Great Food In America
America can lay claim to being the modern-day master of the sandwich; no other country offers the sheer variety and diversity of options. Visitors to most American cities are spoilt for choice, with everything from old-school classics to wildly creative inventions on offer – sushi burrito, anyone?
These portable treats are not just for lunch; many are enjoyed any time of day, perfect for a casual dinner or a delicious late-night treat. What better way to tour your way around America than by sampling the country’s greatest sandwiches? Here’s where to find them.
1. CHEESESTEAK, PHILADELPHIA
The cheesesteak has become synonymous with the “City of Brotherly Love.” A plethora of no-frills joints – from the legendary rivals Pat’s and Geno’s, to beloved local favourites John’s Roast Pork and Tony Luke’s – satisfy a constant stream of locals and tourists.
The classic version features thinly sliced rib-eye or top round, tossed on a griddle then piled into a soft roll and topped with cheese (typically provolone, American, or the guilty pleasure known as Cheez-Whiz), with optional sauteed onions, peppers, and mushrooms.
The cheesesteak has migrated throughout the US and beyond to the point where “Philly cheesesteak” now appears on takeaway menus around the globe.
2. PO-BOY, NEW ORLEANS
The name of this popular sandwich is believed to have originated in 1929 when a New Orleans restaurant owner handed out free sandwiches to the “poor boys” striking against the local streetcar company.
Since then, the po-boy has evolved into a New Orleans icon. Two hands and an intrepid approach are most definitely needed when biting into a crusty French bread loaf over-stuffed with anything from fried shrimp and juicy roast beef to alligator sausage.
Order it “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) for the full effect. New Orleanians are loyal to their favorite po-boy shops, whether it’s Parkway Bakery, Domilise’s, Radosta’s, or one of the hundreds of other po-boy purveyors in the area.
3. ITALIAN BEEF, CHICAGO
Italian immigrants created this juicy, meaty sandwich, which continues to satiate the considerable appetites of those living in the “City of Broad Shoulders.” Thin slices of beef roasted in its own juices are stuffed into fresh Italian bread.
The sandwich can be dipped or double-dipped in the cooking juices (known as “au jus”) for extra juiciness, then topped with giardiniera (pickled veg) or sweet Italian peppers. Italian beef sandwiches are found throughout the city of Chicago, but Al’s Beef and Mr Beef are two of the most popular spots.
4. PASTRAMI, NYC
Pastrami sandwiches, featuring mounds of steaming, peppery meat piled high atop rye bread, have been a comfort staple for generations of New Yorkers. While the number of classic delicatessens has dwindled over time, NYC still offers the strongest sandwich scene on the planet, headlined by famously old-school places such as Katz’s Delicatessen.
Traditionally served only with mustard and a side of pickles, these sandwiches are large enough to share, and the biggest question most customers face is whether to order their pastrami regular or lean.
5. LOBSTER ROLL, MAINE
Lobster rolls, filled with succulent chunks of tail and claw meat from just-caught crustaceans, are a summertime staple in coastal New England – especially Maine. Purists prefer a classic hot dog bun, but a host of new places are playing around with the bread option: in Portland, the Eventide Oyster Co uses a Chinese-style steamed bun for its brown butter lobster rolls.
Traditional lobster rolls are served cold, often lightly tossed with a bit of mayo, but sometimes they can be served warm with drawn butter, and/or with a bit of celery salt.