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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?

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  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.

                  http://www.woodmans.com/about/the-sto...

              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.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          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.

                            2. Boston-style Italian subs tend to be served cold with lettuce, tomato and pickles, sometimes hots, but never hot. Never had subs like that other than here, but it may not be Boston-specific.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                Is this anything like the "Maine Italian"? What is the meat used?

                                1. re: existential_crisis

                                  Italians in Maine are served on a very soft roll. Also, they usually come with green peppers and black olives in addition to lettuce, tomato, and pickles.

                                  1. re: Bob W

                                    True, except for the lettuce. Also, onions are usually on there as well. No lettuce on a Portland, ME Italian.

                                    "Regular" coffee meaning cream and 2 sugars.

                                    1. re: kimfair1

                                      Good call on the onions! I only get to Maine during the summer so my intake of Italians is limited.

                                      I grew up in RI, and regular coffee is like a gateway drug.

                                  2. re: existential_crisis

                                    In my area ( just north of Boston), an Italian sub has capicola, mortadella, genoa salami, provolone. Toppings are onions, pickles, tomatoes and hot peppers,topped with salt, pepper and oil. There are variations, of course, but this was the most usual. And they are never cooked. If a sub is cooked, it is called a grinder. Grinders are usually sold in Greek pizza joints (ie: "House of Pizza" restaurants)"

                                    1. re: macca

                                      It's made the same in Roslindale. NEVER mayo. That's only in the suburbs.
                                      Worcester area they have Italian Clubs. Ham, genoa, mortadella, provalone, lettuce, tomato. $3-4.

                                  1. re: skippy66

                                    And Grape-nut pudding. Which begat Grape-nut ice cream, obtainable at Toscanini's in Cambridge and probably elsewhere.

                                    1. re: katzzz

                                      I've had grape nut ice cream on Prince Edward Island.

                                        1. re: katzzz

                                          Grape-nut ice cream seems to be available at almost every mom-and-pop ice cream shop, at least on the North Shore.

                                        1. re: sr44

                                          Is that still available? I looked for some to make Kahlua jello shots and couldn't find it.

                                          1. re: trufflehound

                                            I've never seen coffee-flavored gelatin mix in a grocery store - you make it from scratch with Knox plain gelatine.

                                            1. re: trufflehound

                                              I haven't looked for it in a while, but it should be easy enough to make from scratch. I'd suggest decaf coffee.

                                              For some reason, they served it in the elementary school cafeteria.

                                              1. re: sr44

                                                Elementary school cafeteria where?

                                                1. re: Allstonian

                                                  Not sure where sr44 went to elementary school, but they had it at my elementary school in the late 60's early 70's in New Bedford, MA. Then again, coffee was such an important part of my families life, that I was a regular coffee drinker by age 8, and a black coffee drinker by age 15. 35 years later, still drinking it black.

                                                  1. re: kimfair1

                                                    I'm the same way, raised in a serious coffee drinking family. Total blanket statement but does New England drink more coffee per capita than other parts of the country or is it more anecdotal?

                                                    I've always been proud of Massachusetts' ice cream consumption.

                                                    1. re: kimfair1

                                                      kimfair1: LOL I posted about regular coffee being a gateway drug before I even saw your post!

                                                    2. re: Allstonian

                                                      Cape Cod. Maybe this is southern Massachusetts rather than Boston?

                                                      1. re: sr44

                                                        Interesting. Definitely no coffee jello in Boston public school cafeterias in 1967-1973.

                                                        1. re: Allstonian

                                                          I don't know what our cafeteria people were thinking. Coffee to elementary school kids? The packets came with ground coffee, gelatine, and sugar, and you brewed the coffee when you softened the gelatine with boiling water.

                                                          This was before 1967.

                                                          1. re: sr44

                                                            Perhaps the coffee jello thing is related to the coffee milk habit that has bled over from Rhode Island into MA?

                                                            1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                                              I just googled it, and according to Roadfood.com, Durgin Park has been serving it for decades. They provide a recipe.

