A part of what makes America special is that you don’t have to get a travel visa to find your favorite foods. America is a melting pot—quite literally in this case. Dozens of unique cultures have washed up to our shores and made camp in this country. Because of this, America has become a colorful blanket washed with amazing food from hundreds of countries around the world. So which are the best US cities for food?
Of course, every US city is unique as they all have a special culture themselves. Because of the differences in cultural influence, many cities have a unique food scene. Many cities are known for their certain kinds of food based on the culture and have become the best places for their respective food style.
Here we have compiled a short list of US food cities that are known for their respective food cultures:
Baltimore, Maryland is a city known for its legendary seafood. A port city on the Chesapeake Bay, fishermen have made their home in Baltimore for centuries. Over the years, Baltimore has developed a reputation for some of the best seafood in America.
While most restaurants in the city will offer menu items you can find anywhere, Baltimore is native to clams, oysters, and most famously blue crabs. The people of Maryland worship these crabs like gods. If you go to Baltimore, you fill see crab stickers on almost every car. You will see crabs on tee shirts, hats, and professional sports stadiums. You might even see some crawling around the inner harbor.
The people do this for good reason, though. Blue crabs are delicious and plentiful. You can order them by the basket in most area seafood restaurants. Blue crabs are incorporated in food almost like a condiment here. If you want French fries, they have crab fries. You might want a steak,but they have surf and turf. If you want a cake, they have Maryland’s world-famous crab cakes.
San Francisco—Chinese Food
San Francisco, California is home to one of the world’s largest Chinese populations outside of Asia. Because of this, San Francisco is also home to one of the country’s largest Chinatowns. A place of refuge for Chinese immigrants in California, San Francisco has developed one of the most vibrant Chinese communities in America, and with that some of the best Chinese food in the country.
The area is full of authentic restaurants and markets where you can find foods you wouldn’t find anywhere else outside of the city. There are dozens of traditional and modern Dim-sums where you are served food ala carte in a fun environment. There are also tons of regular restaurants to choose from, all of which would make for an equally fun food experience.
The culture of this area is part of what makes the food so great. When you walk into Chinatown it seems like you have completely exited the city and entered a part of China itself—almost everything is authentic, including the people. This helps make the food so great because you know that you are eating some of America’s best and most authentic Chinese food.
Boston, Massachusetts is known for their Irish population, but it is a melting pot like many other US cities, and it is also known for its Italian food. Boston’s North End is home to a still vibrant Italian community and is packed with some of America’s best Italian cuisine.
The North End is one of America’s Italian communities that is still large in terms of space. It is much bigger than what is left of New York’s Little Italy, not to say New York doesn’t have great Italian food. You can walk for blocks and blocks and still find amazing Italian food, from traditional dishes to modern American-Italian food. You can also find several world-famous Italian pastry shops too for desserts.
The people are just as authentic too. Here you can walk around, and everyone will welcome you—almost like in Italy itself. The community is very social, and you can find many people outside in the summer. There are even several bocce ball courts where many people come out to play at, and it makes for a very fun scene.
Washington DC—Vietnamese Food
While similar to Chinese food, Vietnamese food is a very unique and delicious taste—if you can find it. Vietnamese food is very unique as there is a lot of French influence to the cuisine, and there are many interesting dishes that come with it.
The Washington DC area is home to one of America’s biggest Vietnamese populations, as many refugees settled there after the end of the Vietnam War. While not condensed into small communities like the others on this list, there is a lot of great authentic Vietnamese food in the DC area—especially Northern Virginia. There are some localized areas such as the Eden Canter in Falls Church. The Eden Center is a large market made up of authentic Vietnamese food and vendors.
The DC area is a great place to try authentic Vietnamese food, especially Pho. Pho is a special type of noodle soup that is very good, and the area is packed with truly great Pho restaurants. Although Vietnamese food is popular throughout the United States, the DC area is one of the best places to try it, especially if you enjoy more authentic food.
Los Angeles—Mexican Food
Southern California is home to a great array of authentic Mexican food, especially in Los Angeles. It is close to Mexico itself, of course. While the city of angels is a melting pot as is every other city in this list, there is a huge Mexican influence in the city.
In terms of food, the Mexican cuisine is very authentic. In other border states you will find a lot of Mexican food, although they are known for Tex-Mex food. This is fantastic food in it’s own right, but California and Los Angeles has some of the best uniquely Mexican food of these areas. With a climate and culture similar to Mexico, Los Angeles is a fantastic place to enjoy dishes with tortillas, authentic drinks, and the freshest ingredients.
Because of this, you don’t have to go to a highly acclaimed Mexican restaurant to enjoy the cuisine. Some of the best Mexican food you will ever have there may even come from a roadside stand or a food truck.
New York—Deli food
New York City is well known for just about every food group in the world, including ones mentioned in this list. You will find some of the best food in general here from every price range and appetite. Because of this, I wanted to include New York for something they are unique for—Delicatessens.
The New York Deli is a staple for food in the city. Original sandwiches, big serving sizes, and vibrant atmospheres are what make delis unique in New York. Delicatessens rose our of the Eastern-European and Jewish population that settled in New York in the late 1800s. Today they are home to many of the staple foods of New York City, such as Pastrami.
While New York is one of the food capitals of the world, delicatessens are something that makes it surprisingly unique.
While many of these cities are known for other types of food, I tried to include the type of food most associated with the city. You can probably find a great Chinese restaurant in Boston, and a great Italian spot in Los Angeles, but these cities are all special for what sets them apart, and food is a great way to experience these cultures. So we hope you enjoy eating your way around the world in these best US cities for food.