Foods and/or resturants you didn't realize weren't universal

That’s where it originated, but until quite recently the only place where most people had even heard of it was Southern California. Discovered that on this very forum twenty years ago.

Hey, I’ve sampled lutefisk. It’s not at all bad. :slight_smile:

I hadn’t heard that. I grew up in Virginia and remember it as being a DC/Baltimore thing.

It wasn’t until I mentioned how much I like cioppino to an Italian friend that I found out it’s not an Italian dish!

I always wondered why Mr hero’s waffle fries were not at the top of best fries lists. They were just Cleveland but have expanded a bit in Ohio.

Their waffle fries are crisp and amazing and put those wimpy Chick Fil A fries to the curb.

I have to wonder if you thought bratwurst was universal, too. Because while bratwurst is pretty universal now, it wasn’t always. And thinking about Wisconsin and regional foods reminded me of how when we lived in North Carolina we would drive to Wisconsin to visit my grandparents every other summer. And towards the end of our stay my parents would buy a couple pack of brats and dry ice so we could pack it in the cooler and take it home with us. Because you couldn’t buy bratwurst in North Carolina in the 1980s. It seems like it only started to become readily available in maybe the mid 1990s.

Not only are cheese curds and Brats common in Wisconsin nearly every gas station has their own, locally made. Brats may be common in other places in the US now, but they are a poor imitation.

Hey you, the rest of the US, your hotdogs suck also.

I was going to mention bratwurst (at least in the past), too. My aunt and uncle (and their eight kids) moved from the Midwest to Roanoke, VA in the mid '70s; they bemoaned the lack of bratwurst in that area, and the fact that, when they did occasionally discover something labeled “bratwurst,” it was nothing like the authentic Wisconsin stuff.

And, yeah, I think it was in the '90s when Johnsonville finally expanded beyond being a regional brand, that you could start finding Wisconsin-style brats elsewhere.

Man, I love me some cioppino. This thread is making me hungry.

You can’t get Kosher Salt outside of the US. Like, I get that Kosher Salt might be an American specialty or whatever but I mean you can’t even get something that serves the same purpose as Kosher Salt outside of the US. Almost every other country I’ve lived in, the salt you can buy is either fine grained salt, meant to be dispensed from a salt shaker/dispenser or gourmet flaked salt that’s too expensive for everyday use. There’s no salt that’s designed to be hand dispensed. I end up having to smuggle giant 3lb boxes of salt in my luggage after every one of my infrequent trips to the US or find the bougie import store that imports American products for 4x the price.

Pimento cheese. The southern stuff.

I found that it was rare for a New Yorker to know what it was. I once saw it as a hamburger topping in a restaurant north of the Mason Dixon line. I was surprised to see it and mentioned to my friend that northerners didn’t generally even know what pimento cheese was and she took offense ( she was a little touchy in general and took offense at lots of things)

“I know what pimento cheese is. I see it everywhere.”
“I’m not talking about that cream cheese pimento spread. Pimento cheese is something else. It’s shredded cheese, usually American or mild cheddar mixed with a mayonnaise based dressing and pimentos. It’s chunky.”

Then my burger came and I was able to show her. She had never seen anything like it but she was still huffy. And it disappeared from that menu a few months later, probably because no one ordered it because they didn’t know what it was.

Hush puppies are another Southern favorite that aren’t well known up North.

Ha! My dad used to do the same thing, but in reverse. When we’d travel from our northern Ohio home to visit family in his native North Carolina, we’d always come home with a cooler full of Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue (usually from Parker’s), Brunswick stew, country ham and country sausage from the Red and White. He’d share it with a couple of fellow Tar Heel transplants he knew.

It was only after moving to Georgia that I realized that there were other types of barbecue.

Growing up in San Diego, I thought San Diego style Mexican food was how everybody ate it. Then I moved to the PNW and found out that nobody had any idea what carne asada fries, California burritos, or rolled tacos were, that they didn’t make tacos with shredded beef fried in the shell topped with cheddar and lettuce, that they put beans and rice in meat burritos, and there was nary an XLNT beef tamale to be found at the grocery store. (We have a few San Diego style places up here now, but the tamales are still absent.)

Ditto for Farmer John sausages.

I also thought when I was a kid that everybody stirred yellow mustard into their baked beans. Turns out it was literally just a thing my dad did.

Wimpy. Growing up outside of the US, I somehow imagined that it along with McDonalds and Burger King were the main burger restaurants in the US, but I never did find one when visiting and now it looks like I never will.


On vacation from Connecticut once, I asked for Russian dressing on my salad. I can’t remember where this was, but it might have been the West Coast. The waiter had no idea what I was talking about.

Went to London in high school, and so much of the trip for me was spotting things I’d heard about on BBC shows, or in Sherlock Holmes books … or Jethro Tull songs (“I’ll take you to the cinema/then leave you in a Wimpy Bar…”). I shouted out loud: “Oh, it’s not a bar that’s wimpy! It’s a WIMPYBAR!”

Growing up in Minnesota, the ketchup and mayonnaise concoction was always called 1,000 Islands. The “Russian” dressing you could buy was like Catalina dressing (less viscous and red with poppy seeds). I never heard either of them called anything else.

I was about 20 when I learned that a cassata cake in Cleveland is unique to Cleveland. And it wasn’t until last year, about 20 years later, that I saw an actual Italian cassata cake being made on tv that I learned what a real cassata cake was. No one I know had ever had a non-Cleveland one.

For more East Coast vs. West Coast salad dressing differences. In North Carolina when I ordered a salad at a restaurant I always asked for Italian dressing. In California when I did that I usually got “We don’t have Italian. We do have a vinaigrette.” Ok, those are almost the same as far as I’m concerned. Vinaigrette is fine. So I got in the habit of just ordering vinaigrette. So now when I’m visiting the East Coast out of habit I ask for vinaigrette, and I get told “We don’t have vinaigrette…”

I don’t know about that. Some of my earliest memories are driving to Florida for vacation and stopping at Mom n Pop diners on the way and both my parents getting chicken and waffles.