                                                              1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                                                Also from RI, there's a couple of coffee-based drinks that are common for kids to drink- the NY seltzer or something, then of course the coffee syrup for milk.

                                                  2. re: sr44

                                                    Forgot all about this! My grandmother used to make this, and on Sundays we were allowed to have it with milk and sugar on top. We loved it!

                                                    1. re: sr44

                                                      Durgin Park serves coffee jello and while I'm not a fan of Durgin Park, they do serve a nice coffee jello. When I went to order it the waiter tried to talk me into a different dessert. Growing up my grandmother often made coffee jello and we had it served with evaporated milk so maybe it was nostalgia but I really enjoyed it

                                                    2. Boston Cream Pie
                                                      Parker House Rolls

                                                      Coffee Milk
                                                      Johnny Cakes (although also sometimes considered Rhode Island)

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Klunco

                                                        Yeah, coffee milk and johnny cakes are both Rhode Island, not Boston.

                                                      2. Joyce Chen's coining the term peking ravoli for chinese jiao-zi, and how about brown bread in a can.

                                                        1. Oh, here's another old-time Boston-y thing: Receiving dinner rolls with your Chinese take-out order.

                                                          Also, (unrelated), we have a dish called American Chop Suey - which is basically macaroni, tomato sauce, and ground beef, called "chili mac" elsewhere (and "goulash", where I grew up, in Michigan).

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: Prav

                                                            Weirdly, my family here in Boston also called it "goulash" - it was one of my grandmother's specialties, and she was originally from Buffalo, but I have no idea where she picked up that particular name for the dish. Jenny Ondioline, who grew up in Texas and Colorado, also knew it as "goulash."

                                                            I knew what "regular" chop suey was when I was a child, and had heard the term "American chop suey," but I was quite surprised when I entered junior high in Boston and discovered via the school cafeteria that American chop suey = goulash!

                                                            And yes, dinner rolls with your Chinese takeout is a very old-fashioned and very Bostonian thing. At Golden Dragon, my neighborhood Chinese restaurant in my childhood (where Jo Jo Taipei is now), they also served bread and butter at the table in the restaurant.

                                                            1. re: Allstonian

                                                              Yep. In Worcester, leftover meatloaf with elbow macaroni, Cream of Mushroom soup, and Velveeta became "goulash". Every. Week.

                                                            2. re: Prav

                                                              Growing up in Medford, we always called this "hamburg casserole". It wasn't until I was in Illinois for grad school that I heard the name "American Chop Suey".

                                                              This thread is my first encounter with the term "goulash" for this dish. That might be even odder to me than the name I first ran into in Columbus: "Johnny Marzetti" (sp?)

                                                              1. re: brandywiner

                                                                I knew the stuff as Johnny Marzetti, growing up in Columbus. It's not exactly the same as American Chop Suey -- Johnny Marzetti's baked as a casserole with a layer of cheese on top and eaten in slices, most of the time.

                                                                The name came from its time as a signature dish at Marzetti's restaurant in Columbus.

                                                                1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                  Growing up in CT (Hartford area), my Mom made it and called it "American Chop Suey".

                                                              2. re: Prav

                                                                I don't eat a lot of American Chinese food, but I've been served bread rolls with my fried rice in East Boston and in Oregon.

                                                                1. re: Luther

                                                                  East Boston is where I had my first experience receiving rolls with Chinese, at that place in Maverick Square, "Hong Kong Harbor". I had just moved to Boston 8 years ago and was pretty surprised to find rolls in my take-away bag.

                                                                  1. re: Prav

                                                                    Moved here about 20 years you just reminded me on how confused I was when I got rolls when I opened my chinese take out. I actually have not seen that done in a long time I wonder if any other places still do that?

                                                              3. Whole-belly fried clams

                                                                Grape Nut pudding / ice cream

                                                                Polar sodas (aka "tonics")

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                  Oh yes, to the original poster, do not visit without trying Grape Nut Pudding flavored ice cream - especially at Toscanini's! Tastes way better than it sounds.

