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Website lists unique Illinois foods you need to try at least once – NBC Chicago


It’s no secret to Chicago area residents that Chicago is a food city in every sense of the word, but the Windy City isn’t the only place you can find a unique meal or snack in the Prairie State.

Food website Tasting table I delved into Illinois cuisine and listed 15 uniquely Illinois foods that readers should try at least once, while including several Chicago staples.

Among the familiar tourist favorites, Chicago popcorn, deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs are off the menu, recognizing foods long associated with Chicago cuisine.

While these classics are familiar to many in the Chicago area, downstate Illinois also brings a lot to the table when looking at the state’s cuisine.

Chief among them is Springfield’s favorite horseshoe sandwich, an open-faced sandwich with lots of delicious ingredients piled high.

From horseshoe ham and potato chips to loads of cheese, this classic Central Illinois spot is beloved by locals.

However, the love for Chicago doesn’t end there, with appreciation for both Italian beef sandwiches, thin-crust Chicago pizza, or “pub-style” pizza, and the Windy City’s most famous spirit, Malört.

Chicago classics that may not be as widely known also shared the spotlight, including jibaritos, Maxwell Street Polish sausage, rainbow cones and the original Palmer House cake.

The horseshoe sandwich isn’t everything the rest of Illinois has to offer, with Central Illinois’ jumbo pork tenderloin sandwich not for the faint of heart.

The tenderloin is often much larger than the bun it’s served on, which means you’ll need a fork and knife for this classic Prairie State recipe.

Snacks are also part of any culinary journey, and the same is true in Illinois, where the menu lists Mrs. Fisher’s chips and beer crackers as two of the state’s most popular small bites.

Perhaps the most unique item on the menu is the Chicago-based one, with Tasting Table highlighting the Flaming Saganaki as one of the state’s most unique foods.

The dish features fried casserole cheese topped with brandy and lemon juice before being set on fire.

This dish is served with crackers on the side and can be found in Greek restaurants all over the city.

A complete list of foods named after some of Illinois’ most distinctive foods can be found here.



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