One of the charms of the United States is that while it’s one large country, it boasts a large number of regional cultural differences. This can include things such as regional accents or ethnic diversity, but one of the biggest is food.
Various regions of the U.S. are known for different types of food. For example, you’re bound to find a lot more quality Mexican food in Los Angeles than you are in Philadelphia. Barbecue is much easier to come by in Kansas City than it is in St. Paul.
This is no different on the East Coast. Up and down the coast there are many types of cuisine that are just plain better than what you can find across the rest of the country. Here are six examples.
1. Pizza in New York
There are many types of excellent pizza available around the country. And most major cities also have a few spots that serve respectable New York-style pizza. But nothing compares to enjoying a slice while actually in NYC.
As for the best around, there are many options. The best locations have a few things in common, however.
First, they’ll typically have hot fresh slices available at all times, even if it’s a plain cheese variety. Also, slices typically range from $2.50 to $3. Finally, the slices should be thin but wide, making for foldable pockets of cheesy goodness.
2. Dunkin’ Donuts
It may be a bit of a generalization, but Dunkin’ Donuts is to the East Coast what Starbucks is to the West Coast (along with a good portion of the rest of the country). If you need visual proof, take a look at this map.
Dunkin’ Donuts is based in Massachusetts, so it not surprisingly dominates Boston and the surrounding area. But it also leads in New York, with more than twice as many stores than Starbucks across New York State.
This is an ever-evolving market, however, as both Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks work to add more stores in new markets across the U.S. Still, when it comes down to it, Dunkin’ Donuts is the go-to coffee chain on most of the East Coast.
3. Lobster in Maine
Most seafood lovers across the country know where to find good lobster in their respective town, but it doesn’t get much better than Maine lobster. Lobsters can of course be eaten by themselves with a bit of lemon and butter, or they can be the showcase of a lunchtime lobster roll.
Generally speaking, the colder the water, the better the lobster, and there is plenty of cold water off the coast of Maine. But which is better—and what are the differences between hard shell and soft shell lobster?
The answer most likely depends on personal preferences, but there are some key differences. First, hard shell lobsters are packed to the brim with meat, which creates a firm and dense texture. This also causes hard shell lobster to cost more–you’re basically paying for more meat per lobster.
On the other side, soft shell lobster doesn’t have as much meat, which allows extra water inside the shells. This can help create a “marinating” effect when cooking a soft-shell lobster, but it can also mean a bit more of a mess when eating one.
4. New England Clam Chowder
For the uninitiated, New England clam chowder is the white cream-based version that includes healthy portions of potatoes and onions. That’s opposed to Manhattan clam chowder, which includes clear broth and tomatoes, or Rhode Island clam chowder, which has a clear broth and often includes bacon.
Just how seriously is clam chowder taken in New England? In the late 1930s, the state of Maine introduced legislation that would have made it illegal to use tomatoes in clam chowder.
5. Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia
If you want great Italian food, go to Italy. If you want the best paella, head to Spain. If you want the best cheesesteak sandwich, go to Philly.
After all, it is where the iconic hot sandwich was invented.
Generally speaking, the sandwich consists of grilled thin-sliced steak along with cooked onions on an Italian roll. The “cheese” portion of the cheesesteak sometimes comes in the form of provolone. But in Philly it’s actually more common (and some would say “correct”) to use Cheez Whiz.
6. Crab Cakes in Maryland
Blue crabs are one of the most common creatures in the Chesapeake Bay. That made them one of the most popular ingredients in Maryland in the 1930s, when the term “crab cake” as coined.
There are actually two styles of Maryland crab cakes. One is Boardwalk style, which are often filled with stuffing and served with saltine crackers. The other is Restaurant style, which has no filling and is served along or as an open-faced sandwich.
All of these foods can be found across the country, of course. Enjoying them where they originate, however, can not only add a bit of flavor, but also a sense of history.
About the Author
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.