                                                                  1. re: Prav

                                                                    Or the grape nut ice cream at Crescent Ridge in Sharon, MA. Soooo creamy!

                                                                2. Chow mein sandwich? Perhaps not exactly in Boston but the Greater Boston area?

                                                                  27 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    You can still get chow mein sandwiches at a few places in the Pawtucket RI area.

                                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                                      They're big in Fall River, too, no?

                                                                      1. re: Prav

                                                                        That's probably where they originated. As I've had a second think about this I believe on the North Shore they're called Chop Suey sandwiches... from Salem Willows Park.

                                                                        1. re: Prav

                                                                          Fall Riverites love them some pork pies too!

                                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                                        nope -- the original nathan's on coney island for the chow mein sandwich.

                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                          The origin story I've heard on the chow mein sandwich points to the Fall River area.

                                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                            so i stand corrected via google. hmmmph. my mom would get it @ nathan's when i was a kid and it looked about the vilest thing ever, lol.

                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                              yeah, im with mcslim on this .

                                                                              The Original Hoo-Mee Chow Mein Mix from the Oriental Chow Mein company (42 Eighth st. Fall River, Mass) still exists and you can buy at local Shaws/Star Market kind of suprmarkets in the Fall River/Attleboro band of SE Mass.

                                                                              This is an essential item for the chow mein sandwich, which i believe is the same thing, Evelyns in Tiverton has a lobster version of this sandwich.

                                                                              Proprietary packaged gravy mix over included wheat flour Hoo-Mee noodles, better with onion, celery, and bean sprouts and added protein.

                                                                              one caveat: if you do have the chance to buy Hoo-Mee, check the "best buy" date impressed on the top of the box, if the sit around for a while they acquire a musty/ off taste when you mix the gravy part into the noodle part.

                                                                              1. re: hyde

                                                                                The chow mein sandwich would not exist without the Oriental Chow Mein Company and its Hoo Mee mix. For a brief period (I think 2009) they closed down due to a fire and all the regional Chinese restaurants either stopped offering the chow mein sandwich (and other chow mein specialties) or subbed an inferior product which was not at all popular among the local aficionados. Fortunately, the company and the sandwich rebounded and continue to thrive.

                                                                                Another relatively obscure Fall River specialty is the hot cheese sandwich -- a thick, grainy, emulsified cheddar cheese sauce served on a squooshy hamburger bun, often enjoyed with a ladle of coney sauce. And then there's, of course, the chorico & chips grinder which can be found all over New Bedford and Fall River as well.

                                                                                1. re: Nab

                                                                                  Cool! Love the look of the cheese sandwich! I couldn't find anything on the grinder though. I'm assuming you meant to say "chorizo"?

                                                                                  1. re: existential_crisis

                                                                                    chouriço is I believe the portuguese for the spanish word chorizo. Portuguese is really big in that part of Mass. the accent mark under the second c is like the french, but I may be wrong.

                                                                                    1. re: Madrid

                                                                                      You are correct about the "c". Also chourico tastes NOTHING like chorizo. I love both, but as a young Portuguese man growing up in New Bedford, chourico was all I knew until I got to college.

                                                                                      1. re: kimfair1

                                                                                        To be fair, both "chorizo" and "chouriço" are akin to the English word "sausage" in that they encompass a lot of different styles of product, not just the smoked, paprika-heavy cured or fresh pork sausages we tend to see most commonly here.

                                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                          I was just talking about this last night I grew up in a mexican household and moved to Boston about 20 years ago.

                                                                                          I was quite confused and frustrated that a lot of people (waitstaff and even cooks) will serve the Portuguese chouriço and really try to tell me that it is Mexican chorizo.

                                                                                          I gave up years ago thinking people know the difference. I also gave up looking for the mexican chorizo of my youth in local stores and just stared to develop my own recipe.

                                                                                          1. re: l0b0SKI

                                                                                            and add to the variety, the Spanish-from-Spain chorizo...very different from Mexican chorizo. I wonder as well if Brazlilian chourico is different from that from Cape Verde, which I understand is the predominant origin of most from-Portugal-Portuguese speakers in the Boston area.

