Americans From The East To West Coast Have Revealed Their State’s Most Iconic Dish

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A state dish is often a great source of pride in American eateries. And while the majority of them can’t exactly be described as nutritional – they do taste good. So from chicken-fried steaks to sugar cream pies, here’s a look at the foods you should expect to see on restaurant menus in 40 different states. Get ready for that warm, fuzzy feeling.

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40. Alabama – Alabama Lane cake

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A favorite at weddings, functions and holidays in the South, Alabama Lane cake was invented in the late 19th Century by Emma Rylander Lane. The Alabama native won a county fair prize in Columbus with its blend of pecans, raisins, coconut and bourbon-laced sponge. She later published the recipe in her own cookbook titled A Few Good Things to Eat.

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39. Alaska – Salmon

Alaska is renowned for its vast array of cold-water seafood including halibut, cod, crab, trout and pollock. But when it comes to gorging on their own supply, its natives largely prefer salmon. The state’s coastal waters are home to many different species, including pink salmon, aka humpies, and coho salmon. And grilling it to perfection is often the locals’ favourite way to serve.

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38. Arizona – Chimichangas

Debate still rages on as to who’s responsible for Arizona’s state dish. Some believe that Monica Flin, owner of an eatery named El Charro in the 1920s, invented chimichangas when she deep fat fried a burrito by accident. Others argue that it’s the brainchild of Woody Johnson, the Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen founder. Either way, the calorific food has become a staple of Tex-Mex menus everywhere.

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37. California – Avocado toast

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The humble avocado may have become synonymous with millennium culture. But Californians have been eating the fruit since the 19th century. The southern part of the state now produces a whopping 95 percent of America’s avocados. And one of the most popular ways of eating it is by spreading it on toast. Don’t forget the odd fried egg, slice of bacon or tomato to go with, though.

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36. Colorado – Rocky Mountain oysters

You wouldn’t expect oysters to be a favorite at the Colorado Rockies’ home of Coors Field. And actually, they’re not. Yes, despite their name Rocky Mountain oysters are in fact deep-fried and thinly-sliced calves’ testicles. The unusual dish is also a popular delicacy at rodeos and restaurants across the Centennial State.

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35. Delaware – Scrapple

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The state of Delaware is so enamored with scrapple that it even has a festival dedicated to the foodstuff. Also known as pan rabbit, the meatloaf-style dish is made by mushing buckwheat and cornmeal flour together with spices and scraps of pork. The congealed substance is then sliced and pan-fried.

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34. Florida – Key lime pie

Few states are prouder of their dish than Florida. In 2006 legislation was passed by its House of Representatives and Senate which made Key lime pie the Sunshine State’s official pie. The mix of sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and lime juice is named in honor of the tiny Key limes that can be found in the Florida Keys.

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33. Georgia – Peaches

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Georgia began producing a bounty of peaches as far back as the late 16th century. Little wonder then that it’s known as the Peach State. Visit any Georgian eatery and you’re likely to find a range of peach-based dishes on their dessert menus, from peach cobbler to peach upside down cake.

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32. Hawaii – Poke

There are many forms of poke, the traditional raw fish dish that’s integral to the cuisine of Native Hawaiians. Served as either a main course or appetizer, it can be made from skipjack tuna, octopus and raw salmon and is typically mixed with seaweed, sea salt and candlenut. It first became a common delicacy in the Aloha State in the 1970s, but since the early 2010s it has also grown in popularity across North America.

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31. Illinois – Pumpkins

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No less than 85 percent of all pumpkins consumed in America hails from the state of Illinois. The winter squash may be more renowned for its decorative purposes at Halloween than its taste. But in recent years, thanks to the likes of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte, it’s become something of a trendy flavor.

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30. Indiana – Sugar cream pie

Indiana’s take on the sugar pie was developed by the Quaker settlers who in the 19th century arrived from North Carolina. Made from butter, flour, salt, cream, vanilla and brown sugar, the caramel-like dessert has remained popular in the Hoosier State since. In fact, the Winchester-based Wick’s Pies produces three-quarters of a million sugar cream pies each year.

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29. Kansas – Bierock

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Dough balls filled with ground beef, onions and cabbage, Bierocks were brought over to the United States by Eastern Europeans in the mid-19th century. Many of these immigrants settled in Kansas. And so the pocket sandwich soon became a popular delicacy in the Wheat State, particularly at its small-town diners.

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28. Kentucky – Hot Brown

Created in 1926 by Fred K. Schmidt at a Louisville hotel, the Hot Brown is Kentucky’s answer to Welsh rarebit. It soon became a sensation at the Brown Hotel where it was reportedly ordered by 95 percent of diners. The open-faced sandwich usually consists of bacon and either turkey or chicken drenched in Mornay sauce.

