Cultural Influence on Fast Food Preferences: Exploring American Regional Cuisine Across The Country 

by Business Planning & Opportunities 22 March 2024

american regional cuisine

Food is the ultimate way to connect people. Over centuries, we have seen cultures blend through the influence of their food. America, just as such, is another example of the perfect blend of different culinary cultures. The entire country is a compilation of different states, each of which represents a different American regional cuisine.

It is no surprise that Americans love their food. Be it a good cheeseburger or a subtle blend of Indian flavors, American food is the ultimate explosion of flavors in your mouth.

It is quite surprising how American food never fails to amaze me. From the best fast food chains to their authentic cuisines – they are just outright delicious. They are something you should not miss if you are planning to visit America soon.

So, if you are in the quest for the best American regional cuisine, I got your back. In this article, a foodie shall speak to another foodie and unveil the most popular American foods you need to try if you are in the States.

Best American Regional Cuisine

America is all about cultural diversity. And the best part about cultural diversity is the unlimited food you get to explore that different cultures bring to the table. As someone with a diverse food preference, there is nothing I can leave out when we talk about the best American regional cuisine.

But luckily, I have come up with some of the best options that are absolute treats to your taste buds.

Best New England Dishes

New England states are situated in the northeast part of the country. They have Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. And you guessed it right. Because these areas are located on the Atlantic coast, their cuisines comprise a lot of fresh and delicious seafood.

“American Regional Cuisine is the study of the settlement and expansion of the United States, which looks at the various regions of the country, where the settlers came from and their native cookery methods, and how they applied those methods to the indigenous ingredients they found in the New World. It’s not just the study of food, but the study of people, culture, assimilation, and relationships. Some of that history is raw and painful, but in that truth lies the beauty of the foods we’ve come to know and love as Americans.”

CHEF KATHLEEN VOSSENBERG, M.ED., CEC, CCE, CS, ESCOFFIER VICE PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

Honestly speaking, writing this article is torture for me. I hope you all get to enjoy the best American regional cuisine as I sit and write about it while munching on boring old salad.

Clam chowder is a very popular northeastern dish. The best part is that its recipe is as simple as it can get. Take your freshly caught clams and add them to onions and potatoes, and voila!! You get that one soup that is one of America’s most favorite.

Speaking of which, there are three kinds of clam chowder you get here. The New England style is where it is cooked with a cream or milk base. In Manhattan, it is heavier on tomatoes. The Rhode Island version is a clear soup, as there are no tomatoes or dairy.

Lobster Rolls

Lobster Rolls

I am not quite fond of seafood, but give me a good plate of lobster rolls, and I will be down for anything. This is a simple dish. You take your regular grilled hot dog bread and replace the sausage with a lobster. The roll is usually drizzled with a bit of lemon juice or butter, nicely massaged with mayonnaise, and finally topped with scallions, black pepper, and salt.

Mid-Atlantic Dishes

The Mid-Atlantic states are in the southwest of New England. These states are Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. These are the areas that have some of the best culinary delicacies in America.

Buffalo Wings

Buffalo Wings

Coming from Buffalo, New York, this creative chicken dish is one of the most favorite among sports enthusiasts. Wings have become popular in such a wild way that the buffalo hot sauce prepared with cayenne pepper has taken multiple forms.

From teriyaki chicken to lemon garlic chicken to honey sesame chicken wings – the variants are uncountable. Generally, buffalo wings come with ranch dressing or blue cheese and celery and carrots for dipping. All these dips are great at cooling down a fiery hot palette.

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are yet another delicacy in American cuisine. They are not just excellent for their savory flavor, but also, they are a very convenient snack. Making them is also very easy. All you need to do is mix crab meat with egg, mustard or mayonnaise, and breadcrumbs.

Southern Dishes

The Southern area is a long stretch of land that goes all the way from Virginia to Louisiana. All the states that fall under the southern region are Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Tennessee, Arkansas, North and South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. Because of its large size, this region contributes a major portion of the American regional cuisine.

Deep South and Lowcountry Cuisine

Deep South and Lowcountry Cuisine

Southern food comes with a lot of influence and history. African cuisine has a major influence on these dishes. It was back in the times when slavery was still practiced in the Southern states where the recipes were passed down to the African descendants.