                                                                                            so you never found a source in Boston for mexican chorizo? If you did, please share!

                                                                                            1. re: Madrid

                                                                                              Never found any stores,venders or restaurants that make mexican chorizo like I had when I was a kid. I do not use sausage casings for my chorizo, but the recipe on the back of the casings I got at the Market Basket in Somerville is pretty good with some adjustments.

                                                                                            2. re: l0b0SKI

                                                                                              I buy the Mexican chorizo of my youth at BJs. It's not entirely the same -- there's less fat and none of the ingredients I recall from back in the day like "pork salivary glands" (not kidding) -- but it was delicious last Friday morning scrambled with some eggs and wrapped in a flour tortilla toasted on the gas hob.

                                                                                              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                That is our breakfast every sunday homemade chorizo with scrambled eggs and papas wrapped in a homemade tortilla.

                                                                                                Ha! "pork salivary glands" yeah, I do not think I will be adjusting my recipe any time soon to include that.

                                                                                            3. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                              Now chaurice, OTOH, denotes a very specific kind of sausage .....

                                                                                              1. re: Nab

                                                                                                "Chaurice" is how we pronounced Chorico in RI.

                                                                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                  Growing up in New Bedford, my parents always pronounced it "Cha-deese". Not sure if that's a bastardization of the Portuguese or not.

                                                                                                  1. re: kimfair1

                                                                                                    Interesting! The Louisiana musical genre zydeco's name comes from a song title, "Les Haricots son pas sales" -- same idea. I wonder how Fall River-born Emeril Lagasse pronounces it.

                                                                                                    1. re: kimfair1

                                                                                                      And growing up in Taunton, we pronounced it similarly. More like "chudeece." That's how my husband's Portuguese father pronounced it, too.

                                                                                                      1. re: bear

                                                                                                        Taunton! My dad grew up there. To give this some chowish content, he and his dad used to give out chocolates and nuts from Skinner's in East Bridgewater as holiday gifts. Skinner's still has the best cashews on earth!

                                                                                                        1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                          Ha, maybe we were neighbors! Thanks for the tip about Skinner's. We occasionally are in the Bridgewater area, so we'll check it out.

                                                                                                          1. re: bear

                                                                                                            Well, my Dad grew up on Newcomb Place. Ring any bells?

                                                                                                            The cashews at Skinners really are something -- they are roasted in butter and are huge. Always loved the peppermint patties too.

                                                                                                2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                  True, but what I grew up eating (chourico) isn't much like chorizo in taste or even texture, with chourico being more chunky for lack of a better term. I love them both, but similarity in names aside, they are two very different sausages. I would be interested in seeing how different Brazilian chourico is from the type found around here, which is definitely more Cape Verdean in style.

                                                                                2. Lime rickeys and -- even better -- raspberry lime rickeys are pretty darn Bostonian.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                                                      I dunno about the rickeys. We had those in Brooklyn back in the 60s.

                                                                                    2. From Boston north to Maine, what most people know as milkshakes are called frappes (pronounced fraps). In RI, milkshakes are called cabinets.

                                                                                      A milkshake in these parts is just milk and syrup, no ice cream.

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Bob W

                                                                                        People think I am insane when I explain this difference. :)

                                                                                        1. re: Bob W

                                                                                          It took me awhile to figure this out when I moved here.

                                                                                          To me, a frappe was either whipped frozen fruit juice or, when I got Greek food, a frothy iced coffee.

                                                                                          1. re: Bob W

                                                                                            It has been a very long time since I've seen that distinction made in these parts. When ew first moved here in the early 80s that was exactly the conundrum we had. These day the only time I see the word frappe used are at places that are trying to be somewhat old timey (e.g. Bartleys) and I'm sure they'd understand what you meant if you asked for a milkshake.

                                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                                              The key is whether a place would understand what you meant if you asked for a frappe. 8<D

                                                                                              Of course it's not surprising that local food terms are getting obliterated in Boston any more than in other parts of the US.

