The United States has a very diverse culinary culture. From shrimp and grits in the southeast, to New England clam chowder, to Midwestern cheese curds, food styles in this country vary as much as the people and landscapes in it. Consider the food map below:

(Click to enlarge)

 When you set out to define each state’s food so precisely, there are bound to be problems. For instance, while lime Jell-O is Utah’s “official” regional food in print, not many people there eat it and a lot of the locals will tell you Utah’s true claim to culinary fame is fry sauce. This week’s poll asks: do you agree with your state’s regional food? Yes or no? Do you even recognize it? If not, what do you consider to be your state’s regional food? Vote below and explain in the comments.

[poll id=”249″]

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My name is Sam and all I care about is food.

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30 Responses

  1. mark

    Had to vote No, while New York City style pizza is a big deal nationally, the remainder of the state is far too diverse to be lumped under the pizza banner

  2. nottom

    They were close for NC as barbecue is correct, but missed the mark as it should clearly be pulled pork (with a splash of vinegar-based sauce) and not a slab of ribs.

  3. nottom

    I’d also add that although Shrimp and Grits are mentioned in the write-up, they don’t appear on the map and would be a much better choice for SC than Benne Wafers which I’m sure most have never even heard of. (Grits are even the official SC State food!).

  4. Cameron

    Nottom is right in both cases–the NC barbeque is not pictured correctly, and granted, I only lived in the Upstate for a few years, but have no idea what the wafers are—my vote is also for grits.

  5. Eick

    Ok, I get the Ben & Jerry’s connection for VT, but maple syrup for New Hampshire? C’mon. Vermont should clearly be maple syrup.

    Also, is someone really trying to argue pizza SHOULDN’T represent NY? I mean c’mon, I know the rest of the state outside of NYC is “diverse” but what food represents NY better than pizza? You go anywhere west or upstate and there’s NY style pizza all over the place. What would challenge it? Buffalo wings? That seems even more niche.

  6. Smokin'

    I agree with the comments: NY – floppy pizza and Vermont = maple syrup.

    Minnesota would be better represented by Pickled Herring. We do have the largest state fair ever, so understand about the food on the stick, but that’s only true for a few weeks around Labor Day.

  7. Kath

    Yes! Wisconsin is all about it’s cheese. The only American company that makes Limburger cheese is in Monroe, WI. And nothing beats squeaky cheese curds from the farmer’s market!

  8. Adam

    Texas = Steak no doubt about it.

    I also agree with Nottom. NC is pulled pork. Dry rubed ribs is Memphis style BBQ.

  9. Sam

    Smokin’ – I’ve never heard of pickled herring, and I grew up in Minnesota. Then again, we only eat fried food on a stick once a year. So I guess I don’t know what our food would be. Hot dish, maybe.

    As for the hotly-contested Vermont labeling, I agree it should be syrup, if only because of the McDonald’s Fruit & Maple Oatmeal fiasco. A state that doesn’t allow you to print “maple” on your product because it doesn’t include real maple syrup in it is a true syrup devotee.

  10. onesogood

    Yes, upstate NY=buffalo wings, garbage plates, and the birthplace of jello. Oh, and THICK CRUST, SQUARE pizza slices. NY style may be available, but nobody eats it.

  11. Kayleigh

    I’m from Washington state, and apples I think represent our state well. I realize that’s what most people from other parts of the country think about from our state. Being a local, I would have picked salmon as our state food because that’s everywhere! Or maybe Dungeness Crab.
    Originally I’m from Iowa and I’ll say the map is far off the mark on that one. I’ve never had a loose meat sandwich, I’m assuming that’s like a sloppy joe? The state food of Iowa should be corn or a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich!

  12. Jeff in Middletucky

    As a longtime Cincinnati area resident, I would have to agree with the assessment that Ohio = Cincy chili, as I’m hard pressed to find another food item that gets as much national press as that does. Cincinnati also has goetta, but that’s pretty much a Cincinnati thing; Cleveland has its pierogi and kielbasi (and Polish food in general), but, again, I don’t think that gets the same amount of national press as does Cincy chili). One could also argue that both Graeter’s Ice Cream (based out of Cincinnati) and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream (in Columbus) get lots of national press coverage, but then those are specific food *brands*, not specific foods.

  13. Maryann

    Ok I get it. People associate Florida with oranges, but it is so much more. Key lime pie, real cuban sandwiches, grouper sandwiches a lot of fresh produce. Real Floridians love shrimp, oysters, and scallops made simply and eaten with just a squeeze of lemon or lime and eaten with ones fingers.

  14. Phil Lavoie

    The breaded pork tenderloin was invented in Huntington, Indiana at Nick’s Kitchen and Indiana has become quite proud of our pork deliciousness.

    When this is updated, I strongly urge you to consider this delicacy as our regional cuisine.

  15. Shannon

    Having the distinction of producing the best quality peaches is something that you will not see me try to argue against . They also play a role in our state’s economy, but I believe that was more so in the past. I kinda wish that the state was known for another food that it produces in greater abundance like one of the nuts that it produces. Btw, August is National Peach Month.

  16. Cynthia

    Texas – “beef, it’s what’s for dinner”. A truer slogan there never was. Surely Tex-Mex had to come in a close second, though….

  17. KSue

    Grapes for California is okay I guess representing fruit and wine… but I would think a big salad would be better with a side of SF Sourdough bread. 🙂

  18. Obbop

    It would likely be too “crowded” but the map would be more accurate if it showed the regional variations within states.

    For example, in southern Missouri, due to the ever-present wide-spread poverty, the backwardness of the humans infesting the region, the origins of the hordes of hillbillies and the oft-times large numbers of vile spawn… so many that parents lose count and track of their own younguns’, road-kill is a major source of proteins and Ma cooking up a pot of ‘possum stew one one of the older kids dragged in after following the sound made by the flys buzzing about the carcass.

    Such is life over yonder’ ;cross the hollers and ridges of the Ozark Plateau.

    Y’all come on over and hunker down for a spell and we will jaw about the dern’ Yankees and wonder when Pa will sober up and crawl out of his sleeping spot; the broken-down Chevy resting atop the concrete blocks in the front yard he considers to be the finest lawn ornament a shanty can have.

  19. zrockers

    Even though I think it’s absolutely disgusting, Minnesota’s should definitely be Lutefisk. The food on a stick at the state fair is great, but it is only for 12 days around Labor Day. Minnesota’s Nordic heritage runs deep all year long! SKOL VIKINGS

  20. b.e.

    I know this is a few years late, but I had to weigh in. California should have been AVOCADOS. We love them, grow them, and when you get something California-style it means they added avocado to it.


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