With 332 million hungry people across 50 states, it should come as no surprise to learn that the United States is known for being a foodie heaven. From the mighty cheeseburger to succulent fried chicken, there’s no shortage of traditional “American” food in the U.S. But while these foods are country-wide, there are some foods that are a little more local.
Every state has its own unique quirks, especially when it comes to its foodie delicacies. Some foods are delicious, while others are downright wacky – and we’ve pulled together the weirdest foods from each state that will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. A bit like this chop suey sandwich from Rhode Island…
Maine – Tomalley
While it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the people who live along the rocky coastlines of Maine love seafood, it might surprise you to learn that they have a soft spot for lobster. But not the kind of lobster that the rest of us are used to eating. Instead of chowing down on the soft and buttery flesh, these guys prefer to eat “the green stuff” – often called lobster excrement.
Yes, the people of Maine love eating tomalley – which is essentially the digestive glands of the lobster. It’s the liquidy green substance that can be found in the cavity of the lobster, and apparently, it tastes absolutely delicious. That’s why the people in this state can’t bear to waste it.
Arizona – Scorpion Lollipop
As one of the gateways to the Grand Canyon, Arizona is a hugely popular state for tourists. And while its cactus-filled landscape provides unique foods like cactus fries and chollas, it seems as though many Arizona natives prefer something with a little bit more of a sting. In fact, scorpion lollipops are everywhere in Arizona.
These scorpion suckers aren’t for the faint-hearted, but you’ll be happy to know that they’re totally safe to eat. The non-venomous arachnids actually taste pretty nice when they’re covered in flavored candy, but it’s still a little strange to see these little guys through the lollipop. Could you stomach it?
Florida – Smoked Gator
When you think of Florida, you think of warm weather, epic theme parks, the Everglades, and alligators. And while most tourists spend their days in Florida chowing down on giant turkey legs, it seems as though the people who live there prefer another animal. In their eyes, a good alligator tail is like eating a good filet mignon…
Although many Floridians do eat the whole gator, the tail is considered to be the “tenderloin” part of the animal. And while each family has their own way of cooking their gator, most people tend to stick it on the barbeque and grill it until it’s perfect. Apparently, it tastes like quail, with a slightly fishy flavor.
Idaho – Ice Cream Potato
Idaho and potatoes go together like peanut butter and jelly. And as the number one grower of potatoes in the whole of the United States, it should come as no surprise to learn that the people of Idaho love their potatoes. In fact, they love them so much they even eat them for dessert. But their ice cream potato isn’t quite what you’d think.
Although this dessert looks just like a potato, it’s actually a dollop of vanilla ice cream covered in cocoa powder. Most stores will then allow you to top your potato with any of the toppings you choose, and you can choose anything from whipped cream to peanuts and cookies and syrup.
Mississippi – Koolickle
Many people in the United States love pickles, and they also love Kool-Aid. But while the majority of them eat and drink these two things separately, the people of Mississippi decided to mix their two loves together. Now, the “Koolickle” has become a huge part of their state’s identity.
To create this snack, the people of Mississippi grab themselves a jar of pickles and tip Kool-Aid mix, sugar, and water into the jar. After a week, the pickles have soaked up all of the sugary goodness and should taste like the perfect mix of sweet and sour. They’re apparently very delicious, but would you give them a go?
Utah – Jell-O Salad
Known for its snowy landscape, its thriving Mormon community, and the Sundance Film Festival, Utah has become a delicious cocktail of culture. And while tourists love to flock to this state to check it out for themselves, they’re often a little bemused when they come across a Jell-O salad. After all, it really is what the name suggests…
Families in Utah often have this dish on their dinner table, and the Jell-O salad normally consists of fruit and vegetables encased in a mold of wobbly stuff. The Jell-O salad above actually contains oysters, carrots, kiwis, peas, spam, green olives, and easy cheese. It sounds like a gelatinous abomination, but Utahns can’t get enough.
Washington – Geoduck
We’d understand if you needed a few minutes to look at the picture below. After all, geoducks are pretty uncomfortable to look at – and it’s only going to get more uncomfortable. That’s because the geoduck actually got its name from a native word from Puget Sound which means “genitals.” But looking past its strange appearance, a geoduck is actually a giant clam.
These edible saltwater clams are a delicious delicacy in Washington, and they’re either served on their own as an appetizer, or they are added to hotpots or marinated into a ceviche. Like oysters, these phallic-like clams are also thought to be an aphrodisiac… and we can kind of understand why.
Colorado – Rocky Mountain Oysters
They’re called Rocky Mountain oysters and they’re often called prairie oysters, but these “oysters” aren’t like the ones you’re used to. These guys don’t come in their shells, and you definitely don’t put lemon or Tabasco on top of them. That’s because the people of Colorado are actually eating testicles, specifically from bison bulls.
Yes, Colorado natives love to eat these testicles on a regular basis. The organs are often deep-fried or smoked after being skinned and coated in flour, pepper, and salt. They’re also usually served as an appetizer, but we’re not sure how anyone could stomach the main course after that.
Georgia – Pear Salad
While the people of Georgia are known for their unwavering southern hospitality, many people who visit friends or family in Georgia are often taken aback when a pear salad lands on the table in front of them. But when you think about it, this strange dish kind of makes sense. Georgia is known for its peaches, after all…
To make a pear salad, Georgians grab a tin of canned pears and pop a dollop of mayonnaise on top of them. But it doesn’t end there. These little pear bites are then topped with cheese, and then a cherry. Although the whole thing seems like a strange mix of sweet and savory, it’s reportedly a hugely delicious and popular appetizer.
