The USA has brought cultures together from all over the world – our nation was built by immigrants, after all – and nothing unites us quite like food. Vastly diverse and considerably large, our melting pot of a country has an ever-evolving culinary scene to match, filled with everything from iconic comfort foods to innovative flavor fusions. If you’re like us and your palate has a big say on where you vacation next, head to these U.S. cities to satisfy all your cravings.
Portland has always bordered on the quirky side, and its creative culinary scene can attest to that. One glance at Voodoo Doughnut’s menu and you’ll quickly realize you’re not in just any run-of-the-mill pastry shop – and thank sweet doughy goodness.
Take a big bite out of the banana and cinnamon-filled Memphis Mafia, or treat yourself to a Grape Ape doughnut with vanilla frosting, grape dust, and lavender sprinkles. If there’s just too many to choose from, you can never go wrong with their signature doll-shaped doughnut filled with delicious raspberry jelly that looks suspiciously like blood.
After you’ve satisfied your sugar craving, hit the town in search of Portland’s best culinary craft, and you’ll find it right on the streets. With over 600 food cart pods serving everything from Korean tacos and trout chowder to pizza and craft beer, Portland proves that quirky has never tasted so good.
San Diego, California
San Diego is renowned for having the best Mexican food outside of… well, Mexico. Its close proximity to our neighbors in the South have allowed Mexico’s bold flavors to climb over the border and into our eagerly awaiting mouths.
Get your fill of authentic Tijuana-style tacos at Taco el Gordo, and the Surf & Turf Burrito from Lucha Libre is a total game changer with its seared steak and fresh shrimp.
San Diego can definitely boast about its Asian offerings, too. Enjoy the traditional Japanese atmosphere at Robataya Oton with an authentic Udon Hot Pot, or munch on Korean BBQ cooked exactly the way you like it since you’ll be doing all the grilling right from your table at Dae Jang Keum. No matter what dish fills your fancy, you can count on fresh flavors thanks to San Diego’s penchant for using locally sourced ingredients.
As the saying goes, the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, so get ready to fall head over heels for the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia’s reigning culinary royalty might be the cheesesteak, but it’s the feast-filled markets, deep-rooted traditions, and take-no-prisoners determination that have transformed this city into a foodie adventure.
Start at the Reading Terminal Market in Center City and make a beeline for DiNic’s to try the winner of Travel Channel’s Best Sandwich in America, a juicy roast pork-stuffed torpedo roll with provolone cheese, and your choice of broccoli rabe, roasted long hots (peppers), or both. Then, head to South Philly for the Italian Market and its many cafés, restaurants, bakeries, cheese shops, and butcheries.
This area is also the best place to pick up a cheesesteak. The dueling duos Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s King of Steaks constantly battle for Philly’s favorite. And the city’s food scene is still growing. The eccentric Fishtown neighborhood has seen a boom in eateries serving everything from ethnic fare to American favorites, and restaurant entrepreneur Steven Starr’s 26 restaurants draw almost 2 million patrons a year. If you’re planning a visit to Philadelphia, be sure to come hungry.
Everything is bigger in Texas, and the state’s capital can prove it with its impressive BBQ culture. Try the traditional style from famous establishments like Iron Works or lunch-only Franklin. Slow smoked beef brisket and pulled pork is served on a platter with beloved sides like potato salad and slaw.
If you’re craving a little creativity with your ‘que, get in line at the city’s many food trucks, like the Kerlin BBQ trailer that offers homemade Polish pastries alongside their meaty meals.
But Austin restaurants aren’t always all about the BBQ. The Peached Tortilla cooks up scrumptious Asian/Mexican fusion bites like banh mi tacos and kimchi queso. The chefs in this city constantly strive to keep up with Austin’s larger-than-life appetite.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Big Easy’s iconic dishes are anything but laid-back. In fact, they’re down right kickin’, thanks to the area’s diverse blend of Creole and Cajun influences with other international touches mixed in. New Orleans truly has something for every foodie, from white tablecloth establishments to street-side dives, and thankfully, you’re guaranteed a great meal no matter where you decide to grab some grub.
Café du Monde and their deep-fried, doughy beignets are a sweet start to any day. And for lunch, take a big bite of the city’s favorite sandwiches at Killer PoBoys, which serves traditional varieties like fried shrimp and innovative offerings such as BBQ chicken confit.
At dinner, why not expand your taste buds to NOLA’s growing Vietnamese culinary scene? You can find pho and bahn mi all across the city, but we recommend you check out Hoa Hong Nine Roses, located in the French Quarter and the Westbank.
Discover our country’s impressive culinary offerings on a foodie adventure across the states. Just make sure to add these cities as must-stops. Let your travel agent help plan your next getaway filled with a full plate of America’s best dishes.