Best Traditional USA Dishes. Photo: Mixi Canva
Best Traditional USA Dishes. Photo: Mixi Canva

Food is always an inevitable part of our journey to America. Check out the list of the 10 must-try American foods now!

Top 10 Must-try American Foods

1. Apple Pie

2. The Hamburger

3. Clam Chowder

4. Bagel and Lox

5. Deep-Dish Pizza

6. Nachos

7. Texas Barbecue

8. Grits

9. Tacos

10. Thanksgiving

Detailed Information - Top 10 Must-try American Foods

1. Apple Pie

Photo: Bautrip
Photo: Bautrip

The saying is "American as apple pie" for a reason: this sweet treat is a national institution. Forget anybody who will try to tell you pecan or key lime is better, because they are lying. The simple combination of sugar, buttery pastry and tart sliced apples produces a dessert so extraordinary people have devoted their entire lives to perfecting it. For a particularly excellent example, try the apple pie with added green chilies at the Pie-O-Neer, in Pie Town, New Mexico. Phone ahead and Kathy Knapp, the self-proclaimed "Pie Lady of Pie Town", will save you a slice.

2. The Hamburger

Photo: https://www.traveller.com.au/
Photo: stuff.co.nz

Every single American will have a different idea about where to find the best hamburger in the country, ranging from fast food on the West Coast (In-N-Out Burger) to fine dining in New York (The Spotted Pig). But only one place is recognised by the Library of Congress as being the birthplace of hamburgers: New Haven, Connecticut.

The year was 1900 and the establishment was Louis' Lunch, run by one Louis Lassen. Today his great-grandson, Jeff Lassen, guides the ship, which still serves burgers made from a five-meat blend and cooked in a century-old cast iron grill.

3. Clam Chowder

Photo: https://www.traveller.com.au/
Photo: stuff.co.nz

It is basically illegal to visit Boston without trying New England clam chowder. The fragrant soup is sold everywhere, and it looks hideous, being white and lumpy. But one taste is all it takes to fall in love. Whoever decided to mix the quahog shellfish with tender potatoes, salted pork, heavy cream and herbs is a total genius. There are many ways to eat it, but you may as well go all out and get a bread bowl at the Atlantic Fish Co., where the chefs carve out a cavity in a fresh boule, pour in the heavenly juice, then put the top back on. Edible dinnerware.

4. Bagel and Lox

Photo: 10Best
Photo: 10Best

Trying to narrow New York down to a single representative cuisine is a fool's errand. A Nathan's hot dog? Pastrami from Katz's? A bad cup of diner coffee? Let's pay respects to the city's strong Jewish population and go with bagels and lox, a weekend staple on many Manhattan tables.

Scientific studies have been conducted trying to work out why the New York bagel reigns supreme over all others; legend attributes it to the water.

Whatever the cause, head to Russ and Daughters on the Lower East Side and tell them you want a selection of smoked fish, cream cheeses and if you're feeling flash, caviar.

5. Deep-Dish Pizza

Photo: https://www.traveller.com.au/
Photo: traveller.com.au

Pizza in Chicago looks and tastes different. The dish is deep, as the name suggests, meaning the crust rises high and allows for an artery-choking volume of cheese and tomato sauce. Unsurprisingly, they call it a "pie". It is not for the lighthearted and should only be attempted while wearing dark clothes or a large napkin. For a particularly authentic meal, pair the pie with sugary soda. You might like to do this at an Uno Pizzeria, which claims to have invented the Italian American hybrid dish in 1943.

6. Nachos

Photo: Betty Crocker
Photo: Betty Crocker

The first diner called by the French name restaurant, Delmonico's opened in 1837 with unheard-of things like printed menus, tablecloths, private dining rooms, and lunch and dinner offerings. Among other firsts, the restaurant served the "Delmonico Steak." Whatever the excellent cut (the current restaurant uses boneless rib eye), the term Delmonico's Steak has come to mean the best. There are steakhouses all over the country but perhaps none so storied -- with a universally acclaimed steak named for it no less -- as the original Delmonico's in New York.

Lightly seasoned with salt, basted with melted butter, and grilled over a live fire, it's traditionally served with a thin clear gravy and Delmonico's potatoes, made with cream, white pepper, Parmesan cheese, and nutmeg -- a rumored favorite of Abraham Lincoln's.

7. Texas Barbecue

Photo: Wide Open Country
Photo: Wide Open Country

Kiwis might like to stoke up a barbie on the weekend, but Texans live and die by the practice. Mesquite smoked meats and tenderizing rubs are common obsessions, and it is not uncommon to go to football games and find people who have brought entire ranges to the parking lots that are worth upwards of $5000 or even $10,000 – a pastime called "tailgating". For excellent brisket, head to the Dallas Farmers' Market, stand in line for a bit, then find a seat at Pecan Lodge. Also good are the pork links, pulled pork, beef ribs, and collard greens. Basically everything.

8. Grits

Photo: This Old Gal
Photo: This Old Gal

People who didn't grow up eating them wonder what the heck they are. People who did grow up eating them (and that would be just about everyone in the South) wonder how anyone could live without them.

Grits, beloved and misunderstood -- and American down to their Native roots. They're the favored hot breakfast in the so-called Grits Belt, which girdles everything from Virginia to Texas and where the dish is a standard offering on diner menus.

Grits are nothing if not versatile: They can go plain, savory, or sweet; pan-fried or porridge-like. Simple and cheap, grits are also profoundly satisfying.

This might be why Charleston's The Post and Courier opined in 1952 that "Given enough [grits], the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of [grits] is a man of peace." Now don't that just butter your grits?

9. Tacos

Photo: traveller.com.au
Photo: traveller.com.au

Los Angeles is a city with a taqueria on every street corner, basically. With so many Spanish-speakers it's possible to find anything from greasy nachos on Venice Beach to exquisite Michoacan-style goat stews.

For a good sampler, forget the chain stuff and try El Huarache Azteca, a tiny, no-fuss eatery in the neighbourhood of Highland Park, where menus run the full gamut from fajitas to mole verde and "flautas" – fried crisp taquitos stuffed with chicken. (Guacamole is a no-brainer.) Keep in mind that Mexican food and Tex-Mex are two very different things.

10. Thanksgiving Dinner

Photo: Big Seven Travel
Photo: Big Seven Travel

No fancy centerpieces or long-simmering family squabbles at that first Thanksgiving when the Pilgrims decided not to fast but to party with the Wampanoag tribe in 1621 Plymouth.

Today we eschew the venison they most certainly ate, and we cram their three days of feasting into one gluttonous gorge.

Indigestion notwithstanding, nothing tastes so good as that quintessential all-American meal of turkey (roasted or deep-fried bird, or tofurkey, or that weirdly popular Louisiana contribution turducken), dressing (old loaf bread or cornbread, onion and celery, sausage, fruit, chestnuts, oysters -- whatever your mom did, the sage was the thing), cranberry sauce, mashed and sweet potatoes, that funky green bean casserole with the French-fried onion rings on top, and pumpkin pie.

Almost as iconic (and if you ask most kids, as delicious) is the turkey TV dinner, the 1953 brainchild of a Swanson salesman looking to use up 260 overestimated tons of frozen birds. No joke: He got the idea, he said, from tidily packaged airplane food. We do love those leftovers.

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