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What's the regional/local cuisine in your area?

I've been thinking over the last few days about the great diversity of posters throughout Chowhound and how fascinated I am when I read about what other people are cooking, what's available to them and what a normal dinner/cooking process is to them.

So my question is what is the local food/cuisine in your area like? I come from the south-west of Western Australia. Combined with the mediterranean climate and a large migrant population our food tends to have heavy Italian, Spanish and South-East Asian influences. Lamb features a lot on a our plates, as does fresh seafood from our beautiful oceans and rivers. We are extremely fortunate to have amazing wine regions nearby and have the pleasure of drinking mostly local wine. We tend to be an eat outdoors society, so the most common way of socialising with food tends to be a bbq outside with steak, sausages and salads, particularly in the summer months.

I'm really curious to know what the food is like in your area.

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  1. Well, I divide my time between Central PA and Berlin, Germany.

    I guess I don't eat a lot of 'traditional' Pennsylvanian food, unless you count what's available -- mushrooms, venison, produce that grows in this area.... I haven't seen a lot of German influence which is funny given the large number of German immigrants. The Amish certainly seem to be heavy on the sugar.

    As for Berlin -- regional specialties include asparagus (in season right now), pike perch, wild boar, rabbit, chanterelles & other mushrooms, and a bunch of root vegetables.

    The 'traditional' cuisine is on the heartier side -- stews, sausages, pork & kraut, but like most regional cooking these days, things have been modernized and lightened up at tad.

    It's bitching cold here for most of the year including summers, but we can get some seriously sveltering days. Like most sun-deprived Germans, Berliners will sit outside whenever possible, regardless of the temperatures -- possibly also because it's one of the last smoker bastions in Europe >sigh<

    Germans love to grill, but most of them are horrible at it. Think burnt sausages and overdone steaks. Aí.

    Of course, it is also a very international city with a large number of Turkish and Middle Eastern immigrants, so döner, shish kebab, and tabbouleh are found pretty much anywhere. Vietnamese is still very popular -- the first banh mi shop opened up here recently, in fact, you can't swing a cat without hitting a Viet place. Yawn. Korean is _just_ starting to become more popular.

    But you can get pretty much most international foods here (unlike Central PA...).

    No wines to speak of, save for all the delightful Rieslings, Weiss- and Grauburgunders from down south (Mosel, Rheinhessen, Baden).

    www.bitchinberlin.wordpress.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: linguafood

      "Germans love to grill, but most of them are horrible at it."
      Hilarious :)

    2. I'm in France...where do you want me to start?

      Right now is asparagus and Brie - both of which are produced just down the road a bit. (less than 30 minutes' drive)

      1. I'm in Charleston, SC-shrimp and grits, she crab soup, collards, okra, crowder peas, shad roe, oyster stew, wreckfish, and if you're lucky, somebody wlll fix you a hobotee! Hummingbird cake, Lady Baltimore cake, I could go on. It's all good-those walks on the beach come in handy.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sue in Mt P

          I live in Coastal South Carolina too....all the same as Sue as well as creek shrimp, oyster roast, chicken bog & pirleu,lovely veggies esp collars and sweet potatoes, pimento cheese, firefly volka, stone ground grits, carolina rice,boiled peanuts and the best sweet tea on earth !

          1. re: LaLa

            Chicken bog, oooooo. MMMM. I want some bawl peanuts now, LaLa! Hope all's well in your 'hood.

        2. Since I live in NYC, just about everything from all over the planet is available if you're willing to travel a bit for a nominal fee. My local neighbor is a racially and ethnically mixed area that offers lots of Latin ingredients, as well as Southern, with a smattering of Caribbean and Asian. My big big market carries sugar cane, key limes, nopales, sapote, calabaza, a wide variety of fresh and dried chiles, purple yams, bitter melon, goat, cow foot, croacker, salt cod, cuy, on and on. Other neighborhoods in Brooklyn offer Italian, Asian, Irish, Eastern European or Caribbean cuisine and ingredients, reflecting the culture of the area. Queens is even more culturally diverse. It's a culinary adventure all the time and truly one of the best reasons for living here.

          What I like to eat is just about all of it.

          1. I'm in north west England. Locally, as with the rest of the UK, we've refound our local cuisine, local dishes and local produce in recent years. When I was a much younger person, it was almost a given that good food had to have a French influence. But that's completely gone out of fashion over the last 20 - 30 years and restaurants are now proud to provide a distinctly British menu. Locally grown, seasonal produce appearing in traditional dishes, given a modern restaurant spin.

            Of course, linked with that is the change to TV cookery programmes. Going back, they would to have a "foreign" influence but no longer. Of course, that is not to say there is no foreign influence. We are only a small island, some 20+ miles away from continental Europe. There's always been an exchange of influences and produce. For example, I was in northern France a few weeks ago and was intrigued to see, on a number of brasserie menus, a dish called a "Welsh" that was being described as traditional to that region of France. Turns out it's a Welsh Rarebit, although with the local addition of ham.

            Like many countries, Britain has always had immigration and the newer communities have impacted on local cuisine. For example, in the immediate region, most of the family owned ice cream companies can trace their orgins back to 19th century Italian immigrants who came to work in the iron foundries. But much of the immigration over the years has been comparitively small scale and spread throoughout the country. There have been few "Little Italys" and the like. Of the major immigrant movements, over say the last 200 yearsIrish people have a similar basic cuisine so there has been no real imapct there. However, in recent years, there has been significant movement from the Indian sub-continent and surrounding area - Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and Indians. It has certainly impacted on the restaurant scene and "Indian" restaurants are popular (although rarely any better than mediocre) as is cooking "Indian" food.

            Other than this, the biggest "foreign" impact has, almost certainly, been because of our holidays. So, for example, our love of Italian food and it's ready availability comes not from immigrant communities in the UK, but holidays in Italy.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Harters

              I've been traveling to England for the last fifteen years, and while the general quality level of food in England has skyrocketed -- I've always liked British food when it makes no excuses for being what it is -- simple food, well prepared.

              A carvery lunch down the pub on Sunday, a bacon buttie in an industrial park outside Manchester, English lamb, Dover sole, a chicken and leek pie in some nameless little pub in East Sussex..it is what it is...and it's GOOD.
              .

              1. re: sunshine842

                What I always find a bit odd about we Brits is how little fish we eat - except deep fried cod or haddock with chips. Much of what our trawler fleets land in UK ports gets shipped straight off to France or Spain.

                1. re: Harters

                  Same with the Irish. Fish is associated with impovrished times where one goes to the shore and scrapes up a bucket of mussels 'cuz no pork is available. Just has no 'sex' appeal.

                  1. re: Harters

                    but ohhh, how good that fish and chips can be. In a paper cone, please, liberally lashed with malt vinegar and lots of salt.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      Yeah but,unfortunately, most fish & chips you come across are awful. Even here in the north , where we invented it.

                      1. re: Harters

                        thus "can"... as in there's the potential.....

                        :)