                                                                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                My guess would be that most people who were raised here would at least understand what one meant by a frappe although if some old townie asked for a milkshake and was expecting the old school version I think they'd be sorely mistaken :)

                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              I had Charleston Chews all the time growing up in Chicago in the 70s (love them frozen). I didn't realize they were a "Boston thing" as well.

                                                                                              1. re: NE_Wombat

                                                                                                The company was originally in San Francisco but in 1957 it was sold to a Bostonian who manufactured and marketed the candy bar here. The old building in Everett was re-purposed in 2007 as The Charleston Chew Lofts.

                                                                                            2. necco wafers, marshmallow fluff, moxie

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                    I first had Moxie in Boston as a kid, but now I know it's more of a Maine thing. I've had Mainers and Vermonters tell me that it's commonly drunk mixed 50/50 with milk up there, but I can't verify if that's true or not. Maybe that's what passes for Maine humor :)

                                                                                                1. Cliquot Club soda (even though it was bottled in New Haven).

                                                                                                  1. As not a native new englander that had to cook traditional new england food every year for my job I had to learn what these were,it was very educational and fun to make.these are foods that say new england to me: chow mein sandwich, pot roast dinner, fried clams,johnny cakes, whoopie pies,oysters, clam chowder,toll house cookies,clam bakes, moxie, fluffanutters, cod,grapenut pudding,frappes, neccos,parker house rolls,hash,succotash, and coffee milk

                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: l0b0SKI

                                                                                                      I thought succotash was a southern US thing...?

                                                                                                      1. re: existential_crisis

                                                                                                        Southern cooks do seem to have claimed succotash as their own in the modern revival of the dish, but the word "succotash" comes from the Narragansett language, which was spoken throughout southern New England. Succotash was cooked by the Wampanoags before the English came to New England.

                                                                                                        1. re: existential_crisis

                                                                                                          There are interesting connections between southern cuisine and southeastern New England because of the Triangle Trade (Newport, Providence and Bristol (part of MA for most of the colonial period, then swapped by MA to RI for some other territory) - rum, molasses and slaves and all that - and then those links led to other links among elites during the Gilded Age. Thus, you see jonny cakes and the use of white cornmeal in this part of NE, as in the South.

                                                                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                            I always thought jonnycakes were derived from New England native cuisine.

                                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                I meant the other way around. New England had grist mills for corn before the Carolinas did.

                                                                                                        2. In the course of my peripatetic life I have only had fiddlehead ferns in the Boston area, do they count?

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                            they're a great northwest food too, but like here the season is fleeting.

                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                              We have those all over eastern Canada. They are pretty awesome though.

                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                Nope. They are all over the East. It's just that the season varies from location to location.

                                                                                                              2. Great answers so far- since moving out of the Boston area, there are some Boston and New England foods that i definitely miss. I agree that lobster rolls (in the grilled split-top New England style bun), clam chowder, and whole belly fried clams are distinctly New England, and while both are often attempted outside New England, it somehow doesn't taste as good. Just my opinion...maybe it's all in my head.

                                                                                                                Another Chinese food that is found in the Boston metro area- "Lobster Sauce"- the brown pork sauce that originated from cooking with chopped up whole lobsters, but you can order it without the lobster in American-Chinese restaurants in the Boston metro area. Looks like slop, but I love it and can't find it anywhere in the Southern US.

                                                                                                                While we're on the topic, another food I miss from New England- cider donuts. Ok, not Boston-originated, and more New England-y, but why don't they make these elsewhere?

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: lucywellington

                                                                                                                  You can find freshly-fried cider donuts at any decent apple orchard in the Midwest.

                                                                                                                  1. re: lucywellington

                                                                                                                    i ate lobster sauce growing up in Chicago; my guess is that Chinese-American dishes have some regional variation from SF to Chi-town to NYC.

                                                                                                                    One thing that i discovered in Boston - I am sure that i have mentioned this earlier - is there a more delicious scallop than those from nantucket? and delicious when raw, better when seared.

