Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Feb 7, 2013 03:38 PM

Unique Regional Foods in Boston

Hey all -

Just doing some personal research here. I was wondering what are some uniquely Boston foods. Obviously baked beans and clam chowder, but is there anything Boston offers that is distinct from the umbrella of New England food? Is there a distinctive style of pizza? A distinctive hot dog or sandwich? For instance, Chicago has its triad of deep dish pizza, Italian beef sandwiches, and Chicago hot dogs. Does Boston have anything like this?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm originally from elsewhere. When I think of something I had never had before I moved here it would be the "New England Style" hot dog bun (only brown on top) and the hot dogs with natural casings so that they snap when you bite them. Maine's red snappers being the most extreme version. However, I can't vouch that one can't find these elsewhere.

    Other things that are hard to find elsewhere on restaurant menus: steak tips and baked cod/scrod.

    1. North shore roast beef sandwiches.

      7 Replies
      1. re: phatchris

        Perfect, thank you! That is just the sort of thing I'm looking for.

        1. re: phatchris

          Well you have to add fried clams while you are mentioning roast beef

          1. re: lc02139

            You mean deep fried clams? We have those here in Nova Scotia.

            1. re: existential_crisis

              I've had fried clams elsewhere, too, but I hadn't encountered "whole bellies" until I came to New England -- just clam strips.

              1. re: Boston_Otter

                I've had the bellies, though they aren't as common. Now that I've looked it up on Wikipedia I'm convinced that fully-belly clams are a total MA thing...

                1. re: existential_crisis

                  Yes I meant the full belly fried clam supposedly invented by chubby woodman on the north shore, you can still go there to get them, although there are others that seem to be able to do it better and cheaper that aren't open year round.


              2. re: existential_crisis

                But are they soft-shell clams? I believe you have them up north, but use of that particular species is something that distinguishes our fried clams.


          2. Bar pizza, Greek "house of Pizza" style pizza.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Prav

              Could you further describe these for me?

              1. re: existential_crisis

                Search the board, there have been some pretty thorough threads over the years

                1. re: existential_crisis

                  "Greek" pizza is what you'll find at a lot of Greek-owned pizza/sub/gyro shops around town here. It's a doughy crust cooked in a pan coated with a lot of olive oil, so it sort of fries the crust. Everything else about it (toppings, cheese, sauce) is pretty standard. It's not a pizza style to get very nostalgic about, I'll put it that way :)

                  1. re: Boston_Otter

                    Greek pizza is huge in RI too. Every town has at least one "House of Pizza."

                    And believe me, plenty of people get get nostalgic about it. 8<D

                    1. re: Bob W

                      Yeah, CT too has the Greek pizza. I grew up on it....

              2. Good Chinese egg rolls as well as other Chinese dishes.

                13 Replies
                1. re: catsmeow

                  born and bred in ny/nj i have never had a good eggroll here and can count on one hand the decent pizza options.

                  please, please, skip the pizza tangent before it devolves into a regina/santarpio debate. that "greek pizza" is a crime against humanity.

                  i'll add lobster rolls served on toasted buttered hot dog rolls.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    I agree that "Greek pizza" is some nasty shit. Definitely a Boston area thing, though.

                    Never had a good egg roll here either. Catsmeow, where are these eggrolls?

                    1. re: Prav

                      I'm comparing them to what you would find in Fl or CA.

                      1. re: Prav

                        While it is true that some f the worst pizza around comes from the "XXXTown House of Pizza" which are cardboard flavorless crust pan pizzas, it is NOT true that all Greek pizza is bad pizza. In fact, if you are ever on the Cape in Harwich, try George's Pizza. A classic Greek pan pizza with a crispy undercrust with a nice flavorful chew, a spicy cooked sauce, and quality cheese and toppings. One of the best pizzas you will ever have.

                      2. re: hotoynoodle

                        So are Boston's lobster rolls distinctive because of being served on toasted buttered rolls?

                        The more people hate on the Greek style or bar pizza, the more intrigued I am with it. Is it the predominant style of pizza in Boston? When I first moved to Calgary, I was disgusted at first with the pizza (which turned out to be Greek style) but I eventually fell in love with it. I imagine that Greek style pizza probably varies from city to city where it is predominant.

                        Oh, and is it true that the Greek-style pizza uses white cheddar instead of mozza?

                        1. re: existential_crisis

                          I've never seen white cheddar on a pizza here. Only mozzarella.

                          1. re: Boston_Otter

                            at one point there was an outpost here of an english pizza chain(!) called ruggles. they put cheddar on the pizza. i went once. blech.

                            the other distinction about the greek pizza is the cardboardy consistency of the dough. awful stuff, although now i am realizing the op isn't called "delicious unique regional foods." :)

                            those areas where fried clam strips are the norm -- where do the bellies go, i wonder?

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              I think they're from different clams, the strips being cut from huge quahogs.

                              1. re: Prav

                                Popularized by Howard Johnson's.

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  which is where i first had them as a kid, not minding the texture of deep-fried erasers, lol.

                              2. re: hotoynoodle

                                They use a giant sea clam and cut it into strips.

                              3. re: Boston_Otter

                                Many local pizza parlors use white cheddar in the topping, as does Papa Gino's (their 3 cheese blend is pretty typical for the area and consists of mozz, white cheddar, and parmesan.)

                              4. re: existential_crisis

                                I never had a lobster sandwich in SF, Palo Alto, or Chicago though that does not mean that they do not exist.

                                As for the pizza; it is good, but i think that it is just pizza, nothing that shouts Boston.

                            1. re: C. Hamster

                              No, I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. But I have been researching regional foods for a while and I realized I don't know much about Boston. I haven't been there in 15 years, so it's on my list to re-visit.