American Cuisine: 9 Traditional Foods of the USA
If you have been following this blog for a while you will have no doubt discovered some of the more bizarre foods the USA has to offer. You might have stumbled upon the deep-fried butter recipe or alligator kebabs for example. But aside from the weird and wonderful, America has developed some deep-rooted food traditions that have become popular all over the world.
We wanted to take a look at some of the classic American foods you might associate with good old USA. To really find out what are the dishes that most people would associate with America?
Here we have compiled a list of our top 9 most traditional foods of America. No doubt you will recognize most, if not all, of these. Happy eating!
1. Apple pie
As American as apple pie. So the saying goes!
Apple pie is the classic American dessert, so much so that it is regularly used as a synonym for Americanism! Just the words ‘apple pie’ conjure up images of white picket fences and good old fashioned home cooking.
There’s also a reason why it’s found on McDonald’s menus across the world! While everyone claims to serve ‘the best apple pie in America’, there are plenty of experts who’ve been searching for the best apple pie who can help you find the cream of the crop.
It goes without saying that apple pie is one of the most iconic American foods.
Now you might be surprised to learn that the American hamburger started out in Germany (Hamburg specifically), where immigrants to the new world brought along with them the Hamburg steak. It was the American’s idea, however, to put that steak in a bun and top it with cheese!
Therefore, we’re happy to say that hamburgers are 100% an American invention, one which has been exported throughout the entire globe. A symbol of fast-food and globalization of the rapidly changing 20th century, it’s impossible to separate the hamburger from the growing influence of the USA.
Some of the best burger chains in the US include Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger, so make sure you get your hands on one of these world-famous burgers for the real experience.
3. Texas Barbecue
Texas barbecue is world-famous, and it’s easy to see why. Texans pride themselves on cooking beautifully tender, flavorful meats that people travel all over the world to sample.
Whilst the barbecue itself isn’t an American invention, the US has no doubt taken it to new levels and the Texas Barbecue perfectly epitomises the American backyard cookout spirit.
Don’t forget the sides too – you can’t beat a good macaroni cheese or a helping of cornbread to complete a traditional American BBQ!
4. Macaroni and cheese
Speaking of which…
Macaroni and cheese (or Mac n Cheese) is considered the ultimate comfort food that can be eaten entirely on its own or as a tasty side to a whole host of other dishes. It is commonly bought as a frozen ready meal in grocery stores that can be prepared in no time at all, which is part of the reason for its popularity.
But the main reason is, of course, the deliciously cheesy pasta! What’s not to like?
5. Fried Chicken
Fried chicken is another of example of a food that wasn’t necessarily invented in America, but boy did it take off in the States! Many people associate American fried chicken with the state of Kentucky due to the huge multinational success of KFC. Did you know that the Japanese eat KFC on Christmas day because Christmas is a somewhat Western holiday and they associate fried chicken with the USA.
Of course, countries all over the world have their own variants of fried chicken, in Africa and Korea there are long-standing fried chicken traditions that pre-date KFC. But there is no doubt that fried chicken is firmly rooted in American history.
And with an abundance of fried chicken restaurants dominating the US food market, it’s impossible to not include it on the list of top American foods!
6. Californian Wine
Ok so not technically a food but California wine is one American export that has been so warmly received around the world that it definitely deserves its place on the list.
California wine is world-renowned and was first established in the 18th century by Spanish settlers who took advantage of the ideal Californian climate to plant vineyards. Today there are over 1,200 wineries in California, many that distribute wine all over the world.
Californian reds are some of the most popular with a wide range of pretty luxurious options as well as more affordable wins such as Troublemaker wine for example. California wine is quite probably the most classy of the American food and drink exports!
And straight from classy to… Twinkies!
Twinkies aren’t a traditional home cooked meal or a world-renowned export from America, but they are so deeply ingrained in day-to-day snacking habits of many Americans that it is impossible not to include them. You can now even buy Twinkies online if you’re not able to get them at your local grocery store.
A little bit unrefined, of course, Twinkies are a quick creamy sponge snack that is popular with both kids and adults alike. In fact, the popularity of the simple Twinkie is evident from features in popular blockbuster movies such as Ghostbusters, Die Hard and WALL-E!
8. Clam Chowder
Clam chowder originated on the East Coast of America and is now enjoyed throughout the country as a hearty traditional meal. Clam chowder is relatively unique to the USA since it isn’t a recipe popular anywhere else in the world. So it is fair to say that clam chowder is as American as apple pie!
Apparently most popular on Fridays when Catholics abstain from eating meat, clam chowder is readily available in restaurants throughout the US. The two most well-known types of clam chowder are “red” and “white”, the main differences being whether they are made from tomatoes or milk.
9. Buffalo Wings
The final all-American food to mention is of course… Buffalo wings!
How can a food with a US state in the name not be included in the list? Buffalo sauce is quite distinctive in flavor and act as a popular bar snack or appetizer across the country.
Buffalo wings have experienced some success outside of the USA, particularly in Europe, but consumption is nowhere near the levels of America where it is considered a real authentic American food.
Getting to try different dishes is a thrilling part of traveling. In the US, you’ll never be short of places to eat and tasty things to try, helping to add to your travel experience. With plenty of great American foods to add to your travel list, make sure you don’t leave without sampling some of the greats. What’s top of your American food list?