8 American Food and Drinks You Must Try

Find out all you need to know about the best American food and drinks before your trip.

Known for its diverse flavors and regional specialties, American cuisine is a melting pot of influences from around the globe. From mouthwatering burgers and fries to finger-licking BBQ, hearty soul food, and indulgent desserts, American food has something to satisfy every craving. Whether you’re a fan of classic comfort dishes or eager to explore innovative culinary trends, the USA offers a vibrant food scene that will tantalize your taste buds. So, grab a seat at the table and prepare to savor the flavors of this dynamic and ever-evolving gastronomic landscape.

  • American cuisine is diverse and showcases regional specialties from coast to coast.
  • Portion sizes in America tend to be generous, and it is common to have leftovers or share meals.
  • Tipping is customary in the United States, with 15-20% of the total bill being the standard for good service.

Must-try American Foods

Here are the top dishes of the American food scene that will help you eat like a local:

american food
Hamburger and Fries

The classic combination of a juicy hamburger and crispy fries is an American culinary staple loved by people of all ages. The succulent patty sandwiched between two soft buns, topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and other condiments, is a true delight. Some of the best places to savor this iconic duo include In-N-Out Burger on the West Coast, Shake Shack in New York City, and Five Guys, a popular chain known for its customizable burgers and fresh-cut fries.

American food
BBQ Ribs

When it comes to finger-licking, melt-in-your-mouth goodness, American-style BBQ ribs take center stage in the American food scene. Slow-cooked to perfection and slathered in a tangy, smoky barbecue sauce, these ribs are a carnivore’s dream. For an unforgettable BBQ experience, head to Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, where the tender ribs have gained a cult following. You can also indulge in mouthwatering ribs at Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis, Missouri, or at Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, a legendary joint in Kansas City, Kansas.

American food
Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is the epitome of American cuisine when it comes to comfort food, with its creamy, cheesy goodness that warms the soul. This beloved dish features al dente macaroni noodles coated in a rich cheese sauce that can be made with various cheeses like cheddar, Gruyère, or even blue cheese for a twist. To experience the best mac and cheese, visit Homeroom in Oakland, California, known for its diverse range of flavors and toppings. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Seattle, Washington, is another must-visit spot, offering a delectable selection of mac and cheese variations.

American food
Apple Pie

Nothing says classic American dessert like a slice of warm apple pie. This timeless treat features a buttery, flaky crust encasing tender apples, delicately spiced with cinnamon and sugar. For a slice of authentic apple pie, head to Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn, New York, known for its traditional yet innovative pie flavors. Another renowned spot is Julian Pie Company in Julian, California, where you can enjoy their famous apple pies made with locally grown apples.

American food
Chocolate Chip Cookies

A batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies is an irresistible American sweet treat. These cookies are soft, chewy, and packed with chunks of rich chocolate. Levain Bakery in New York City is renowned for its oversized, gooey chocolate chip cookies that have gained a cult following. Insomnia Cookies, a late-night delivery chain with locations across the United States, is also worth a visit for warm, freshly baked cookies delivered right to your door.

Must-Try American Drinks


Bourbon is a quintessential American whiskey that is beloved by whiskey enthusiasts worldwide. It is known for its rich and full-bodied flavor profile, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. To experience the best of bourbon, head to Kentucky, the birthplace of this beloved spirit. Visit distilleries like Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, and Buffalo Trace for guided tours and tastings.

American food
Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is a classic Southern cocktail that has become synonymous with the Kentucky Derby. This refreshing concoction consists of bourbon, muddled mint leaves, sugar, and crushed ice, traditionally served in a silver or pewter cup. Immerse yourself in the Southern charm by sipping a Mint Julep at the Kentucky Derby or visit historic bars in cities like Louisville and New Orleans for an authentic experience.

American food
Root Beer

Root Beer is a popular non-alcoholic beverage in the United States, known for its sweet and distinct flavor. It is typically made from sassafras root bark and various herbs and spices, resulting in a unique and refreshing taste. Enjoy a cold bottle of root beer at a classic American diner or try artisanal and craft root beers at specialty shops and breweries.

American food

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