The northeastern corner of the United States, better known as New England, may not be the nationwide culinary hotbed that the South is or have a widespread reach quite like the Midwest does, but the food that comes from the top-right of our country is top-notch. If you love fresh seafood, especially shellfish, there’s no better region in America than the Northeast. And these 20 dishes that you’ll only find in that area prove it.
You know that baked beans are big in the Northeast, thanks to Boston’s “Beantown” nickname, and of course dishes like clam chowder, lobster rolls, and Boston cream pie have a reach that is far beyond the borders of New England. There are also basic dishes, like cranberry sauce and blueberry muffins, which are simply better in the Northeast. Don’t ask us why; they just are.
However, there are some foods and drinks that you truly need to travel to New England to try. Good luck finding coffee milk outside of Rhode Island or getting a truly delicious white clam pizza pie outside of Connecticut. You just can’t. So for these and more, check out these 20 dishes you can only find in the Northeast.
Sure, blueberry muffins may be a signature breakfast item at even the lamest continental breakfasts across America, but people from the Northeast know that the region’s fresh blueberries (and the baked goods that come from them) are second to none.
For the Blueberry Muffins recipe, click here.
Is it a cake? Is it a pie? Who cares. Boston cream pie is a delicious blend of custard, cake, and chocolate, and it’s the signature dessert of its namesake city.
For the Boston Cream Pie recipe, click here.
Chow mein sandwiches, also referred to as chop suey sandwiches, are exactly what they sound like: fried noodles, vegetables, chopped meat, and gravy served on a burger bun. It’s a baffling dish that is one of the few foods you’ll only find in America.
There are a lot of signature dishes of the Northeast, but few are as iconic as New England clam chowder. The best clam chowders are full of fresh shellfish and perfectly creamy.
For the New England Clam Chowder recipe, click here.
Jessamyn / Wikimedia Commons
Corn chowder marries two New England food traditions: fresh produce and a creamy, thick chowder. It’s the perfect comfort soup for those who don’t care for seafood.
For the Corn Chowder With Bacon and Cheddar recipe, click here.
This dish is a staple of Thanksgiving tables across the country, but no one does cranberry sauce quite like New Englanders. Whether it’s canned or homemade, this dish is a must-have for the fall.
For the Ginger-Pear Cranberry Sauce recipe, click here.
Creamed onions, which are stewed and baked pearl onions, are another dish that’s a holiday staple in New England. Travel outside of the Northeast, and you’re not likely to find this on a dinner table.
For the Creamed Onions recipe, click here.
These ferns grow wild in the Northeast and foraged in the spring. They’re a little nutty and very green tasting, a bit like asparagus. Lightly sauté or steam them to eat like a true New Englander.
For the Fiddlehead Ferns With Pine Nuts, Pecorino, and Lemon Zest recipe, click here.
While most of the country’s children eat peanut butter and jelly for lunch, Northeastern children eat fluffernutters, a sugary combination of marshmallow fluff and peanut butter. Fun to say, even more fun to eat.
For the Toasty Bacon Fluffernutters recipe, click here.
Go to America’s best seafood shacks, and you’re going to find fried clams. Fried clam strips are a classic menu item across the country, but people from New England know it’s all about fried clam bellies, which are meatier and sweeter, sand be darned.
Think beyond the syrup! Maple sap is cooked beyond the syrup stage to make this crystalized candy that’s so sweet and so delicious, it’s sure to be a food that dentists won’t go near.
Sari Marissa G / Yelp
As their name suggests, Parker House rolls were invented at the Parker House Hotel in Boston. Now they’re a staple of any bread basket across New England.
For the Parker House Rolls recipe, click here.
No New England backyard bash would be complete without some lobster. Steamed lobster, which is oftentimes boiled together with potatoes and corn, is a signature dish of the region.
For the Maine Lobster Boil recipe, click here.
Nothing says summertime has arrived in New England quite like a big pot full or steamed clams, better known simply as “steamers.” Whether you cook them in white wine, beer, or sake, this light dish is a classic.
For the Garlic-Beer Steamers recipe, click here.
Fresh corn and beans are the two most important ingredients in this vegetable mixture. It is also found in the South, but the name stems from a Narragansett word adopted by Pilgrims and other settlers in the early days of New England.
For the Succotash recipe, click here.
This sweet treat has a fun name, but it’s nothing compared to the dessert itself. A sweet pudding-like filling is sandwiched between two pillowy chocolate cookies. Whoopie, indeed! And now that you know the signature dishes of the Northeast, don’t forget to check out dishes you’ll only find in the South and dishes you’ll only find in the Midwest.
For the Whoopie Pie recipe, click here.
More From The Daily Meal: