Signature Dishes: A Foodie’s Guide to US Top Destinations


What do you travel for? What gets you going? For most of us, we want to see the most popular landmarks and attractions and consequently limit our explorations to the tourist traps.

“Real” travelers, however, seek out that little plus, a site or attraction unique to the place they visit. For instance, recent years have seen the rise in popularity of microbreweries; their tasting rooms have become popular tourist destinations. Just the same, local cuisine is becoming more relevant to a new breed of travelers. If you are one of the foodie globe-trekkers, here is a list of top US destinations along with the signature dishes you must try.

Signature dish - pizza
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Dungeness Crab – Seattle, WA

You cannot visit the ‘Coffee Capital of the World’ and the home of Starbucks without having a “cup of Joe”. Seattle breathes coffee and every shop has its own signature brew.

As for the signature dish of the Emerald City, there debate is ongoing. Many, however, will agree that it’s the Dungeness crab. Why? Maybe because it is the main ingredient of many local fares. It is present in all possible forms; from sandwiches to stews and more. If you plan to visit before summer ends? Go during the last weekend of August and attend the Bumbershoot: US biggest urban arts festival.

Dungeness crab - seattle signature dish
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Half-Smoke – Washington, D.C.

Half-beef, half-pork, full delight; served with chili sauce, herb, and onion. This smoked spicy sausage should be the signature dish of the Capital, given that it originated in D.C. and its surroundings. Yet there is an ongoing debate about what the state food should be. Still, if you make it to the “District”, be sure to try this jumbo dog; you won’t regret!

Half-Smoke Sandwich - DC Signature dish
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Polish Boy – Cleveland, OH

Cleveland has its charms even though it does not often make on US hot spot lists. (Though that will change again once the NBA season starts, with the return of LeBron to the Cavs). Sports tourists with a taste for the finest delicacies will love the Polish Boy sandwich. It consists of a kielbasa topped with barbecue sauce, French fries, and coleslaw. Check out our list of the top joints that serve the best Polish Boys of Cleveland.

Polish Boy - Cleveland Signature Dish
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Po’Boy – New Orleans, LA

The ‘Poor boy’ is a rich submarine sandwich made of fried seafood (often shrimp) served in a French baguette. Despite the choices in the Louisiana Creole cuisine and dishes such as the Shrimp Gumbo, the Po’boy remains a popular fare. While people speculate on the origins of the name, no doubt, the Po’Boy deserves to be the signature dish of New Orleans.

PoBoy Sandwich - Louisiana Signature Dish
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Denver omelet, Denver, CO

Denver. Omelet. It is fair to assume that a dish that carries a city’s name must be its signature dish. The Western omelette is a fluffy omelet filled with diced ham, onions, pepper, and various other toppings. Should you travel to the Mile High City, you must add it to your breakfast. During the summer, not a week goes by without its load of festivals. Arts, music, food, everybody has a reason to celebrate. Here, Labor Day takes place at the same time as “A taste of Colorado”, a 3-day festival. Now you know where you should be end-August.

Denver Omelet
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Cuban sandwich – Tampa, FL

Have you seen the movie ‘Chef’? You should. Only then will you understand the locals’ crush for this sandwich deeply rooted in their history. The Cuban sandwich is a combination of Cuban bread filled with ham, pork, cheese, pickles, salami, and mustard. There is no debate here given that the sandwich has been declared Tampa’s signature dish. Note that its popularity is the same in Miami and surrounding cities.

Cuban Sandwich - Tampa signature dish
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Here are 6 of the hottest food destinations in the US this summer. Should you plan a visit, now, you know what you must eat to make your journey complete. Have you ever tried any of these? Which one did you pin on your food list? Tell us all about it in the comment box below. Bon appetit!

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Signature Dishes: A Foodie’s Guide to US Top Destinations
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What food are you known for? Almost every state or city has its signature dish. Check out the local popular fares in the US top destinations of 2014.
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