One of the lowkey sad things about the way we are becoming a more global culture is the death of regionalism. Like, sometimes you get some strange regional fast food items that are only possible because of local ingredients. But even beyond the fast food offerings, what about just the regular regional food items?! The regular, incredibly INSANE regional food items!!!!
Bacon-Wrapped Hotdog, Los Angeles
Ah, nothing like being incredibly drunk and stopping at 2:30 in the morning to buy one of these nightmarishly rich items from someone with a grill on the sidewalk. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge proponent of street food. But a bacon-wrapped hot dog is the kind of thing you should be eating in the middle of the day, when you have time to move around and properly get it out of your system. Eating one of these things right before bed leads to waking up and feeling like there’s a brick in your stomach.
Fried Cheese Curds, Wisconsin
You can get these all across the midwest, but they’re really a Wisconsin staple. And “staple” is right, since after eating these dense, fried little monsters you’ll feel like you’ve eaten, a… uh… stapler…??? Anyway, cheese curds are weird little hard-yet-soft cheese balls that I am unable to describe in a more satisfactory manner. Like a lot of the items on this list, these are delicious in the moment, and then 45 minutes later slowly become hellish as your digestive systems shrieks out in horror “Why do you hate me like this?!”
Steak Fingers, Idaho
These are like chicken fingers, only instead of chicken they are steak. The inventors of this were so busy wondering if they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should (also, legend says that they were invented in a strip club, so there you go.)
Loco Moco, Hawaii
White rice topped with a hamburger patty topped with a fried egg topped with sausage gravy — there are lots of variations of the loco moco, but that’s the basic structure. And what a structure!
According to Wikipedia, Scrapple is “traditionally a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour” which is then formed into a sort of loaf. Lord God. This is the kind of thing that resourceful people come up with when they’re poor and don’t have a lot of food options, and then it ends up being perfected over time.
Burgoo is great because it has very little rules, other than a bunch of people all bring an ingredient to throw into a spicy, slow simmering stew. I haven’t been to Kentucky, so I don’t know what its rule-less regional stew says about Kentucky itself, but it’s probably something good.
Deep Dish Pizza, Chicago
I know deep dish pizza is now normal to us all, but c’mon; the ingredients are all out of order! There’s SO MUCH of everything! And to gaze on this monstrosity is to contemplate your own mortality. This. Is. Not. Norma