The One Dish You Have to Try in Every U.S. State

And the best place to eat it

state dish vermont

Some meals are basically the same no matter where you eat them (we’re looking at you, peanut butter and jelly). But when you’ve got a hankering for fry bread, fish tacos or possum pie, you have to know the right place to get it. Here’s the best dish to order when you’re visiting every state in the U.S.

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Brian L./Yelp


Alabama: Fried Catfish

Eat this crispy delicacy alone, on a sandwich or paired with fried sides like hush puppies and onion rings.

Where to get it: Newbern’s Restaurant in Florence

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Chris R./Yelp


Alaska: Reindeer Dog

This isn’t your average hot dog. It’s made with reindeer meat (yep) and topped with sautéed onions and chipotle sauce.

Where to get it: International House of Hot Dogs in Anchorage

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Emerson Fry Bread/Facebook


Arizona: Fry Bread

A warm, toasty Native American delicacy that can be eaten plain or topped with meat, cheese and veggies.

Where to get it: Emerson Fry Bread in Phoenix

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Beth C./Yelp


Arkansas: Possum Pie

Don’t worry, there’s no actual possum in this dessert. It’s a lasagna-like layer cake with pecans, cream cheese, chocolate and whipped cream.

Where to get it: Stoby’s Restaurant in Conway

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Oscar’s Mexican Seafood/Facebook


California: Fish Tacos

Tacos with grilled fish are served all over the country, but you just haven’t lived until you’ve had 'em topped with avocado on the West Coast.

Where to get it: Oscars Mexican Seafood in San Diego

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Colorado: Rocky Mountain Oysters

Nope, they’re not actually oysters. They’re bull testicles. And believe it or not, they’re wildly popular. (Yep, seriously.)

Where to get it: Buckhorn Exchange Restaurant in Denver

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Connecticut: Lobster Roll

This state was the birthplace of this dreamy sandwich in the ’20s, and unlike in Maine, locals believe it’s only a lobster roll if it’s served warm and drenched in butter.

Where to get it: Lobster Landing in Clinton

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Celeste M./Yelp


Delaware: Scrapple

OK, this stuff isn’t exactly the world’s most beautiful food. (It kind of looks like a meat brick.) But when you put it on an egg-and-cheese sandwich, it’s heaven.

Where to get it: Lucky’s Coffee Shop in Wilmington

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Florida: Rock Shrimp

What’s the difference between these beauties and regular shrimp? They have a hard, spiny shell and taste sweeter—almost like lobster.

Where to get it: Dixie Crossroads Restaurant in Titusville

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JCT Kitchen and Bar


Georgia: Chicken and Dumplings

From a no-frills bowl to the more sophisticated take, this Southern staple is always done right.

Where to get it: JCT Kitchen and Bar in Atlanta

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Hawaii: Poke

Before you fill up on Spam, try this traditional raw fish salad that’s gaining traction all over the country.

Where to get it: Ono Seafood in Honolulu

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Jimmy Emerson, DVM/Flickr


Idaho: Finger Steaks

Why eat regular old chicken fingers when you could eat fried beef tenderloin strips instead?

Where to get it: The Westside Drive-In in Boise

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Lou Malnati's


Illinois: Deep Dish Pizza

When in Chicago, this ooey, gooey delight is a must. But be warned—one slice is an entire meal.

Where to get it: Lou Malnati’s in Chicago

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Wick's Pies/Facebook


Indiana: Hoosier Pie

Why fill a pie with fruit when you could add more sugar and cream? It’s the Indiana way. 

Where to get it: Wick’s Pies in Winchester

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Iowa: Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

It’s sliced thin, fried, then topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, jalapeños and banana peppers. Who could ask for anything more?

Where to get it: Nick’s in Des Moines

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Jay R./Yelp


Kansas: Bierock

Pronounced “beer-rock,” this savory pastry pocket stuffed with meat originated in Russia but has become big in the Midwest.