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27. Louisiana – Gumbo

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One of the most multicultural American state dishes, Gumbo is a melting pot of French, Spanish, African, German and Choctaw cuisines. Popularized in the late 19th century, the Louisiana soup consists of shellfish or meat stock, thickener, onions, bell peppers and celery. It became even more synonymous with the Pelican State in the 1970s when it was served at the U.S. Senate to honor Allen Ellender, a Louisiana senator.

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26. Maine – Lobster rolls

A hot dog bun filled with drawn butter-soaked lobster meat, Maine’s state dish became a popular roadside snack in the 1970s. It has since made its way onto seafood restaurants across the New England region. In fact, in the summertime there you can even find lobster rolls on the limited edition menu in McDonald’s.

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25. Maryland – Blue crab

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Also known as the Atlantic blue crab and the Chesapeake blue crab, Maryland’s official state crustacean is a firm favorite at seafood shacks across Little America. The blue crab is renowned for its tenderness and sweet taste. And it’s perhaps best served with a dip or as crab cakes.

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24. Massachusetts – New England clam chowder

There are many variations on clam chowder, a broth containing potatoes, celery, onions and, of course, clams. But many believe that the original, hailing from 18th century Massachusetts, remains the best. Brought to the state by settlers from Britain, France and Nova Scotia, clam chowder has become a popular Friday alternative to meat with American Catholic diners.

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23. Minnesota – Juicy Lucy

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For many, the Juicy Lucy is the ultimate cheeseburger. As its name suggests, it boasts a juicy center thanks to the cheese which is sealed inside two layers of meat patties. This distinctive spin on the humble cheeseburger originates from Minnesota, although two different restaurants claim to have invented it.

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22. Missouri – Toasted ravioli

Despite its name, Missouri’s state dish isn’t actually toasted but deep-fried. The calorific spin on the pasta type was invented by accident in the 1940s in the Italian neighborhood of St. Louis known as The Hill. According to legend, Major League Baseball star Joe Garagiola’s brother Mickey was the first ever to sample the delicacy.

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21. Montana – Huckleberries

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Huckleberries were initially used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans. The small, round fruits were said to be useful in treating various infections and ailments. But they have since become a staple of pies, puddings and a whole host of other sweet dishes and are particularly popular in Montana where they are nicknamed the purple gem.

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20. Nebraska – Runza

Filled with beef, onions and sauerkraut, runza is a type of bread pocket that can be baked in triangles, squares, circles and half-moons. Also known as the bierock, fleischkuche and krautburger, the Russian-German dish has become synonymous with the state of Nebraska. In fact, it’s been hailed “as Nebraskan as Cornhusker football” by some commentators.

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19. Nevada – Shrimp cocktail

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The shrimp cocktail may be regarded as a culinary relic by some. But the state of Nevada is still proud to call the appetizer its own. The glass of prawns covered in cocktail sauce first swept the state in the late 1950s on the Las Vegas casino scene. And you should always find it on menus in the Silver State.

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18. New Hampshire – New England boiled dinner

New Hampshire likes to keep it very traditional when it comes to their state dish. The origins of their favored boiled dinner stems all the way back to colonial times. The hearty meal consists of various root vegetables all boiled together with either smoked ham or corned beef in the same pot. Not exactly gourmet.

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17. New Jersey – Pork roll

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Often compared with the similarly-textured spam, pork roll is a processed meat that you’ll often find on a breakfast roll in the Garden State. It was invented by New Jersey native John Taylor way back in 1856 and is typically pan-fried. In 2015 Joey Chestnut took just 10 minutes to scoff 32 pork roll sandwiches at the World Famous Case’s Pork Roll Eating Championship held by minor league baseball team, The Trenton Thunder.

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16. New Mexico – Chiles

New Mexicans love their green and red Hatch chiles so much you wouldn’t be surprised to find them in their desserts, too. The official state vegetable is best consumed as part of a spicy sauce. And if you’re feeling brave you can also opt to have the Christmas blend with your meal, aka a mix of both.

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15. New York – Bagels

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The most popular form of bagel in the United States, the New York bagel originated from the Big Apple’s Jewish community in the 19th century. It’s renowned for being doughy and soft on the inside but crisp to perfection on the outside. Bagel purists recommend eating it with egg, cheese and bacon.

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14. North Dakota – Chippers

Potato chips and chocolate might not sound like the most suitable bedfellows on paper. But North Dakota natives know that it’s actually a perfect combination. Developed by Carol Widman’s Candy, one of the state’s premier confectioners, chippers have become a hugely popular snack for those wanting something both sweet and salty.

