One South Carolina native remembers eating boiled peanuts as a snack all the time growing up. But in their new home in Texas, it’s an eyebrow-raiser. They took to the internet to ask which foods are regional in the U.S. without us even knowing it, and Americans responded.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: A Slice of Reality
Pizza is a staple across much of the US, but it doesn’t look the same across the board. “The Southeast does have a lot of pizza places, usually run by transplants from the Northeast,” says an East Coast native. “When I moved to Missouri, I couldn’t find any pizza except for chain places.”
2: Far From Home
One commenter says “scrapple” is a delicacy they haven’t been able to find outside of their hometown. Described as a cross between Spam and meatloaf, many commenters rallied in disappointment for its lack of availability outside of Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
3: Sweet Treat
One commenter from Appalachia says nobody believes them when they mention chocolate gravy. Another local agrees. “Chocolate gravy with buttermilk biscuits and bacon!!!! Best breakfast, in my opinion.”
4: Not Quite
One Massachusetts native says they’re surprised by the lack of quahogs, a clam-like food, outside of their home state. “I worked in a handful of restaurants in Cape Cod growing up. The funniest thing was listening to tourists try to pronounce quahog for the first time.”
5: Hamming It Up
“Pork Roll/Taylor Ham is largely a New Jersey meat product,” says one commenter. One NOVA native thinks you can find it elsewhere, but it’s a niche product. “It’s absolutely delicious, though. I wish they served it in restaurants like Waffle House.”
6: Pricey Tacos
One commenter who grew up in California says the concept of a “high-end Mexican restaurant” was unheard of to his out-of-towner friend. “He looked at me like I was trying to pull one over on him. He had only ever heard of cheap Mexican places and Taco Bell.”
7: Special Sandwiches
As a San Jose native, one learned that “Dutch crunch bread” at sandwich places is a regional thing. Another commenter agrees, “I didn’t realize this until I went to college out of state, and none of my foodie roommates knew what I was talking about.”
8: Missing Meats
One Pennsylvanian said while it’s not specific to their area, they were surprised to learn that pierogi and kielbasa aren’t an everyday meal throughout the country.
9: Fishy Situation
One Washington native said they were surprised with how regional salmon is. “In many states, you mostly get frozen Atlantic Salmon. Washington has five species of salmon you can get fresh, none of which are Atlantic.”
“Friday fish fry,” says one commenter, who didn’t realize the traditional dinner was regional until they left their hometown. “Specifically, the Friday fish fry meal with french fries (or another potato side), coleslaw, tartar sauce, and rye bread. It’s amazing how that specific meal has increased across the state.”
11: Topping Trouble
“As a pre-teen, going to Texas to order pizza and getting puzzled looks as to what green chile is and why you would want it on pizza,” one commenter said. They also remember seeing boiled peanuts on a road trip for the first time and thinking how unappetizing it looked.
12: Getting Cheesy
One person misses being able to find fresh, squeaky cheese curds. Another agrees, “Wisconsin is where I really learned to appreciate the cheese curd. Had poutine there. How is THAT not more popular here?!”
13: Love Me Tender
“I realized they were regional, but I wish tenderloin sandwiches would spread out [to more states],” one commenter said. “Never get them in my part of Kansas.” Someone added that they are in the Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri areas.
14: Sour Traditions
One commenter remembers a specific summer fair food that people don’t eat elsewhere in the States. “You cut a nice cold lemon in half and stick a porous peppermint stick in it. Then, you drink the juice from the lemon through the peppermint stick like a straw. It’s very refreshing and summery; the sugar dissolves into the lemon juice as you’re drinking it.”
15: Just Like Home
“Seattle-style teriyaki shops,” one commenter says. “They are all over Seattle, and I never realized for a long time just how hard it is to find Seattle-style teriyaki out of the area.”
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