As a foodie I can’t get enough food. My travels aren’t complete without indulging in the local delicacies and trying a variety of meals wile backpacking through a country. Even in a country like the States there’s food that you just need to eat in order to have the ‘full experience’. In this article, I will share with you the top 10 most typical American foods you can eat, in my opinion.
Before getting on the plane that was going to take me to Florida, I was mentally preparing for 3 weeks of fast food, drive-thrus, super-sized portions, and free refills. Well, turned out, my thoughts weren’t that unrealistic. So, in this article I’d like to share with you the 10 most typical American foods that I think you should really try to eat when traveling in the United States.
The most typical American food you can eat
1. Hot Dogs
Whether you’re watching a baseball game at a stadium or if you just got off the Staten Island Ferry in New York, you can’t go to the States without eating a hot dog. Preferably the ‘real deal’ which includes ketchup, mustard & sauerkraut. Can it get more American? Of course, I had to try for myself and I ate 2 hot dogs during my trip. The first one was during a baseball game, the second one I ate in New York after riding the Staten Island Ferry.
As a Dutchie I was raised with the idea that pancakes are supposed to be eaten for dinner, best with some cheese & bacon on top of them. Well… I found out the hard way that this is not the way Americans eat them. When I first made Miguel pancakes for dinner he thought I’d gone crazy. In return, I laughed at him when he told me pancakes are supposed to be eaten for breakfast.
American pancakes are very different from the Dutch ones. The American ones are smaller and thicker, and you eat them with something sweet like syrup or berries. In the States, I had my fair share of pancakes at iHop. Funny fact that I opted for the 65+ menu as all the other items on the menu were way too big for me.
3. Apple Pie
It seems apple pie is just about the most typical American food you can eat, after the hot dog. Apple pie is American pie, they apparently even made a movie about it…. I wouldn’t suggest watching it, unless you are 15 years old. The pie itself is quite tasty and worth eating, Miguel has made it once or twice and I have never complained. When we were in the US, we went to an Amish restaurant that served Dutch Apple Pie and I was forced to try it because it had the word ‘Dutch’ in the name. Fortunately, it was actually really good and really American, not sure what the ‘Dutch’ had to do with it.
4. Cuban Coffee
So… this Cuban Coffee. I’m not sure whether I had a real one or that I just ordered the wrong coffee. The latter wouldn’t surprise me though as those are the kind of things that always happen to me (ask my family). Authentic Cuban Coffee is made with a lot of sugar. This sugar is being mixed into the coffee (grind) as the coffee is being made. The cup of coffee I had was just really sweet, so I’m thinking I didn’t have the experience of drinking a real Cuban Coffee. But, if you are in the South Florida area, like Key West or Miami, try to find some real Cuban Coffee to try this interesting blend.
Does this need an explanation? When in the States you should plan a movie night at the cinema and buy one of these huge cartons filled with popcorn. And let me give you some advice: try to be adventurous and choose a flavor like Deep Chocolate, Wild Blueberry; I’m not saying you will like it, but it will be something different.
It doesn’t matter where you go through a drive-thru, but it’s something you should definitely try. We all know the MacDonald’s drive-thru, but before I came to the U.S. I didn’t know of the existence of the Panera Bread or Starbucks drive-thru. I thought it was pretty strange, especially after I saw the pharmacy and liquor store drive-thrus! I mean, that’s one way to encourage drinking & driving.
7. Root beer float
Let me explain briefly what a root beer float is, it’s a root beer with vanilla ice-cream floating on top. It’s not the healthiest (well, none of the items on this list really are), but really good at times. I remember having a root beer float in Beijing once, but that one wasn’t all that great. Instead of vanilla ice cream they put taro ice cream on top of it! In America there are many ice cream shops and Miguel loves ice cream, which is why he wanted me to try a float. Ice cream is so popular in America that Miguel’s sister even owns an ice cream shop! Imagine that, of all the shops she could have opened, she opened an ice shop. So, if you are traveling in the US, you must try a float because it is one of the most typical American foods you can eat and it is refreshing on a hot summer day.
There are a lot of Mexicans living in Florida and the influence they have is clearly visible, so that’s way a plate of nachos is on this list of must-eats. I ate my share in a Mexican restaurant in Saint Augustine in a small family run restaurant.
With its 100th birthday coming up (in about a decade) the cheeseburger can be considered a classical when talking about the most typical American food. So yes, definitely have one of these. I don’t know what more to say, the cheeseburger is well-known all over the world and it is right up at the top of the list with hot dogs and apple pie.
Before going to the States I’d never heard of s’mores. I first ate them at a family barbecue at Miguel’s parents’ house. The s’mores weren’t on the menu but when people were talking about them and I mentioned I’d never had one, we drove to the store to get some graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. You’re supposed to roast the marshmallow until soft, put some chocolate on it and a cracker on both sides. It was okay, but nothing crazy.
Final thought on the most typical American food you can eat
As you can see by this list, there are many different influences when it comes to American cuisine because America is such a diverse country it makes sense that many cultures would influence the cuisine. When I was traveling in America for the first time, I really didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by the different options available, even if there was way too much fast food. Did I miss anything on the list? Miguel proofread the article and only laughed a little, so I think it is okay, but if we missed something let us know in the comments below!