Every region is famous for its own type of food. Chicago has pizza, Philly has cheese-steaks, New York has pizza. While vacationing, it can be exciting to sample foods not found anywhere else. Here are some of the most interesting local delicacies you deservedly won’t find in any travel guide.
Known locally as Inoaia O Ka Ua Kahikoia A Nani, or roughly “Chips of the Dressing,” these are far from your traditional nachos. First off, disregard tortilla chips. These are Plantains fried in SPAM-Back. After that, they’re topped with Pineapple, chunks of SPAM, and drizzled in hog cheese. The dish is typically paired with Hawaii’s beer of choice, Reingold-Warm. If you ask for fresh guacamole, expect a bowl of homemade wintergreen toothpaste. It’s perfect for days when you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy watching a professional sports team from another state.
Way up in the vast expanses of America’s whitest state, phosphate shops and sodaries carry on the tradition of the nation’s third oldest soda float. Every soda-jerk in Maine is trained to keep to the original process in order to ensure an authentic experience. First, a long stemmed mug is filled with Moxie, Maine’s finest and only soda, straight from the tap which, per regulation, is kept at 76 degrees. Next, a scoop of Rum Raisin or similarly mealy and fruit filled ice cream is placed atop the still fizzing soda to ensure the ice cream is infused with as much runoff carbon as possible. Lastly, the float is topped with squid ink and garnished with a Vienna sausage. With its salty flavor profile and blitzkrieg of textures, this treat is best enjoyed on a sweltering day inside a hot car with the windows up.
Philly Wet Loaf
While the signature sandwich of Philadelphia may be the cheese steak, breakfast in Philly isn’t complete without this staple food. Quite simply, Philly Wet Loaf is a loaf of bread that has gone through a “wetenning” process. Even within the city the preparation of the dish can vary by region. Center City tends to use white bread brined in pickle juice and mayo water. In West Philly, biscuits steeped in badger stock are popular. In Germantown, expect Rold Gold pretzel dust marinated in a Rusty Susan (half Clamato, half Buttermilk) and rolled into one inch balls. Whichever variety you try, pair it with a black coffee and yelling out your window.
Cape Cod is a popular vacation destination owed to its quaint New England atmosphere and fastidiously concealed opiate crisis. This popular street food, a mixture of semi-shelled hot wet clams and bananas, is often served in a bread husk with a side of bacon-vinegar for drenching/slopping. Many vendors claim to have invented the dish, and they all feature slight variations on the recipe. Biff’s Clam Hut in Truro serves the dish wrapped in newspaper, while the popular Cape Cod chain Clammy Davis Junior’s substitutes the bananas for pickled olives. It’s the perfect food to get in touch with your inner Kennedy. Just don’t order it on Chappaquiddick.
La La Lamb
Despite its name, this dish neither originates from Los Angeles, nor contains any lamb. A Louisiana delicacy, La La Lamb is a slow roasted kangaroo over a bed of apple price tag stickers. The name was partially coined by Jessup Beauregard, a self-elected Louisiana politician from the 1910s, who had several dozen kangaroos imported during his time in office. In Beauregard’s words “I’ve worked on farms, and most livestock won’t look you in the eye. These fellars here stand up to greet you, like a Gentleman’s Lamb.” The roasting process can be quite long and arduous, as a roasting pit must be dug to accommodate several tons of hot coals. Some who have ordered the dish have not lived long enough to eat it.
Vermont may be home to the socialist Ben & Jerry’s commune, but it’s also where you can find this northern delicacy. Originally known as “Flopped Cream,” this desert consists of heavy cream kept between room and barn temperature, scooped with a ladle and dolloped into a corn cake cone. One may choose from a wide variety of traditional toppings, such as figs, juniper berries, and corn beef hash. In the 1890s, it was typical for Vermontiers to have Flop Cream following services at Horse-Church. Horse-Church. And while Horse-Church was outlawed many years ago, Flop Cream remains a delicious reminder of a simpler time.
Chicago is famous for its meat dishes, even being referred to by the nickname “Ol’ Meat Bottoms.” If you visit Chicago, you’d be a common fool not to try Man Ham. It sounds like just what it is, ham made out of a man. A long Chicagoan tradition, every year on St. Patrick’s Day dozens of men are whisked away from their families and dumped into the river after it’s been dyed green. They marinate there for up to six weeks, at which point they’re fished out, drained, and rubbed with a spice blend of curry powder, baking soda, and pixie sticks. The Hams are then boil-baked for several hours until the ham can be drank with a straw. It is not uncommon for Man Ham to be served in a mug or glass owned by the Ham while it was alive. Some establishments, like Crumner’s on W. West Street, even serve the Man Ham complete with a full biography of the Ham, as the Hams are often selected from birth. The names of the Hams are etched into the commemorative Wall of Ham, which will continue to grow every year until it seals the city off from the outside world.