Where to get it: Deano’s Grill and Tapworks in Wichita

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Ashley I./Yelp


Kentucky: Burgoo

This hearty stew can be concocted with whatever leftover meat you have on hand, and is easily transformed into a brunch dish by adding eggs and biscuits.

Where to get it: Harvest Restaurant in Louisville

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Eva I./Yelp


Louisiana: Beignets

These square-shaped doughnuts dusted with powdered sugar don’t have a hole, so you get an extra bite out of the deal.

Where to get it: Café du Monde in New Orleans

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Tim C./Yelp


Maine: Lobster Fra Diavolo

The next time you’re craving lobster, trade in the melted butter for pasta and a spicy tomato sauce.

Where to get it: Street & Co. in Portland

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The Narrows


Maryland: Crab Cakes

They’re best when served plain and simple, with fresh crabmeat. (If it’s canned, you’re doing it wrong.)

Where to get it: The Narrows Restaurant in Grasonville

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Trip Advisor


Massachusetts: Clam Chowder

This creamy seafood soup is popular all over New England...but don't you dare add tomatoes.

Where to get it: Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston

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Michigan: Pasty

Originally eaten by miners in the 1800s, this meat hand pie is equal parts tasty and portable.

Where to get it: Lehto’s Pasties in St. Ignace

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The Mason Jar


Minnesota: Tater Tot Hotdish

Wait, there’s a land where this cheesy Tater Tot casserole is served in every restaurant? We’re moving.

Where to get it: The Mason Jar in Eagan

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Brian C./Yelp


Mississippi: Mud Pie

Decadent and gooey, this treat has a chocolate crust and chocolate filling and is topped with chocolate sauce. It’s not pretty, but damn, it’s tasty.

Where to get it: Rusty’s Riverfront Grill in Vicksburg

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Missouri: Toasted Ravioli

These little guys are what dreams are made of: Deep-fried ravioli dusted with Parmesan cheese and served with marinara dipping sauce. Mmm...

Where to get it: Mama Toscano’s Ravioli in St. Louis

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Candice C./Yelp


Montana: Pickle Barrel Sandwich

Move over, $5 foot-longs. In Montana, this 17.5-incher is king.

Where to get it: Pickle Barrel, various locations

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Matt M./Yelp


Nebraska: Reuben Sandwich

Get this classic in the state that invented it—you can never go wrong with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on rye.

Where to get it: Crescent Moon Ale House in Omaha

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Jason Lam/Flickr


Nevada: Shrimp Cocktail

Before hitting the buffet, save a little room for a classic casino treat, cold shrimp dipped in cocktail sauce.

Where to get it: Golden Gate Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas

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Emily K./Yelp


New Hampshire: Fried Clam Strips

Don’t worry, guys. Unlike Rocky Mountain oysters, these are actually fried clams.

Where to get it: Markey’s Lobster Pool in Seabrook

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Kristina S./Yelp


New Jersey: Disco Fries

You know what? Regular fries aren’t decadent enough. Let’s smother them with gravy and mozzarella.

Where to get it: Tick Tock Diner in Clifton

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Trung N./Yelp


New Mexico: Green Chile Enchilada

Sampling the state’s famous green chiles is mandatory, and they’re famously added to burgers, burritos, tacos and our favorite, cheesy enchiladas.

Where to get it: Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque

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New York: Bagel with Lox

There’s no better place on earth to get an everything bagel toasted with a “schmear” of cream cheese, capers and lox (aka cold smoked salmon).

Where to get it: Ess-a-Bagel in Manhattan

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North Carolina: Barbecue Pulled Pork

You can’t leave this state without trying its smoked meat. Eat it in sandwich form or with hush puppies and mac and cheese.

Where to get it: Midwood Smokehouse in Charlotte

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North Dakota: Poutine

It originated in Canada, but it’s crept down to the states. Fries with cheese curds and gravy, you complete us.