                                                                                                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                                                                      Peconic Bay scallops from the East End of Long Island are similarly sublime.

                                                                                                                    2. re: lucywellington

                                                                                                                      I thought there was as much lobster in lobster sauce as there was duck in duck sauce. : )
                                                                                                                      NEVER have had to ask to "hold the lobster" at ANY American/Chinese restaurant - the only seafood I've ever seen in lobster sauce is shrimp.
                                                                                                                      That being said, I still love it!

                                                                                                                    3. Not exactly Boston, but there is a food that I have only had in Woonsocket, Rhode Island (1 hour from Boston) called DYNAMITE. It is a spicy ground beef and tomato sauce served in or with a soft roll like a sloppy joe.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: jajjguy

                                                                                                                        I have seen dynamites referred to as "sloppy joes on crack."

                                                                                                                        Dynamites are on the menu at the Early Bird in Oakland ME.

                                                                                                                      2. Although the origin may or may not be of racist connotation, most ice cream shops in this part still refer to chocolate sprinkles as "jimmies".

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: phatchris

                                                                                                                          As for the name "jimmies", I coulda sworn I read a story either on the Brighams menu or website LONG ago that gave the credit of the name to a little girl who's mon wanted to make her son a "special treat" (can't remember for what occasion) & decided to grate a chocolate bar over a dish of ice cream. When the little girl saw this, she wanted it & her mom told her, "No - that's Jimmy's" -meaning it was for her son Jimmy. The next day, the little girl asked for her ice cream with "jimmies" on it - thus, legend has it, jimmies were born.

                                                                                                                          1. re: southie_chick

                                                                                                                            I just did a little research and found the answer to that question from the Just Born company who, according to the following link, first made them. They were named after Jimmy Bartholomew, the employee that first made them.
                                                                                                                            http://www.snopes.com/language/offens...

                                                                                                                        2. Rhode Island has pizza strips, which are baked dough with sauce. Thats it. No cheese. Why bother?

                                                                                                                          Also, "stuffies", which are stuffed quahogs, or hard shell clams. At some places, the actual presence of shellfish is iffy. Just like the traditional RI clamcake, which is too often fried dough with "essence of clam".

                                                                                                                          The, of course, there's the RI clam chowder, without milk/cream.

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Dinsdale45

                                                                                                                            By clambake, you mean, "clamcake", I think. I tried one in RI and was so disappointed by the oily puff of dense dough.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Dinsdale45

                                                                                                                              Pizza strips are fabulous. Pick em up one summer morning at a bakery (preferably in North Providence or Cranston), head to Beavertail in Jamestown and munch them for lunch with beverage of choice. Yum.

                                                                                                                              1. re: digga

                                                                                                                                depetrillo's pizza has the best pizza strips, hands down

                                                                                                                              2. re: Dinsdale45

                                                                                                                                Love pizza strips! Greasy goodness.

                                                                                                                              3. It's weird...the bottom line of all the "unique Boston foods" discussions that I've seen here and elsewhere is that there ain't much. Lots of quirky RI foods that are still going strong (disclaimer: native RIer here) but Boston, not so much. Why is that, or is that my own skewed perception? Where did the dilution occur? Or did it never occur and that's just the way it is?

                                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: digga

                                                                                                                                  I think it's also worth noting that a lot of the "typical Boston foods" have kind of gone extinct e.g., baked beans in pots, brown bread baked in coffee cans, boiled dinner, etc.

                                                                                                                                  Maybe partly because Boston is a large, cosmopolitan city with many prominent ethnic enclaves, e.g., Vietnamese, Cape Verdean, Haitian, and partly because the prior mentioned foods have simply gone out of favor.

                                                                                                                                  Also, another thing to consider is that it seems that many of these quirky RI foods tend to be represented at specific small towns, many times even at specific establishments (e.g., Dynamites/Torpedo sandwiches of Woonsocket, and Iggy's Dough Boys of Warwick).

