9 awesome regional US dishes you may not have heard of

Maggie Hoffman, Flickr

Ask a foreigner what they think American food is and all too often you’ll hear “hamburgers.” It’s a shame really, because this great nation made up of all different ethnic groups has produced a seriously incredible roster of regional dishes. Let’s take a look at a few of the most mouthwatering examples. What’s your favorite?

9 Pasties

Steve Dunham, Flickr

Where it’s from? Michigan

What is it? These tasty meat turnovers are originally an English treat. They’re stuffed with meat, vegetables and spices and give the chicken pot pie a run for its money in sheer flakiness, flavor and portability.

8 Scrapple

Kate Hopkins, Flickr

Where it’s from? Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, etc.

What is it? You don’t want to know. It looks like gray mush and is made with cornmeal, wheat flour, spices and all manners of throwaway pork scraps leftover from butchering. So why is it so awesome? Slice it, fry it and eat it with some eggs for breakfast and you’ll see.

7 Shoofly Pie

Cristina Bejarano, Flickr

Where it’s from? Pennsylvania (Lancaster Area)

What is it? A gooey, spiced molasses pie that should be slightly warmed and served with whipped cream. The Amish may not know how to hook up a wireless router, but they sure as hell know how to make great pie.

6 Cioppino

Maggie Hoffman, Flickr

Where it’s from? San Francisco

What is it? This fisherman’s dish can be prepared with a wide array of fish and/or shellfish with a tomato-ey broth and ample supply of fresh herbs. Serve with wine and hot sourdough bread for maximum dippage.

5 Spam Sushi

Guilhem Vellut, Flickr

Where it’s from? Hawaii

What is it? Grilled slices of spam, pressed onto sushi rice, covered with nori (seaweed) and often prepared or served with teriyaki sauce or spicy mayo.

4 Whoopie Pie

nikki, Flickr

Where it’s from? New England (Maine/Pennsylvania)

What is it? Have you ever eaten a Moon Pie? This is like the Whoopie Pie’s underachieving younger brother who has not yet grown to full flavor and maturity. The Whoopie Pie is a large dessert sandwich made with two soft cookies (most often chocolate-flavored but also done peanut-butter or pumpkin style among others) and a fluffy white filling which is usually reminiscent of marshmallow fluff.

3 Cheese Curds

Tim Wilson, Flickr

Where it’s from? Wisconsin

What is it? Cheese curds are formed as a by-product of the cheese-making process. Most are cheddar cheese curds, but they can also be made from mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Colby and other varietals. Curds have a rubbery texture and are best eaten fresh. Unfortunately cheese curds that show up in supermarkets all over the country are usually past their maximum freshness. Still not moving to Wisconsin, though.

2 Garbage Plate

Dennis Yang, Flickr

Where it’s from? New York State (Rochester, NY)

What is it? Choose from hamburger, sausage, chicken tenders, fried ham or another wonderful protein, then add beans, French fries or macaroni salad, then douse with mustard, hot sauce and onion, and add some white bread for a taste of heaven followed by a meal hangover you won’t soon forget.

1 Etouffee

jeffreyw, Flickr

Where it’s from? New Orleans

What is it? Classic Etouffee is made with crawfish, shrimp or crab in a thick sauce (a savory roux made with butter and flour) with onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic, topped with green onion and parsley and served over rice. It’s comfort food, classed up.