For a country that takes a lot of flak over the convenience foods that many have criticized for promoting poor dietary decisions in today’s fast-paced modern society, it has nonetheless spawned a cuisine that is starting to come into its own as a distinct entity on the global stage.
Being a nation of immigrants that has attracted citizens from around the world, a variety of influences have come together to create some truly unique dishes that sweep away new samplers on a current of strong and appealing flavors.
If you’re seeking to taken away on a gastronomic trip yourself, you needn’t look any further than many of the major centers across America, most of which contain an outstanding diversity of ethnic backgrounds, each of which that has brought their culinary background to the table.
This has set the stage for some truly interesting examples in what happens when these disciplines fuse together and innovate to create meals the world has never seen before. Let’s just go over a few examples that illustrate exactly what I’m talking about…
New Orleans – Jambalaya and Gumbo and Po Boys (oh my!)
Owing its existence largely to the arrival of expelled Acadian settlers in Louisiana, turfed from their homeland (now the Maritime Provinces of Canada) by the British, Cajun cuisine took its inspiration from the plant and animal life that they found in their strange new home.
Later melding influences from African, local Native American, Caribbean, Spanish and Portuguese sources, foods such as gumbo (a stew containing okra in addition to various meats), jambalaya (a chaotic concoction of rice, meat, chili peppers, and vegetables) and po boy sandwiches (a French baguette filled with fried shrimp/oysters, or most commonly roast beef for those that don’t like seafood) emerged.
With a deep bench of dishes that include far more adventurous fare like alligator, you won’t come close to tiring of Cajun cuisine during your visit to New Orleans.
Southern California – A Melting Pot Of Deliciousness
Once being a possession of Mexico prior to their war with the United States in the mid 1800’s, the Mexican influence of the unique cuisine of Southern California is highly noticeable. The availability and popularity of fish tacos, burritos and taquitos on the streets of San Diego, Los Angeles and points between only bears this out.
One truly wild fusion creation that has made So Cal famous is the emergence of the Korean Taco, which has taken several traditional taco fillings and combined them with bulgogi (sweet Korean beef) and kimchi (fermented cabbage). Additionally, the California Roll (not surprisingly) arose here, with avocado being the prime ingredient alongside crab meat.
Philadelphia – Spreading Brotherly Love Around The World, One Cheesesteak At A Time
Sometimes, the best of American food involves clogging your insides with gratuitous amounts of calories and fat in the name of self-gratification. To that end, few foods that have arisen here achieve that goal more readily than the Philly Cheesesteak.
Consisting of a long roll filled with chopped beef and onions, cheese is laid over the top (often in obscene quantities), and depending on the shop where you procure your steak, mayo, peppers, mushrooms, hot sauce and ketchup may also find their way into your roll.
Pursuing Happiness Via Your Stomach Has Never Been More Fulfilling (Or Filling!)
While American cuisine will never win awards for being the healthiest food in the world, if your goal is to die at the dinner table with a monstrous grin on your face, then the streets of the United States have a hearty meal waiting for you that will spirit you along to a world of gastronomic bliss!