                                                                                                                                  So, maybe the official food of Boston should be a Speed dog or a bahn mi? :)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Prav

                                                                                                                                    There's a sizable Laotian-Cambodian population in RI. I should be more knowledgable about what is uniquely RI/US from those cuisines (for example, I believe "nime chow" is uniquely RI/US?). We also have Cape Verdean (more SE Mass, though), Liberian and Portuguese communities. As you wisely said, Prav, maybe those should be considered the new indigenous regional foods? Same goes for Boston? Yum!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: existential_crisis

                                                                                                                                        A hot dog from Boston Speed Dog, recently renamed (unfortunately) to Boston Super Dog, a truck vendor originally based in Newmarket Square, currently on hiatus due to health problems. The original owner and his product were legendary on Chowhound Boston; his successor still has a lot of loyal fans.

                                                                                                                                        The main event is a big all-beef natural-casing wiener, marinated and grilled, topped with housemade condiments and chili in a good roll. I'm a fan, but it's more the specialty of an individual local purveyor than the region.

                                                                                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                          That's seriously cool. I'm going to take a guess, then, that there is no signature "Boston-style" hot dog, other than the speed dog?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: existential_crisis

                                                                                                                                            to my knowledge, no there is no boston dog.

                                                                                                                                            but there is a chance that the speed dog mobile could be turned into a chain. not a bad idea though not using the speed name is odd.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                                                                                              Has anyone mentioned marshmallow Fluff yet?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                                                                                                I'll take it one further and say you really can't get a good hot dog in the Boston area, with a few individual exceptions like Speeds. Please, someone, prove me wrong!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jajjguy

                                                                                                                                                  Depends what's a "good hot dog" - there are a million different varieties.

                                                                                                                                                  For example, for a legit Chicago dog, try Spalla's in Natick.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: digga

                                                                                                                                        Well, RI rocks in terms of distinctive foods in such a small area. It just does.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                          It really does :) I could go for a cabinet right now!

                                                                                                                                          1. I agree with the Fluffernutter sandwich (PB and Marshmallow Fluff), and "regular" coffee

                                                                                                                                            Sky Bars

                                                                                                                                            Fenway Park sausage peppers and onions (sold outside the park)

                                                                                                                                            Lots of local beers

                                                                                                                                            And yes, the lobster roll on a buttered, toasted roll...top sliced roll, to boot.

                                                                                                                                            1. ChInese Pie....kind of like shepard's pie....browned hamburg topped with corn then mashed potatoes.

                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: missylrn

                                                                                                                                                Are you sure this is a Boston thing? I've never heard of it and had to look it up.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                                                  The only place I've ever seen Chinese pie (alias Shepherds Pie) is at Cotes Market in Lowell.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: catsmeow

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I think it may originally have French roots.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: missylrn

                                                                                                                                                      having a french name doesn't mean it has french roots. although chinese camp cooks slopped it together, i'm surprised it's that old.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                        It either derives it's name from China, Maine or from Chinese camp cooks. Either way, it is considered to have French origins. I posted a link down below for Pate Chinois.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                                                    I grew up in Lowell, just north of Boston and it was in a regular rotation in our home growing up in the 70s It was apparently popular with railroad workers and in school cafeterias.
                                                                                                                                                    I haven't seen in in any other areas I've lived in....California and NJ.
                                                                                                                                                    It is still in rotation with my home these days.

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: missylrn

                                                                                                                                                    Pâté chinois is a popular dish in French Canada. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A2t...

                                                                                                                                                    Interesting connection to New England.

                                                                                                                                                  4. Well I've talked to a number of people from other states over the years because of the work that I do and from what I gather - once you leave the New England area you are hard pressed to find many Fish & Chips shops. I grew up in Dorchester in the 70's and 80's and there was a fish market that also sold fried fish and chip dinners on just about every other block and we always got fish and chips at least once a week so I took it for granted however you tell this to anyone from North Carolina or Texas or California and they are amazed. They also will laugh at you if you say Tahdah sauce :)