Food tripping across the U.S.: Sampling local delicacies from state to state

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Trying a destination’s local cuisine has always been one of those must-experience parts of traveling. Most frequent travelers recommend sampling your travel destination’s specialty dishes at least once. If you’re in Thailand, for example, you should give the Pad Thai a taste.

Have you ever considered, though, that you don’t need to travel to another country to try curious delicacies that you’d be hard pressed to find in your neighborhood? No, this isn’t about the local fare in places like Chinatown or Greektown. This is all about the U.S. and the sheer variety in local flavor that can be found from state to state.

The thing about traveling in the U.S. is that it’s relatively easy. If you’re seriously thinking about trying the many local delicacies that are being served in these United States, here’s a seven-state sampling taken from Lonely Planet’s complete 50-state list.

Alaska – Caribou steak started out as a part of the traditional Eskimo staple diet. Nowadays, you can order farmed caribou steaks from a number of restaurants in Anchorage. While you’re there, you might also want to try the reindeer burgers.

Maine – Lobster is the main dish in Maine. Fishing remains a large industry in Maine so it’s easy to find lobsters fresh from the sea. Lonely Planet recommends eating these “the way they’re meant to be eaten,” which means freshly boiled lobster served with hot clarified butter.

Minnesota – The state’s strong Nordic heritage shines through in lutefisk, an aged and lye-soaked whitefish dish. The lutefisk has a gelatinous texture and a strong, pungent odor. It’s an acquired taste, so there’s no shame in not being able to finish it all in one go.

Florida – Restaurants across South Florida usually offer key lime pie as a specialty. These pies, which are made from key lime juice, condensed milk, and a meringue topping, are an iconic Floridian dish.

Washington – If Maine is all about lobster, then Washington is salmon country. Fat sockeye salmon can be found in the rivers that crisscross the state, so they can usually be found on local tables and menus as well.

Hawaii – Spam musubi is a snack food that can be equated to Japan’s iconic sushi. Instead of fish, though, this Hawaiian specialty has grilled Spam on sushi rice wrapped in dried seaweed.

These six dishes are but a sampling of the many specialties that can be found across the entire U.S. If you plan on trying all of them, remember to pace yourself. There are 50 states, after all.


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