(Photo Modified: flickr/joe shlabotnik)
When it comes to defining the culinary landscape of North America, the diverse food choices pull us in so many different directions — the cuisines run the gamut from Bahamian conch to Canadian butter tarts and from Dominican sancocho to Texan chicken-fried steaks. And as we put together our list of the most iconic dishes around the world, we took stock of the foods that make North America so gastronomically unique.
Many of the North American islands have as many culinary similarities as differences — some enjoy an abundance of fresh fish and seafood, while others are more inclined to hearty meals of long-marinated meats served over rice and beans and, often, served with fried plantains. Moving north, the United States is known for having a melting pot cuisine all its own, with no two regions serving the same version of any dish. Even hamburgers differ across state lines, and barbecue has a handful of different regions that claim to be doing it the "right" way, or at least their own ("better") way. Still farther north in Canada, there are certain dishes that fill residents with regional pride, like poutine in Quebec and butter tarts in Ontario.
So whether you’re heading to the Bahamas for a long weekend away or planning a food-lovers road trip across the States, use these iconic foods as your culinary guide. Try them for the first time, settle debates on who serves your favorite, or impress friends and family with knowing exactly what to order when you arrive somewhere new.
We’d love to know if you’ve tried any (or all?) of these dishes, or even if you have nominations for iconic meals you think we missed.