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Savor The Flavor: A Look At Pennsylvania’S Unique Food Culture

Many think Pennsylvania’s main attractions are the Liberty Bell, Hershey Park, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. But although these are each excellent reasons to visit the state, once you’re there, you’ll quickly realize you almost overlooked the unique food culture that makes PA stand out from the rest.

Pennsylvania’s restauranteurs have historically explored various ways to experiment with different ingredients. You’ll see this in its modern form today as you walk the restaurant districts and find CBD-infused meals on the menu. (Side note: You won’t find THC-infused products because recreational weed is still illegal in PA. However, if you get a PA medical card, you can make your own!)

Obviously, a visit to the Keystone State isn’t complete without indulging in one of its world-famous Philly cheesesteaks. However, that isn’t the only reason Pennsylvania’s foodie culture is on the map.

With such an eclectic mix of rural, including Amish fare and urban metropolitans, a vast span of cuisine is sure to please any particular palate. Here, we’ll look at some of the top flavors you want to savor as you work your next trip around these popular Pennsylvania foods.

1. Crabfries

Various regions take the standard French fry and make it their own, like poutine in Canada.

Pennsylvania’S Unique Food Culture take on this comfort food is the cranberry. 

Initially created by Philadelphia-based Chickie’s & Pete’s Sports Bar in 1977, this Philadelphia native side is always crinkle-cut fries topped with a sprinkling of secret crabby spices. Served with a trademarked one-of-a-kind white cheese sauce to dip each fry in, the idea spread like, well, french fries!

Now, you can find a version of cranberries in nearly any restaurant menu you dine at in Pennsylvania.

2. Scrapple

Scrapple is definitely a “don’t knock it ‘til you try it” food that you’d be better off eating without asking questions.

This Pennsylvania’S Unique Food Culture’s crowd favorite started with transplanted German settlers who used what they could so as not to waste food. A mixture of pork meat and trimmings molded into a meatloaf-style shape and consistency then sliced into pieces and fried, this salty delicacy is frequently served with eggs and toast.

3. Pittsburgh Pizza

You’ve likely heard of Chicago-style and New York-style pizza, but until you try Pittsburgh’s version of this favorite meal, you haven’t seen it all yet!

With this type of pizza, diners get all the typical parts of the dish — dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings — but with a heavy emphasis on the cheese. If you enjoy hot, melted, stringy gobs of cheese with a side of dough and a teeny bit of sauce, this is going to be your go-to style of pizza in the future.

Read Also: Decoding Healthy Fast Food: What To Look For In Your Takeout

4. Stromboli

Chances are, you’ve seen stromboli on the menu at many Italian restaurants and pizzerias along your travels. But did you know that the dish has its roots in Philadelphia? It is one of the important aspects of the  Pennsylvania’s Unique Food Culture.

Similar to a calzone, which comes from Italy, strombolis use the concept of toasted dough, cheese, and sauce. The difference is that this dish piles the cheese, sauce, and toppings together to form a rectangle, which is then cooked (fried or baked) and sliced into pieces like a sandwich.

4. Amish Friendship Bread

Amish restaurants are sought after by foodies everywhere, but a good one can be hard to come by. Not so in Pennsylvania, where the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish — and their incredible recipes — settled centuries ago.

One of their most famous dishes is the friendship bread. It looks like a cake, but unlike the quick-and-simple desserts we’re used to, Amish friendship bread uses just a few ingredients that need ten days to fully settle. This extended wait time ensures every bite is full of rich, delicious flavor.

5. Primanti Bros. Sandwich

A well-known essential dining stop in Pittsburgh and the surrounding cities in Primanti Bros., where you must try their famous sandwich. Designed with layers of french fries (yes, on your bread), provolone cheese, tomatoes, cole slaw, and your choice of meat, it’s an unusual and unexpected flavor concoction that became such a hit, that the Brothers’ sandwich ranks right up there with Philly cheesesteaks.


No matter where you go in Pennsylvania, there’s a brand-new food item waiting to be found. Whether you’re visiting or living there, add these five unique foods to your must-eat list on your next meal out!

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Ankita Tripathy

Ankita Tripathy loves to write about food and the Hallyu Wave in particular. During her free time, she enjoys looking at the sky or reading books while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Her favourite niches are food, music, lifestyle, travel, and Korean Pop music and drama.

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