15 American Foods Everyone MUST Try!

By: Tiernaur Anderson, Marketing and Outreach Intern

Food is a key element of culture, so trying new foods from different cultures can be interesting, exciting, delicious, and even a little frightening. Are you blown away by the number of new foods in the United States? Are you at a loss for which foods to try and which foods even Americans would avoid?  Here’s a list of all-time American favorites to try before your stay is over!

  1. Corn Dog

A corn dog is a deep-fried hot dog that is eaten on a stick, and often dipped in ketchup or mustard. Corn dogs were originally invented in Texas but can be found all over the country. They are generally found at carnivals, festivals, or sports games.

  1. Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a popular dish that is a product of the unique intersection of cultures in Louisiana. It can be made in many different ways, but always has a mix of sausage, rice, and vegetables. It is offered across the country, but most Southerners will tell you that true Jambalaya can only be found in Louisiana.

  1. Biscuits & Gravy

Another Southern staple, biscuits and gravy, can be eaten with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. These biscuits (not to be confused with cookies) are soft and buttery. They are topped with gravy – a sauce made from milk, flour, and stock or drippings from roasted meat.

  1. California Roll

The California roll is a type of sushi that can be found at any sushi restaurant in the United States. It consists of crab meat, avocado, and cucumber, wrapped in an ‘inside-out’ roll, with seaweed on the inside, and rice on the outside. For sushi-beginners, the California roll is a perfect place to start!

  1. Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & cheese, or, as it is often abbreviated, mac’n’cheese, gained immense popularity when it appeared in an American cookbook in the 1800s. Part of its popularity comes from the fact that it ranges from the easiest thing to cook (when it comes from a box) to a high-scale dish made with fancy ingredients. There are endless variations!

  1. Fortune Cookies

Although fortune cookies are associated with “American” Chinese food, they were actually first made in San Francisco and were popularized around the world afterward. These thin, vanilla-flavored cookies are baked with a hollow inside. Before you eat them, crack them open to reveal a slip of paper with a fortune written on it! The easiest way to try fortune cookies is by ordering takeout from any Chinese restaurant in the United States.

  1. Popcorn

Popcorn comes from using steam to expand a corn kernel, which then becomes a puffy, tasty snack. Popcorn can be made at home in the microwave or on the stove but is also traditionally eaten at movie theaters and sports games.

  1. Lobster Rolls

Lobster rolls are a very popular sandwich found in New England, a region in the northwest area of the United States that has a thriving lobster and crabbing industry. Lobster meat is covered in butter, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and pepper, and served on a grilled hot-dog style bun. Lobster rolls are served hot or cold, depending on where you are and are often eaten with potato chips or French fries.

  1. S’mores

S’mores are a dessert so good, they are named after the phrase “some more!” They consist of a marshmallow toasted over a campfire and a piece of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers (another American food, a cookie-like treat). They are traditionally made while camping but can be made at home too.

  1. Apple Pie

The recipe for apple pie did not originate in America, but the dessert has become an icon for American culture. Apple pie is served by the slice at bakeries, sold as an entire pie at grocery stores, and can even be made at home by an ambitious baker. It can be eaten cold, but is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

  1. BLTs

BLTs are a popular lunch-time sandwich that contains bacon, lettuce, and a slice of tomato on toast. Sometimes other ingredients like mayonnaise, avocado, or cheese is added. These can be found at many restaurants and can be made very easily at home!

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are exactly what they sound like—cookies that are dotted with little morsels of chocolate. They were invented by an American chef who owned an inn and decided her cookies were too boring. Chocolate chip cookies can be found at any grocery store, baked or in dough form to be baked at home, but they are far better when they are homemade!

  1. Cheeseburger

Cheeseburgers are fried patties of ground beef topped with different varieties of melted cheese between a hamburger bun. Toppings range from grilled onions and mushrooms to bacon and even fried eggs. Many restaurants get creative with different variations of this dish, but it can be found at most American restaurants.

  1. Deep-dish Pizza

Deep-dish pizza is a variety of pizza unique to Chicago. The pizza is baked in a pan, giving it a very tall crust and lots of room for fillings. Layers of cheese are placed on the bottom, and the sauce appears on top. Although this kind of pizza is known as ‘Chicago-style,’ it can be found at certain chain restaurants in other cities too.

  1. Chicken & Waffles

The most popular variety of the dish consists of a thick, fluffy waffle topped with butter and syrup, served with juicy, fried chicken. It can be found in specific restaurants in cities around the country.

Join one of Greenheart Exchange’s programs for a taste of these American foods!