Kansas – Chilli and Cinnamon Roll
On their own, chili and cinnamon rolls are delicious. One of them you normally eat for a big lunch or a hearty dinner, and the other you eat in the morning for the sugar rush you dearly need. But the people of Kansas – and arguably the Midwest as a whole – have decided to mix the two together. And they absolutely love it.
Yes, Kansas natives often head to places like Runza and ask for a “Bowl and a roll” – and that’s largely because schools have been serving these two foods together for over seven decades. Now, it’s just become a staple in the state, with locals loving the spicy and cinnamony mix of foods. We’ll take their word for it.
Massachusetts – Fluffernutter
Known for being the home to prestigious universities such as Harvard, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Amherst, you’d think that the people who lived in the state of Massachusetts were pretty smart. But it seems as though they got the memo wrong when it came to peanut butter and jelly. Instead, they’re all about Fluffernutter.
When the guys in Massachusetts need a little midnight snack, they get their bread, they get their peanut butter… and then they get their marshmallow fluff. They stick the whole thing together into one sugary sandwich and call it a delicacy. And while it sounds pretty delicious, we have a feeling that the sugar crash after this sandwich won’t be quite as fun.
Alaska – Akutaq
Pronounced “a-goo-duk,” akutaq is one of the most famous foods in the state of Alaska, but this might not make sense to the average non-Alaskan. After all, you’d assume that those living in this cold and snowy state would prefer to keep warm with hearty soups and stews. But these guys are chowing down on ice cream instead.
However, akutaq isn’t your usual mint choc chip or pistachio flavor. This Alaskan delicacy is actually made from seal oil, berries, lard, and the meat of whatever animal they can find. Normally this is moose, caribou, or fish. The idea is that this fatty meal keeps Inuit hunters warm and full during the harsher winter months.
Missouri – Provel
While many of the foods on this list are delicacies within the whole U.S. state, Provel is a little different. Sure, it’s popular in the state of Missouri – but it’s only really seen and eaten in the city of St. Louis. This processed cheese is all the rage out there, even though the look, the texture, and the taste of this cheese is a little strange.
Made from a mix of cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheeses, this cheese is more like a spread than a block that you can cut into chunks. Because of this, a lot of St. Louis natives choose to spread this stuff onto their bagels or plop it on the top of their pizza. But we can’t help but wonder why this hasn’t caught on anywhere else?
New York – Garbage Plate
The state of New York isn’t known for doing things by halves. Everything is bigger and better in New York… especially in the Big Apple. Pizza slices are huge, bagels can be found on every corner, and street meats are everywhere. But it seems as though the people of New York can’t get enough of a plate of garbage.
A garbage plate isn’t exactly a plate of garbage, but it is a strange concoction of food. The bottom layer of this dish is made up of ground beef or sausage, and then it’s covered in cheese, French fries, home fries, baked beans, and macaroni salad… and then it’s normally covered in more meat, mustard, and ketchup!
Delaware – Chipped Beef
Anyone who has been to Delaware will know that it’s a pretty unique state. One the one side you have gorgeous beaches and seaside fare, and on the other side, you have southern farmland and homestyle comfort food. Because of this, the food in Delaware is pretty unique. And that’s certainly the case when it comes to chipped beef.
Chipped beef is a hugely popular dish for locals, and it seems as though they can’t get enough of the pressed, salted, and dried beef that is then sliced into thin pieces. It’s normally served with a creamy sauce on toast, and apparently, it’s good for both breakfast or lunch.
South Dakota – Chislic
The American midwest is home to all kinds of foods. And while some are delicious, others are a bit questionable – especially to those who don’t live in the midwest. That’s why the people of South Dakota love their chislic, and why others find the concept a little strange. After all, it’s like a shish kebab of mutton or lamb.
This skewered meat is a South Dakotan staple, especially if you find yourself watching the football in bar. This stuff is normally served on big skewers or small toothpicks, and the meat is normally grilled or fried to create that crispy outside texture. Inside, though, the meat is still pink and tender.
Minnesota – Pickle Corndog
There are some people in this world who don’t like to play by the rules, and we can only assume that the state of Minnesota is full of those people. Why else would the pickle corndog exist? Instead of slathering a whole bottle of relish on top of their corndogs, these guys prefer to stick the pickle inside of it instead.
The pickle corndog has become a popular delicacy in this state, and what makes this thing even stranger is the fact that the hot dog is still there… it’s just inside the pickle. It’s not just the people of Minnesota who love this snack, though. Disney also sells this controversial food item at their theme parks.
New Mexico – Green Chili Sundae
Known for its desert landscapes, its large number of Hispanics locals, and its spices, it should come as no surprise to learn that Mexican cuisine is a huge part of New Mexico. Because of this, the food in this state can be spicy… even when you don’t expect it to be. So, be careful if you order a green chili sundae.
This hugely popular dessert consists of frozen vanilla custard, salted pecans, and a very generous helping of green chiles for the topping. Of course, no dessert would be complete without a cherry on top. But we don’t know if that would make the dish edible for us.
South Carolina – Chitlins
Those who live in the south have a few staple foods that set them apart from the rest of the country – and it’s up to you to decide whether that’s in a good way or a bad way. And while South Carolina is known for its beaches and its golf courses, it’s also made a name for itself for its chitlins.
In short, chitlins are the intestines of a domestic animal – but more often than not, they’re pig intestines. They’re either served up on their own with other meats and vegetables, or they’re stuffed to become sausage-like. And while this sounds strange to the average non-South-Carolinan, they’ve become a hugely popular comfort food in the state.