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13. Ohio – Buckeyes

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The Ohio state tree these are named after might be highly poisonous. But the only damage that buckeyes can do is to your waistline. The sweet treats are pieces of peanut butter fudge covered partially in delicious chocolate. And they have been a popular home baking favorite since the 1960s.

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12. Oklahoma – Chicken-fried steak

Chicken-fried steak is essentially Oklahoma’s answer to the South American/Italian Milanese and Austria’s Wiener schnitzel. It gets its name from the breaded, flour-seasoned and pan-fried techniques more associated with chicken than tenderized beefsteaks. It’s a particularly popular dish in Oklahoma where it became part of the official state meal in 1988.

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11. Pennsylvania– Cheesesteaks

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Pennsylvania natives Harry and Pat Olivieri first began selling hot dogs before accidentally stumbling on an alternative which would make their name. Their grilled onion and chopped beef sandwich became so popular that they had to open a special restaurant to accommodate demand. Pat’s King of Steaks in Philadelphia remains open today and now with added provolone cheese, their concoction has become renowned as the cheesesteak.

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10. South Carolina – Chicken bog

Chicken bog doesn’t sound like the most appetizing of meals. But, in fact, it’s a delicious combination of rice, onion and spices complete with a whole boiled chicken. Some chefs prefer to take the inedible parts of the bird out before serving, while others invite diners to embrace the Caribbean way and pick at it. It’s particularly popular in South Carolina where there’s even a yearly festival dedicated to the pilaf dish.

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9. South Dakota – Frybread

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There’s nothing misleading about the name of South Dakota’s official state bread. Frybread is a flat dough bread which is deep-fried in either lard or oil. It’s also a versatile food. You can cut it in half and fill it with beans, ground beef and cheese to make an alternative to the taco. Or you can simply top it with some honey or sugar for a simple sweet treat.

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8. Tennessee – Nashville Hot Chicken

Country music isn’t the only thing that Nashville has given to the world. It’s also responsible for Tennessee’s state dish, fried chicken marinated in flour and seasoning and topped with a spicy sauce. Nashville hot chicken is typically served on top of white bread slices with a side order of pickle chips.

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7. Texas – Chile con carne

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Fajitas, burritos, tacos. Texas has given us a whole host of delicious hybrid foods in the cuisine known as Tex-Mex. But their most popular is undoubtedly chili con carne. A must-have at any tailgating party, the spicy stew typically contains beef, chili peppers and tomatoes. However, whether beans should be added to the mix is a source of great debate.

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6. Utah – Fry sauce

Typically two parts mayonnaise to one part tomato ketchup, fry sauce isn’t particularly difficult to recreate. But what it lacks in sophistication it makes up for in taste. A popular accompaniment to French fries in the state of Utah, the sauce was created by Salt Lake City native Don Carlos Edwards back in the mid-20th century. It remains a popular choice at the Arctic Circle restaurant chain he helped to build.

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5. Vermont – Maple syrup

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Responsible for more than 1.3 million U.S. gallons of the stuff, Vermont is America’s biggest maple syrup producer. Derived from the maple trees that populate the Green Mountain State, the sweet stuff is most commonly poured over pancakes and waffles. But Vermont natives believe the best way to eat it is with snow.

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4. Washington, D.C. – Half-smokes

If you fancy a hot dog that’s spicier, bigger and more rough-textured then you should head to Washington, D.C. That’s where you’ll find the half-smoke, a mixture of beef and pork, onions, herbs and chili sauce all served on a bun. Ben’s Chili Bowl has become the most prominent half-smoke establishment having served Barack Obama back in 2009.

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3. West Virginia – Pepperoni roll

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If you’re looking for another alternative to the hot dog, then West Virginia has got you covered. The pepperoni roll is stocked at pretty much every convenience store in the Mountain State. The snack food consists of a white roll which thanks to its pepperoni filling becomes suffused with spicy oils during the baking process.

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2. Wisconsin – Deep-fried cheese curds

If you’ve ever visited a fair or carnival in Wisconsin, chances are you’ll have inhaled the inviting aroma of deep-fried cheese curds. Often accompanied by lashings of marinara sauce, tomato ketchup or ranch dressing, the tasty snack has become a favorite of the Badger State. You will also find them on the menu of one of its most famous restaurant chains, Culver’s.

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1. Wyoming – Jerky

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The trimmed, stripped and dried meat known as jerky can be made from all types of animals. Alongside the more traditional cow, pig and lamb, the snack food has also been produced from deer, kangaroo and even crocodile. But Wyoming, which many believe to be the true home of jerky, prefers bison.

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