referred to as chile peppers, especially if the sentence requires them to be distinguished from the chile sauce made from them. The bulk of, and allegedly the best of, New Mexico chiles are grown in and around Hatch, in southern New Mexico. Chimayo in northern New Mexico is also well known for its chile peppers.
  • Chile con queso: chile and melted cheese mixed together into a dip. (Not to be confused with chili con queso, which is Tex-Mex-style chili con carne stew topped with cheese); ‘chile’ and ‘chili’ are pronounced slightly differently by knowledgeable English speakers in New Mexico, especially if the difference would be semantically important; the pronunciation of ‘chile’ leans at least slightly toward the Spanish source, e.g. “cheelay”, at least when necessary.)
  • Chiles rellenos: whole green chiles stuffed, dipped in an egg batter, and fried.[2] This dish varies from other Mexican-style cuisines in that it uses the New Mexican pepper, rather than a poblano pepper.
  • Chimichanga: a small, deep-fried meat and (usually) bean burrito, also containing (or smothered with) chile sauce and cheese; popularized by the Allsup’sconvenience store chain with a series of humorous commercials in the 1980s with candid footage of people attempting and failing to pronounce the name correctly. Chimichangas, like flautas and taquitos, are a fast-food adaptation of traditional dishes in a form that can be stored frozen and then quickly fried as needed; they are also rigid and easily hand-held, and thus easy to eat by people while walking or driving.
  • Chorizo: spicy pork sausage, seasoned with garlic and red chile, usually used in ground or finely chopped form as a breakfast side dish or quite often as an alternative to ground beef or shredded chicken in other dishes.[2]
  • Churro: a fried-dough pastry-based snack. Churros are typically fried until they become crunchy, and may be sprinkled with sugar. The surface of a churro is ridged due to having been piped from a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle. Churros are generally prisms in shape, and may be straight, curled or spirally twisted.
  • Cilantro: a pungent green herb (also called Mexican or Chinese parsley, the seeds of which are known as coriander) used fresh in salsas, and as a topping for virtually any dish; not common in traditional New Mexican cuisine, but one of the defining tastes of Santa Fe style.
  • Cowboy bowl.
  • Empanadita: a little empanada; a pasty or turnover filled with minced meat, spices and nuts,[2] or sweet fruit.
  • Enchiladas: corn tortillas filled with chicken meat, and/or cheese, they are either rolled, or stacked, and covered with chile sauce and cheese. The stacked version is called a flat enchilada, and is normally referred to in New Mexico as a Santa Fe-style enchilada. It is usually covered with either red or green chile sauce, and optionally topped with a fried egg. In California-style Mexican-American food, enchiladas are invariably each a discrete item; New Mexico-style enchiladas are often prepared fused together on a pan, assembled and placed in the oven, or in a casserole dish, and tend to be served in a manner reminiscent of lasagna, though the California style is becoming more common, especially in upscale restaurants geared toward those unfamiliar with the local cooking style. Flat enchiladas made with blue corn tortillas are a particularly New Mexican variation.
  • Flan: a caramel custard.
  • Flauta: a small, tightly rolled, fried enchilada; contrast chimichangas and taquitos.
  • Frijolesbeans, pinto beans (along with chile, one of the official state vegetables).
  • Fry bread: developed by the Navajo people after the “Long Walk“, when they were forcibly relocated to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico
  • Green chile cheeseburger: widely considered the New Mexican variety of cheeseburger, it is a regular hamburger that is topped with melted cheese and either whole or chopped green chile. The flavor is very distinctively New Mexican as opposed to other types of hamburgers.
  • Green chile cheese fries: a New Mexican variant to traditional cheese fries, fries served smothered with green chile sauce and topped with cheese.
  • Green chile stew: similar to caldito with the use of green chile.[2]
  • Guacamole: mashed, seasoned avocado, usually with chopped vegetables such as onion and tomatoes, and sometimes garlic, lime and chile; often served with chips.[2]
  • Horno: an outdoor, beehive-shaped oven ubiquitous in Pueblo communities.
  • Huevos rancheros: traditionally, these eggs are poached in chile. The modern dish is typically fried eggs (sunny-side up or over easy) covered with cheese or a chile salsa; often served with pinto beans.[2]