Where to get it: Pounds in Fargo

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Skyline Chili


Ohio: Skyline Chili

This favorite is smothered on hot dogs and spaghetti and topped with an extremely generous sprinkling of shredded cheese. Sign us up.

Where to get it: Skyline Chili, various locations

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Cheever's Cafe/Facebook


Oklahoma: Chicken Fried Steak

When in the Sooner state, pound your steak thin, deep-fry it and douse it with white gravy.

Where to get it: Cheever’s Cafe in Oklahoma City

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Bipartisan Café/Facebook


Oregon: Marionberry Pie

These sweeter, juicier blackberries are grown locally, so it’s no wonder the pies have become a regional favorite.

Where to get it: Bipartisan Café in Portland

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Rob S./Yelp


Pennsylvania: Tomato Pie

Once you’ve tried cheesesteak, sample the state’s other delicacy: square pizza topped with tomato sauce (and sometimes onion and anchovy, but not cheese).

Where to get it: Villari Bros. Bakery in Philadelphia

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Evelyn's Drive-In/Facebook


Rhode Island: Calamari

Here, they’re lightly breaded, panfried and served with banana peppers and a garlic-butter sauce.

Where to get it: Evelyn’s Drive-In in Tiverton

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Joanna M./Yelp


South Carolina: Shrimp and Grits

You can order this hot porridge dish in other states…but trust us, it’s not the same.

Where to get it: Hominy Grill in Charleston

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Ross A./Yelp


South Dakota: Chislic

This snack featuring cubes of wild game or beef on a skewer originated in Russia before making its way to the states.

Where to get it: Botski’s Bar & Grill in Sioux Falls

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Tony C./Yelp


Tennessee: Smoked Ribs

When you’re planning your last meal, you might want to swing by and give this legendary barbecue a try. (P.S. This is a half-order.)

Where to get it: Peg Leg Porker in Nashville

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Texas: Fajitas

Naturally, the state that invented Tex-Mex has mastered the sizzling-taco-fixings-on-a-skillet game.

Where to get it: Fajitas a Go Go in Houston

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Jessie R./Yelp


Utah: French Fries with Fry Sauce

What is fry sauce, you ask? It’s a secret. (Just kidding, it’s a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise.)

Where to get it: Chedda Burger in Salt Lake City

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Vermont: Grilled Cheddar Cheese

You can get a great grilled cheese anywhere, but for the most mind-blowing sandwich of your life, get it made with Vermont cheddar.

Where to get it: Woodstock Farmers' Market in Woodstock

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J. David H/Yelp


Virginia: Ham Biscuits

These regional treats are served on Christmas morning, New Year’s Eve and for pretty much every football game of the year. 

Where to get it: Three Ships Coffee Roasters in Virginia Beach

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Jessica C./Yelp


Washington: Cioppino

This tomato-based fish stew originated in San Francisco, but its neighbors to the north have officially adopted it.

Where to get it: Duke's Chowder House in Seattle

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Washington, D.C.: Half Smoke

It’s basically a hot dog, but bigger, spicier and with a coarser, meatier texture. (Don’t worry, you can still eat it with fries.) 

Where to get it: Bold Bite Burgers in Union Station

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West Virginia: Pepperoni Roll

A snack that’s exactly what it sounds like—a soft roll stuffed with sticks of pepperoni. Genius.

Where to get it: Colasessanos World Famous Pizza and Pepperoni Buns in Fairmont

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Wisconsin: Cheese Curds

Those Wisconsans sure do know how to snack. Fried or plain, cheese curds are on bar and restaurant menus all over the state.

Where to get it: The Horse & Plow in Kohler

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Wyoming: Bison Burger

You can order up a burger made with bison meat just as easily as a regular hamburger in this glorious state. Extra ketchup, please.

Where to get it: Liberty Burger in Jackson

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Freelance Editor

From 2015-2020 Lindsay Champion held the role of Food and Wellness Director. She continues to write for PureWow as a Freelance Editor.