In today’s day and age, it seems like you can find just about any type of food you want, especially if you live in a big city. Want a super-authentic banh mi, or perhaps a traditional Belgian Liège waffle? There’s a food truck for that. Heck, even if you live in the middle of nowhere you can log on to sites like Goldbely and order food items right off the menu from some of the country’s most legendary restaurants. But from a stuffed sandwich in Lincoln, Neb. to a breakfast sausage that’s available only near Cincinnati, there are still plenty of regional specialties that are certainly worth traveling for.
When you think about it, all food started out as a regional specialty. Even pizza, one of the most popular foods in America, got its start as a regional style of flatbread in Naples before spreading like wildfire after immigrants introduced it to the American palate. For various reasons, some foods catch on in popularity and become household names, and others linger in relative obscurity, beloved to a handful of lucky locals while the rest of the country is barely aware of its existence.
When we talk about regional foods you won’t find anywhere else, we’re not talking about the many regional variations of pizza, or burritos, for example. While it might be tough to find a New Haven-style pizzeria in Boise, you can still find pizza. You’re not going to be finding runzas in Boise, or New York, or anywhere outside of Lincoln, Neb.
So while it may seem like it’s possible to log onto the internet or pick up the phone and get any food you can ever think of delivered to your door, there are still plenty of foods out there that you’re going to have to travel for, sometimes thousands of miles. It’s a big country out there, and there’s still plenty of food that’s known and beloved only by the lucky locals. Here are 12 of them.