The Map of Every State's Best Local Food

When you think about local food in your state, what springs to mind? Chances are, you and your neighbors probably attribute something different to your state's most iconic, local food. Every state has its own claim to fame, whether it's the Juicy Lucy in Minnesota or the Frozen Margarita in Texas, and one thing is clear: state pride is everywhere. That's what Love the Place You Live (LTPYL) wanted to tap into when they released this map infographic highlighting some of the 50 different kinds of local food you can find in each state.

While there are some we might disagree with, it's still a great portrait of the United States of America and shows what each state brings to the table of American food. Surprisingly crispy tacos, chicken wings, brisket, Chicago deep-dish pizza, fried chicken or grits didn't make the list.

Map of the Most Popular Local US Food

  • Alabama: Pecan
  • Alaska: King Crab
  • Arizona: Chimichanga
  • Arkansas: Pink Tomato
  • California: Grape & Wine
  • Colorado: Denver Omelette
  • Connecticut: Hamburger
  • Delaware: Crab Puffs
  • Florida: Orange
  • Georgia: Peach
  • Hawaii: Pineapple
  • Idaho: Potato
  • Illinois: Horseshoe Sandwich
  • Indiana: Popcorn
  • Iowa: Loose Meat Sandwich
  • Kansas: Wet Barbecue
  • Kentucky: Mint Juleps
  • Louisiana: Crawfish
  • Maine: Lobster
  • Maryland: Blue Crab
  • Massachusetts: New England Clam Chowder
  • Michigan: Pasties
  • Minnesota: Blueberry Muffin
  • Mississippi: Mud Pie
  • Missouri: Ice Cream Cone
  • Montana: Cherry
  • Nebraska: Corn
  • Nevada: Buffet
  • New Hampshire: Pumpkin
  • New Jersey: Hot Dog
  • New Mexico: Chilies
  • New York: Pizza
  • North Carolina: Strawberry
  • North Dakota: Choke Cherry
  • Ohio: Cincinnati Chili
  • Oklahoma: Okra
  • Oregon: Berries
  • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Cheesesteak
  • Rhode Island: Coffee Milk
  • South Carolina: Benne Wafer
  • South Dakota: Kuchen
  • Tennessee: Tomato
  • Texas: Steak
  • Utah: Green Jell-O
  • Vermont: Maple Syrup
  • Virginia: Ham
  • Washington: Apple
  • West Virginia: Ramps
  • Wisconsin: Cheese
  • Wyoming: Buffalo Burger

While there's no word on the methodology of determining each state's pick, we can take a few guesses. It seems to be a combination of a few different categories.

The first highlights the local food systems in small towns and fresh produce with crops like apples, cherries, potatoes, and okras. Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, and New Hampshire are defined by their crops, be it a fruit or vegetable. One can imagine that farmers markets in these states during peak seasons are magical.

On the other hand, a few states are defined by the type of meat or protein that's readily available in the region when it comes to U.S. local food. Alaska, Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, Maryland, and Maine feature either seafood or a meat choice. Wisconsin's cheese choice and Vermont's maple syrup could fit into this natural resource category, as well, because they occur naturally with processing to get them to the state we see on grocery store shelves.

Finally, it seems as though the last category focuses on the most iconic food from or invented in that state. Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island all feature these kinds of choices.

It's interesting to see the divisions between the state regional food systems. Do you agree with the choice of your state? If not, what would you choose differently?

This post was originally published on September 11, 2020.