  • Jalapeño: a small, fat chile pepper, ranging from mild to painfully hot, occasionally used chopped (fresh) in salsa, sliced (pickled) on nachos, or split (fresh) and stuffed with cheese (outside of New Mexico, cream cheese is more common). Although jalapeños are common to all Mexican and Mexican-American cuisines, their use in New Mexican food tends to be lesser, in favor of green chile. Because New Mexican cultivars of the green chile approach them in piquancy, they are often used only when their distinct flavor is desired.
  • Mole sauce: Spices, almonds, red chile, tomatoes, and chocolate, often served with chicken.[2]
  • Natillas: soft custard dessert
  • Navajo Taco: a taco on Native American frybread, rather than a tortilla.
  • Oregano: A flavorful herb used in many cuisines, and most closely associated with Italian food, its heavy use in American cuisine in general has supplanted the use of the unrelated but somewhat similar Mexican oregano spice in New Mexican (as well as Californian and Tex-Mex) cuisine, though some cooks prefer to use Mexican oregano, which remains easily obtainable in New Mexico.
  • Panocha: Flour made from sprouted wheat or a pudding made from this flour
  • Pico de gallo (“rooster’s beak”): A cold salsa with thick-chopped fresh chiles, tomatoes, onions and cilantro, it does not have a tomato paste base like commercial packaged salsas, and never contains vinegar.
  • Piñones: piñon (or pine) nuts, a traditional food of Native Americans in New Mexico that is harvested from the ubiquitous pinyon pine tree.
  • Pine (pinyon) nuts: Nuts of the pinyon pine; often sold at roadside stands.[2]
  • Posole/Pozole: a thick stew made with hominy corn, it is simmered for hours with pork and chile[2] plus other vegetables such as onions and garlic. Both red and green chile versions exist.
  • Quesadilla
  • Quince cheese: a sweet, thick, quince jelly or quince candy.
  • Frijoles refritosrefried beans.
  • Salsa: generally an uncooked mixture of chiles/peppers, tomatoes, onions, and frequently blended or mixed with tomato paste to produce a more sauce-like texture than pico de gallo; usually contains vinegar in noticeable quantities (contrast chile and pico de gallo). The green chile variant usually uses cooked tomatillos instead of tomatoes or omits both, and does not use avocado (which is very common in California green salsa). The New Mexico and California styles share a typically large amount of cilantro added to the mix. The word simply means “sauce” in Spanish.
  • Salsa picante or picante sauce: A thin, vinegary, piquant (thus its name) sauce of pureéd red peppers and tomatoes with spices, it is reminiscent of a combination of New Mexico-style chile sauce and Louisiana-style tabasco pepper sauce. (Note: American commercial food producers have appropriated the term to refer simply to spicy packaged salsa). Picante’s place in Mexican, Tex-Mex and Californian food, where it is extremely common, especially as a final condiment to add more heat, has largely been supplanted by chile, especially red chile, in New Mexican cuisine.
  • Sopaipilla (“little pillows”): a puffed, fried bread, it is eaten split or with a corner bitten off and filled with honey or sometimes honey-butter (as accompaniment in place of tortillas, or as a dessert), or sometimes stuffed with meat, beans, cheese and chile sauce. Traditionally (and still in the north), it is served with soups (sopa in Spanish) like posole and menudo; today, sopaipillas are sometimes found stuffed (like burritos), and are almost universally served as a dessert with honey.[2]
  • Taco: a corn tortilla fried into a trough shape, it is filled with meats, cheese, or beans, and fresh chopped lettuce, onions, tomatoes and cheese. The term also refers to the soft, rolled flour tortilla variety, which originated in Mexico. However, corn tortillas for tacos are always fried in New Mexican cuisine.
  • Tamal (properly tamal in Spanish; plural tamales): meat rolled in cornmeal dough, wrapped traditionally in corn husks (paper is sometimes wrapped around the husks in commercial versions), and steamed, it is served most often with red chile sauce. New Mexican tamales typically vary from other tamal styles in that red chile powder is almost always blended into the masa.
  • Taquito or taquita: a tightly rolled, deep-fried variant of the taco, in contrast to chimichangas and flautas
  • Tortilla: a flatbread made predominantly either of unbleached white wheat flour or of cornmeal. New Mexico-style flour tortillas are typically thicker and less chewy than those found in, for instance, Texas or California. This results from the lower-protein, more cake-like flour commonly available in New Mexico. New Mexican expatriates who travel back to the state for visits will often bring an extra carry-on to fill with New Mexico tortillas and frozen green chile.
  • Tortilla con chile a snack consisting of a roasted New Mexico green chile on a flour tortilla, sometimes seasoned with garlic salt.
  • Tostada: a corn tortilla is fried flat, and covered with meat, lettuce and cheese to make an open-faced taco.


