The contiguous United States spans just under 3 million square miles, bringing incredible sights at every turn . With world-famous roadways crisscrossing the landscape, it’s easy to see almost every corner of the country from the comfort of your RV. When searching for vacation ideas during COVID, many families are opting for RVing. When you’re ready to venture out of the RV kitchen, it’s time to explore the regional foods all around you! We hope you’re hungry because we’re digging into some of the most interesting and delicious US regional foods to try on your next cross-country road trip.
Unique Eats for Your American Food Road Trip
When most people think of American food, they think of burgers and fries. You’ll find plenty of burgers and fries on the road, but there are also regional foods that change along with the landscape. There are classics like soulful southern food, spicy food in the Southwest, hearty hot dishes in the Midwest, and seafood-focused dishes from the Northeast. Some states and regions may also have unique cuisine all their own, making it easy to enjoy authentic international flavors without a passport and creative dishes right around the corner.
Here are 15 of the most unique regional foods to try on your American food road trip:
- Frito Pie. This dish is often described as nachos in a bag, it’s generally chili with Fritos on top. It may also include cheese, onions, or other toppings you’d typically put on chili. It can be served in a normal bowl or it’s often served in the Frito bag itself, cut open. It’s synonymous with the Southwest, with Texas and New Mexico both claiming to have invented the dish .
- Hot Fried Chicken. Served in a spicy sandwich, hot chicken is a Nashville staple that often includes some pickles to offset the heat of the chicken. Its fried chicken coated in a cayenne-heavy sauce, served on white bread. After enjoying a plate of your favorite, don’t forget to stop by our Nashville RV dealership!
- Cincinnati Chili. This regional chili combines ground beef with unique spices including cinnamon for a spicy yet sweet flavor combination. Originally developed by Macedonian immigrant Tom Kiradjieff, this chili is usually on top of a hot dog (aka a coney) or spaghetti and topped with tons of cheese .
- Beignets. These fried pastries are a New Orleans staple. They’re a fried dough, usually pâte à choux, that is then topped with powdered sugar for a crispy, chewy, and sweet balance.
- Huckleberry. Huckleberries grow throughout Montana, and these little berries have a big following throughout the region. They usually taste sweet or tart, with red huckleberries tasting more tart. Many local restaurants serve huckleberry pastries or jams.
- Lobster Rolls. A traditional lobster roll consists of fresh lobster meat on a bun, often resembling a hotdog bun, and various toppings or sauces. This Northeastern dish is served in several ways, including hot or cold. Both bring a delicious combination of lobster and additional toping like slaw or butter.
- Fry Bread. This dish has a rich history among Native Americans, with the Navajo tribe creating this dish over 150 years ago . It’s a dish the tribe created with the supplies they had on hand and has become popular throughout the Southwest. On its own, it tastes like fried dough, and can often be made sweet or savory with unique toppings.
- Fried Green Tomatoes. This dish is synonymous with a complete Southern meal and also has a Pennsylvania Dutch counterpart. They’re typically slightly sour and deliciously crispy and often come with a dipping sauce.
- Cheese Curds. Cheese curds aren’t specific to the USA, but they’ve been perfected in a fried snack that hails from Wisconsin. For flavor, think crunchy fried coating with chewy and salty cheese in the middle. Yum!
- Marionberry Pie. This pie is popular in the Pacific Northwest and uses the marionberry, a hybrid berry that was developed in the 1940s using Olallie and Chehalem berries . It’s often baked into a pie for a sweet yet tart filling.
- Clam Apizza. This Connecticut staple has been a popular dish since its invention in the 1960s and combines nearby Rhode Island clams with Naples-style pizza . It’s a delicious combination of local ingredients and immigrant renditions of dishes from home.
- Key Lime Pie. Few things are as Floridian as Key Lime Pie. This tart yet sweet dish can be found all throughout the Sunshine State, so be sure to try a slice while you’re visiting our Florida RV resort!
- Sonoran Hot Dog. This unique hot dog is popular in Tucson and Phoenix and combines refried beans, avocados, tomatoes, jalapenos, and mayonnaise all on top of a hot dog that’s wrapped in bacon. Try one near our Tucson RV dealership and our Phoenix RV dealership!
- Mission Burrito. While some nationwide fast-casual chains offer the mission-style burritos, nothing compares to the San Francisco original. Fresh ingredients are piled high in a large tortilla and then wrapped tightly, and many restaurants in the dish’s birthplace have unique variants on this dish.
- Pastrami Sandwich. This NYC deli classic starts with cured deli meat that’s seasoned with garlic, coriander, cloves, allspice, mustard seed, pepper, and paprika. Typically, it’s piled high on rye bread and can be found in many delis, especially in New York City.
These are some of the best cross-country road trip foods, bringing a combination of local ingredients and state-specific culture to the plate. America is a beautifully diverse country that brings people from all around the world to visit and live, and their creativity combines with delicious local ingredients for uniquely American flavors that you’ve got to taste to believe.
With so many different regions, ingredients, and flavors to enjoy, America is the perfect place for your foodie road trip. If you’re looking to cook in your RV, there are many local ingredients you can pick up along the way to enjoy in the comfort of your RV.
Explore more road trip ideas here on the Lazydays RV blog!