15 Must-Try American Dishes Everyone Gotta Try Once

Photo credits: Neil Conway via Flickr
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Get ready to embark on a culinary journey across the United States! 

Whether you’re a foodie eager to try something new or simply want to indulge in classic favorites, these 15 must-try American dishes are sure to delight your taste buds and give you a delicious glimpse into the nation’s rich culinary heritage.

1. Clam Chowder

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Spoon into the rich, creamy world of New England clam chowder. This iconic soup, filled with tender clams, potatoes, and onions, has been warming hearts since the early 18th century.

It’s a must-sip experience that encapsulates the essence of the East Coast.

2. Bagels and Lox

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Experience a New York classic—bagels and lox. This delicious combo of a fresh, chewy bagel topped with cream cheese and silky smoked salmon is a city staple. It’s a taste of the Big Apple’s Jewish deli tradition that’s beloved nationwide.

3. Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

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Sink your teeth into Chicago’s deep-dish pizza, known for its thick crust and layers of cheese and sauce.

Born in the Windy City in the mid-20th century, this pizza is like no other, offering a hearty and filling twist on the Italian classic.

4. Texas Barbecue

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In Texas, barbecue is more than food—it’s a craft. Known for its slow-cooked brisket that’s smoked to perfection, Texas barbecue offers a melt-in-your-mouth experience that’s robust with flavors of smoke and spice.

5. Gumbo

Step into the rich culinary world of Louisiana with gumbo, a hearty Creole and Cajun stew that’s as flavorful as it is comforting.

Made with a roux base, a mix of vegetables, and often featuring both meat and seafood, gumbo is traditionally served over rice. Each spoonful is packed with history and the soul of the South.

6. Buffalo Wings

From the heart of Buffalo, NY, comes the ever-popular Buffalo wings. These deep-fried chicken wings coated in a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter are famously served with blue cheese dressing.

They’re a game-day essential!

7. Philly Cheesesteak

Savor the gooey goodness of a Philly cheesesteak. This sandwich features thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef and melted cheese in a long hoagie roll, often topped with onions and peppers. It’s a taste of Philadelphia that’s known worldwide.

8. Key Lime Pie

Treat yourself to a slice of Key lime pie, Florida’s signature dessert. Made with the juice of Key limes, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk in a graham cracker pie crust, this tart and sweet treat is a must-try.

9. Po’ Boys

Bite into a po’ boy, a staple of New Orleans cuisine. These overstuffed sandwiches are typically filled with fried seafood like shrimp or oysters and served on French bread. They’re a delicious embodiment of the Big Easy’s flavors.

10. Apple Pie

No list would be complete without apple pie. Declared a symbol of American prosperity and national pride, this dessert features a flaky crust with a sweet filling of apples, cinnamon, and sugar. It’s as American as, well, apple pie!

11. Jambalaya

Dig into jambalaya, a hallmark of Creole cooking. This one-pot dish features rice, meat (usually sausage, chicken, or seafood), vegetables, and a blend of seasonings. It’s a flavorful snapshot of Louisiana’s vibrant culinary scene.

12. Biscuits and Gravy

Indulge in the comfort of biscuits and gravy, a Southern breakfast favorite. Soft, flaky biscuits are smothered in creamy, savory gravy often made with sausage. It’s a hearty start to any day.

13. Cobb Salad

Enjoy a Cobb salad, straight from Hollywood. This main-dish American garden salad is typically made with chopped salad greens, tomato, crisp bacon, boiled eggs, chicken, avocado, chives, Roquefort cheese, and a red-wine vinaigrette.

14. Lobster Roll

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Embrace the taste of New England summer with a classic lobster roll. Popular especially in Maine, this delightful sandwich consists of fresh, succulent lobster meat lightly dressed with mayonnaise and packed into a toasted bun. It’s simple, fresh, and utterly delicious—a must-try for seafood lovers.

15. S’mores

Lastly, gather ’round the fire for some s’mores. This campfire treat, made by sandwiching a roasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate between two graham crackers, originated in the 1920s.

It’s a gooey must-eat that captures the fun of American outdoor adventures.

These dishes offer a taste of America’s diverse culinary traditions and are a must-try for anyone looking to experience the country’s rich food culture.