Gullah Geechee is one of the most popular ones. It is inspired by Western African dishes and is cooked with southern Lowcountry ingredients.

“I love the combination of Southern and African influences that the low country offers as well as the abundance of seafood and rice that abound in the cuisine.”

CHERYL HERBERT, ONLINE PASTRY INSTRUCTOR

Cajun And Creole Cuisine

Cajun And Creole Cuisine

French culinary practices had a huge influence on Luisiana’s food. This was what brought up the latest Creole and Cajun food. While these cuisines are pretty different from one another, they both share a common ground when it comes to the use of bell peppers, onions, and lots of spices.

“My culinary awakening happened in South Louisiana before I entered elementary school so, for me, food and cuisine were synonymous with Cajun and Creole dishes.”

CHEF ALBERT SCHMID, MA, ESCOFFIER CHEF INSTRUCTOR

Floribbean

Floribbean

This is a unique American dish that is a combination of Hispanic, Caribbean, and Asian cultures. Hence the name – Floribbean. Dishes like key lime pie, grits, or swamp cabbage are the staples when it comes to Floribbean cuisine.

Midwest Dishes

The Midwest is right in the middle of America. It includes the states of North and South Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri.

“My favorite American/Regional dish is Toasted Ravioli. It’s a St. Louis Italian dish and hasn’t made it to many places outside of the city. It’s basically just breaded, deep fried ravioli.”

CHEF JON TODD, ESCOFFIER CHEF INSTRUCTOR

Buckeyes

Named after the state tree of Ohio, Buckeyes is a dish for sweet teeth. It is a ball of peanut butter coated in thick chocolate. The best part about these little bonbons is that you can freeze them and enjoy them whenever you want to.

Southwest Dishes

The southwest is the west of the southern region. It has a dry and hot climate and is very close to Mexico. This is what largely influenced their cuisine. These states are New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Texas.

Chili

Chili

Chili was born because of the need for a tasty, hearty dish that could be made from whatever was available. The dish is all about slow and low cooking, where the meat gets nice and tender. The mix of chilies and aromatics gives this dish a complex and rich flavor.

“As a hunter and a chef, chili allows me to utilize the wild game I harvest in an approachable manner for my family and friends, as it’s a perfect vehicle for those tougher cuts. The list of garnishes can be a contentious topic. From a Texan’s perspective, fine diced onion, jalapenos, cilantro, fritos, and cheese are all acceptable. And unless you’ve got 30 minutes to argue with me, don’t ask about beans in chili.”

CHEF LUKE SHAFFER, ESCOFFIER CHEF INSTRUCTOR

Fry Bread

Fry Bread

This is a popular Native American traditional dish and was very common throughout the Navajo Nation at the time of the tribal displacements of the mid-1800s. This dish is made from a very pillowy dough and is topped with powdered sugar and honey. Yet another treat for my fellow sweet tooths.

Because I could not cover all that is there, here are some other very popular American regional cuisines that you can try out:

  • Hamburger
  • Fried chicken
  • Reuben sandwich
  • Bread pudding
  • Steak
  • German chocolate cake
  • Cheeseburger

The Bottom Line

American regional cuisine is a representation of the diverse and inclusive food habits in America. Multiple regions contribute to Americans’ food preferences. From fresh seafood to delicious chilies – you can find it all. So, if you are on a food spree, America would be your dream come true. If you have tried any of the food I mentioned above, please feel free to drop down a comment and share your experience with us.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)!!!

Q1. What is American Regional Cuisine?

Ans: America’s culinary culture is a combination of multiple cuisines from different regions. Every region is popular for its own food habits. And without a doubt, they are delicious. From your favorite Clam Chowder to Buckeyes, all of them represent one or the other region in the US.

Q2. What Region Represents Typical American Cuisine?

Ans: There is nothing known to be a typical American cuisine. It is a mix of multiple dishes, and chains of influences. Therefore, you cannot focus on just one region to find the best American cuisine.

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Upasana is a budding journalist who has a keen interest in writing. She considers writing as therapeutic and is most confident when she writes. She is passionate about music, movies and fashion. She writes in a way that connects with the audience in a personal level. She is optimistic, fun loving and opinionated.

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