US Food & Drinks
With such a diverse and large area, America’s cuisine is as assorted as its people and its natural landscape and is just as interesting. Most areas have established their own food style which is derived from regional ingredients and the creative abilities of the local residents. Meat, especially steaks are popular and beef cattle farms dot the landscape of the Midwest all the way to Texas. In the Pacific Northwest and anywhere along the coast, seafood is cooked in dishes like clam chowder and steamed lobster. In Hawaii, white fish like mahi-mahi and ono are served and in the Louisiana Bayous and cities, Cajun and Creole food has a French flair in jambalayas and gumbos. In the deep South, soul food and smoky BBQ contrast with beauty-driven California where nouvelle cuisine with a health focus reign supreme. Classic American fare such as the hot dog, milkshake, Philly cheesesteak, and of course hamburgers and fries from one of the thousands of fast food joints across the country is downright addictive.
While steak is the quintessential American main course, regional dishes are as varied as the country. Fish and seafood dishes like clam or lobster chowders, soft-shell crabs eaten whole and raw oysters are found along the coast while the interior serves up soul food like fried chicken, collard greens and grits or sauce-dripping BBQ. French-inspired Cajun and Creole dishes of crawfish and boudin (spicy sausages), hearty jambalayas and gumbos are special to Louisiana.
Everywhere, fast food dishes like hamburgers and fries with fizzy pop or creamy milkshakes are offered with a plethora of variations to satisfy all tastes. A visit to a hot dog stands in a big city is part of the culture. Native American dishes like Navajo frybread, a type of thin fried bread with meat and corn-stuffed squash blossoms are making a comeback. Ethnic foods such as Mexican tacos and tortillas, Italian pasta and pizza with an American touch, such as New York’s flat slices or Chicago’s packed pizza wedges are deeply satisfying.
In all major cities, alcohol is readily available and can range from local wines, mainstream microbrewery beers, bourbon or whiskies and many types of cocktails. You must be 21 to drink alcohol and in some parts of the country “dry counties” exist where no alcohol is served. California is the most known wine region and specializes in rich Cabernet Sauvignons and buttery Chardonnays while Oregon and Washington State are masters of delicate Pinot Noirs and fresh Rieslings. Southern bourbon-rich mint julips or gin and lemony Tom Collins were crafted in the 1800s by Americans and continue to be enjoyed everywhere.
Popular lagers from mega brands like fizzy Budd, Coors Light or Budweiser to hundreds of microbreweries experimenting with hops and hybrid ales. Sugary pops or sodas such as Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, root beer and ginger-ale as well as ice tea and fruity Snapple were invented in the US and are daily thirst-quenchers for many Americans. Milkshakes are rich in vanilla, chocolate or strawberry flavours and can be found in diners and fast food chains everywhere. For the health, conscious, tomato-based V8 juice or a custom-made smoothie can be rich enough to act as a meal.
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