50 Signature Dishes that Define American Cuisine

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While there is debate over whether distinctly American cuisine exists, the country undeniably has many iconic dishes adopted from immigrants or invented here, from burgers to tacos. These are foods that reflect our melting-pot origins and signal our appreciation for fare that’s flavorful and unpretentious — comforting, it might be said.

America’s massive size also allows diverse local specialties tied to specific cities or regions.

24/7 Tempo has consulted scores of civic and regional websites and online food history resources to identify the signature dishes from 50 American municipalities, ranging from the biggest metropolises to tiny towns.

Some are famous countrywide, like Buffalo wings and Key lime pie, while others remain largely unknown outside their place of origin, like chislic or the Horseshoe Sandwich.

The local foods sometimes put unique spins on familiar dishes like barbecue and pizza. (Here are the strangest foods from every state.)

Whether nationally beloved or locally cherished, these signature dishes express America’s individuality and diversity, and are worth tasting where they originated.

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