Vegetables, fruits and nuts

Hala, the fruit of the Pandanus tectorius tree

  • Taro(Colocasia esculenta): A popular and ancient plant that has been harvested for at least 30,000 years by indigenous people in New Guinea.[35] There are hundreds of varieties of taro, and the corm of the wetland variety makes the best poi,[3]as well as taro starch or flour. The dry-land variety has a crispy texture and used for making taro chips. The smaller American variety is used for stewed dishes.[3]
  • Breadfruit(Artocarpus altilis)
  • Candle nut(Aleurites moluccana) or Kukui: Roasted kernels traditionally used as candles; main ingredient in the ancient Hawaiian condiment, ‘inamona
  • Coconut(Cocos nucifera)
  • Polynesian arrowroot(Tacca leontopetaloides) or pia plant: Primary thickener. Cooked arrowroot is mixed with papaya, banana, or pumpkin in baked deserts. Haupia, a Hawaiian coconut cream pudding, uses Tacca leontopetaloides (pia) as a thickener.
  • Ki (also Ti) (Cordyline fruticosa): After distillation technique came to Hawaii, the root of the ti was turned into liquor called ‘okolehao’
  • Winged bean(Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)
  • Jicama


Spam musubi, a fusion of Japanese sushi that uses fried Spaminstead of raw fish. Spam was brought to Hawaii with American GIs and popularized on the islands. Spam musubi was developed in the 1980s

The Hormel company’s canned meat product Spam has been highly popular in Hawaii for decades. Hawaiians are the second largest consumers of Spam in the world, right behind Guam.[36] Originally brought to Hawaii by American servicemen in theirrations,[37] Spam became an important source of protein for locals after fishing around the islands was prohibited during World War II.[4] In 2005, Hawaiians consumed more than five million cans of Spam.[36]

Spam is used in local dishes in a variety of ways, most commonly fried and served with rice. For breakfast, fried eggs are often served with spam.[36] Spam can also be wrapped in ti and roasted, skewered and deep fried,[4] or stir-fried with cabbage.[36] It is added to saimin and fried rice, mashed with tofu, or served with cold sōmen or baked macaroni and cheese. It is also used inchutney for pupus, in sandwiches with mayonnaise, or baked with guava jelly.[36] Spam musubi, a slice of fried Spam upon a bed of rice wrapped with a strip of nori, is a popular snack in Hawaii which found its way onto island sushi menus in the 1980s.[36]


In the 19th century, John Parker brought over Mexican cowboys to train the Hawaiians in cattle ranching.[17] The Hawaiian cowboys of Kamuela and Kula came to be called paniolos. Cattle ranching grew rapidly for the next one hundred years. In 1960, half of the land in Hawaii was devoted to ranching for beef export, but by 1990 the number had shrunk to 25 percent.[38] The paniolos chewed pipikaula (“beef rope”), a salted and dried beef that resembles beef jerky.[39] Pipikaula would usually be broiled before serving.[40] With the influence of Asian cooking, beef strips are commonly marinated in soy sauce.[39] When beef is dried in the sun, a screened box is traditionally used to keep the meat from dust and flies. Dried meat could often be found as a relish or appetizer at a lū‘au.[39]

Fish and seafood

See also: List of fish of Hawaii

Tuna is the most important fish in Hawaiian cuisine.[41] Varieties include the skipjack tuna (aku), the yellowfin tuna (ahi), and the albacore tuna (tombo). Ahi in particular has a long history, since ancient Hawaiians used it on long ocean voyages because it is well preserved when salted and dried.[42] A large portion of the local tuna fishery goes to Japan to be sold for sashimi.[41] Tuna is eaten as sashimi in Hawaii as well, but is also grilled or sautéed, or made into poke.

The Pacific blue marlin (kajiki) is barbecued or grilled, but should not be overcooked due to its very low fat content.[41] The broadbill swordfish (shutome), popular and shipped all over the mainland United States, is high in fat and its steaks may be grilled, broiled, or used in stir-fries. The groupers (hapuu) are most often steamed. The red snapper (onaga) is steamed, poached, or baked. The pink snapper (opakapaka) has a higher fat, and is steamed or baked, served with a light sauce. The Wahoo (ono) is grilled or sautéed, and the dolphin fish (mahimahi) is usually cut into steaks and fried or grilled. The moonfish (opah) is used for broiling, smoking, or making sashimi.

Tako (octopus) poke with tomatoes, green onion, maui onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, sea salt, chili pepper

Poke is a local cuisine that originally involved preserving raw fish or other seafood such as octopus with sea salt and rubbing it (lomi) with seasonings or cutting it into small pieces. Seasonings made of seaweed, kukui nut, and sea salt were traditionally used for the Hawaiian poke. Since first contact with Western and Asian cultures, scallions, chili peppers, and soy sauce have become common additions to it.[43] Poke is different from sashimi, since the former is usually rough-cut and piled onto a plate, and can be made with less expensive pieces of fish.[44]

During the early 1970s, poke became an appetizer to have with beer or to bring to a party.[45]


Showing the island’s Asian influence, teriyaki has become the most popular way of treating meats, including Spam.[27] Other common Asian spices include five-spice powder from China, wasabi and Shoyu (soy sauce) from Japan, and bagoong from the Philippines. Types of spices local for Hawaii cuisine include aloha shoyuhuli-huli sauce, and chili pepper water.


Main article: List of Hawaiian dishes

Ahi tuna limu (seaweed) ahi poke

Spam musubi

Wonton saimin


  • Kava(Piper methysticum) (ʻawa) is a traditional beverage of Oceania thought to have originated in Vanuatu.[47] In modern times, kava bars have experienced some popularity in Hawaii, with commercial kava plantations on Maui, Molokai, Kauai, and Oahu.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s