10 Most Original Road Trip Snacks Slideshow
June 17, 2011
Take exit 353 on I-35 in central Texas and you'll find the appropriately named town of West, Texas. Here, you'll find the appropriately named roadside store, the Czech Stop, which for 17 years has proudly promoted Czech heritage in the area. Fill up your tank and stock up on their famous kolaches: small pastries native to Eastern Europe. This 24/7 bakery sells both sweet and savory varieties (eg, raspberry, pecan, sausage, kraut) and offers by-the-dozen discounts.
Richmond Hill, Ga.
Just because crêpes are divided into savory and sweet varieties, don't think you can't combine the two. Enter what's arguably the perfect roadtrip nosh: chocolate-covered bacon. Located southwest of Savannah on highway 144, the snack-makers at the family-owned All Things Chocolate & More are eager to fill your glovebox with this sweetened meat. Also available: chocolate-covered pepperoni.
What do you get when you drop a perfectly good pickle into a vat of red Kool-Aid? The Koolickle, aka the Kool-Aid Pickle, wildly popular among kids across the Mississippi Delta. When you're craving something sweet on your next Southern roadtrip, put down that mass-produced candy bar. Whether you're at a mom-and-pop shop or a chain convenience store, you're likely to find a jar of red pickles next to the cash register.
Rocky Mountain Oysters To-Go
Thanks to widespread media coverage, everyone knows that rocky mountain oysters are actually bull testicles. But adventurous foodies needn't rely on the various "testicle festivals" held annually across the U.S. If you're passing through Severance, Colo. (roughly between Denver and Cheyenne), grab a batch of deep-fried jewels for the road at Bruce's Bar, the delicacy's "original home." Or, settle in for the $13.95 all-you-can-eat deal.
Drying and preserving meat until it's a dry, leathery strip of spicy goodness is hardly an American innovation, but there's no denying that we're good at turning wild animals into handy, portable food. In Florida, the market for weird jerky belongs to Alligator Bob, whose line of hardwood-smoked "premium meat snacks" includes ostrich, venison, buffalo, and of course, gator jerkies. Available at gift shops, tourist spots, and convenience stores statewide. Or, order online before you hit the road.
Throughout the Southwest
This refreshing beverage may not pack the same punch as an energy drink, but no hot, sweaty roadtrip across the American southwest is complete without at least one stop for agua fresca, or "fresh water." Available at just about every open-air market, legit taqueria, and mom-and-pop convenience store, this delicious drink is little more than syrup, water, and whatever fruit is in season. It's like a taste of Mexico — without worrying about the water.
Mini Mercado Oaxaca
9407 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Ariz.
A common source of protein in Mexico, fried grasshoppers are slowly catching on across the American southwest. They're typically served in a corn tortilla and lightly flavored with salt and lemon. The problem is, the little critters are falling afoul of local health departments. Which is why, if you're cruising through Phoenix, you'll need to ask the counterperson at Mini Mercado Oaxaca for chapulines. If they're in stock, you're in luck.
BBQ Pickled Eggs
For many Northerners, pickled eggs are a cheap snack reserved for old-school drinkers in old-man bars. But in the Carolinas — perhaps because vinegary snacks pair so well with the area's famous barbecue — pickled eggs are a common side at roadside restaurants. If the Blue Ridge Mountains aren't on your itinerary, the North Carolina Egg Association has several recipes on its website, including pineapple pickled eggs.
Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog
As tempting as gas-station hot dogs can be after a long day on the road, there's no excuse for being unimaginative. Particularly if you're departing from Los Angeles, where food-cart vendors have been surreptitiously selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs, a downtown favorite. Because grilling isn't allowed for small pushcarts, these so-called "heartattack dogs" are actually contraband. Stock up before you get on I-15 for that long drive to Vegas.
Throughout the Real South
A longstanding southern tradition, this tasty snack is made from raw peanuts boiled in salty water until they've reached a soft pea-like consistency. If you're passing through confederate territory anytime between May through November, hop off the highways and stop at a roadside stand selling these salty gems. Canned varieties are available for off-season consumption, but purists cry foul.