10 Weirdly Unique Regional Cuisines That Redefine American Food (From Sonoran Dogs to Funeral Potatoes)
Crispy fried chicken turned up to 11 with as much cayenne kick as a can of bear mace. Bacon-wrapped hot dogs in bread boats smothered in beans, cheese, and classic toppings. Marinated raw tuna steaks on a bed of sticky rice, avocado, scallions, and sesame seeds. So many calories, so little time. Sonoran Dogs, hot chicken, Poke, and other regional cuisines are OG food hacks.
Once you had to travel far and wide to try these local favorites. These days fulfilling your culinary bucket list can be easier, even if traveling isn’t. Food carts and restaurants can bring these unique flavors to a neighborhood near you. If not, there’s always the magic of the internet or a social distancing road trip. We devour our way through the most foodgasm-inducing regional cuisines in the U.S.
Check out Mandatory merch at our online shop!
Cover Photo: Katarina Mittáková / EyeEm (Getty Images)
Southwestern Sonoran Dogs
Sonoran dogs are one of the best late-night drunk foods ever invented, but they're good anytime or in a state of sobriety, too. A hot dog wrapped in bacon in a bread boat covered in beans, cheese, and loads of other toppings, and it all fits neatly in your hands.
Florida Key Lime Pie
A true key lime isn’t green, but it is sour, sweet, tangy, tart and much too tasty to be wasted by throwing in a person’s face. Of course, if you are ever pied in the face, remember to just smile and lick your lips.
Nashville Hot Chicken
The legend behind Nashville hot chicken is that a jealous woman made some super hot chicken to teach her disloyal man a lesson, but he loved it so much he opened a restaurant serving it. Whether you're honest or philandering, this spicy fried chicken always hits the spot.
Montana Rocky Mountain Oysters
Rocky Mountain oysters are deep fried bull testicles. While that might sound gross or disgusting, just remember real cowboys always carry snack sacks.
Maine Lobster Rolls
This dish consists of a grilled hot dog bun stuffed with chunks of fresh lobster meat lightly dressed in mayo. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll probably start growing a beard and planning a trip north to the land of lumberjacks and awesome lobster rolls.
Utah Funeral Potatoes
Popular in Utah and other places, this dish is a potato casserole with cheese, cream, and onions topped with chips or cornflakes. They’re so named because members of the LDS Church often serve the dish at funerals, though the filling dish hits the spot even if someone hasn’t kicked the bucket.
Poke is a popular Hawaiian dish of raw fish, fresh veggies and other toppings piled on a bed of sticky rice. Unlike some of the other foods on the this list, poke is actually healthy and delicious, the perfect Omega-3-rich brain food.
The Philly cheesesteak is the best thing to come out Philly since the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This classic can be modified in many ways, but at its heart it’s all about meat, cheese and those buns.
Navajo Nation Navajo Tacos
Navajo tacos are a popular dish known by many names across the country but it usually consists of fry bread, beef, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and other toppings. The Navajo Nation spans four states and is, unfortunately, being hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Show your support and donate to a relief fund by going to this site.
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
We love all kinds of pizza, but Chicago deep dish and stuffed pizzas are really in a food group all their own. Halfway between lasagna and pizza, these pies will leave you in a food coma for a week.