Foodies on the hunt for new and exciting street-food hotspots are flocking to the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, in search of quintessential, all-American culinary experiences.
From the iconic thin-crust pizza slices found on every street corner of New York to the smell of Chicago-style hot dogs wafting through the air, North America has plenty to offer travelling food lovers, and is worth exploring for its famous cuisine alone.
Here’s a mouth-watering list of some of the best eateries and foodie hotspots the USA has to offer, which are guaranteed to satisfy any hunger and thirst for some good old-fashioned American food heaven.
Pizza perfection in the Big Apple
New York, otherwise known as ‘Pizza Town’ and home of the deliciously cheesy, pleasantly greasy ‘dollar slice’, is the ultimate destination to visit if you’re after a pizza experience that covers all the bases.
While the city is filled with contemporary pizzerias touting some less-than-conventional toppings, there’s no replacement for the classic pizza – a hand-tossed thin base with thick and crispy edges, layered with a light smearing of tomato sauce and generous sprinkling of full-fat mozzarella cheese.
Di Fara in Brooklyn is an old-school family-owned pizza shop serving up pies that come with a simple, traditional sauce and topped with a blend of Grana Padano, mozzarella, parmesan, and a touch of basil to bring the flavour together.
Sink your teeth into a Chicago-style hot dog
The humble hot dog has come a long way from its roots during the Great Depression, when it was favoured more as a cheap meal than a city-wide delicacy. However, hot dogs are considered a symbol of Chicagoan culture today, the best of which feature an all-beef hot dog on a steamed poppy seed bun, topped with yellow mustard, relish, pickles, chopped onions, and hot peppers.
If that description has you salivating already, then Big Guys Sausage Stand in Berwyn is the place to go to satisfy your craving for ‘blue collar gourmet food’. Along with traditional red hots, Big Guys also serves up a sumptuous selection of speciality sausages to grab for the road.
A tip for Chicago tourists: never order ketchup with your dog – Chicagoans consider this an absolute culinary insult!
Crack into a Dungeness crab in San Francisco
If you’ve never tried Dungeness crab before, make sure you visit the Bay Area to sample the sweetest, most sensational crustacean meat you’ve ever tasted. San Francisco, or ‘SF’ as the cool kids know it, is famous for churning out deliciously buttery crab dishes, including everything from crab cakes to risottos, salads and many other glorious variations.
Ferry Plaza Seafood focuses on sustainable seafood offerings where patrons can get their Dungeness crab fix for lunch or dinner. The crab Caesar salad and Dungeness crab cakes are a lunchtime favourite. With crab season underway (October – December), the restaurant also serves up incredibly buttery whole chilled crabs, as well as sautéed crab with garlic and parsley.
Grab a slice of Boston cream pie
Boston cream pies are actually more cake-like in texture and taste, but no one seems to mind what they’re called – the most important thing to know is that they are delicious!
Boston cream pies consist of a yellow butter cake filled with custard or cream and topped with a decadent chocolate glaze, and Mike’s Pastry on the North End is where to find the best ones.
Mike’s was born in 1946 and is known as a Boston monument. People come from far and wide for a slice of Mike’s heavenly pies among many other famous baked goods, with queues often winding around the building and into street. While you’re there, be sure to pick up some cannoli’s and a few of their decadent pastries as a snack for the ride home.
The famous French Dip sandwich is an L.A. favourite that, like many other iconic dishes, comes from humble beginnings. The French Dip is a gloriously messy French roll filled with roast beef and dipped in jus to give its delightfully moist texture.
The idea came about after the owner of Cole’s – the originator of the French Dip Sandwich – decided to moisten the sandwich for an elderly patron with sore gums. Other patrons caught a glimpse of this dish and requested it too, giving rise to the famous French Dip deli sandwich. While the French Dip is the most loved dish on the menu, Cole’s also gets rave reviews for its garlic fries and fabulously spicy pickles.