Life in the US

From Appetizers to Entrees: 24 Popular American Foods

Hot dogs with mustard and relish



New. Exciting. And maybe even disgusting. Welcome to American cuisine.

Here are some of the most popular American lunch and dinner items you’ll find in the dining hall and at restaurants. We hope you’re hungry—and maybe you’ll decide to try a new American food after reading this.


1. Buffalo wings

These spicy, deep fried appetizers are chicken covered in Buffalo sauce. They get the name “Buffalo” from where they were invented: Buffalo, New York. Usually served with celery, because that makes them “healthy.”


2. Clam chowder

Available “New England” style (cream-based) or “Manhattan” style (tomato-based). Either way, clam chowder is a soup-er good way to start your meal.


3. Chicken noodle soup

Chicken, noodles and vegetables. Try this comforting soup when that guy who can’t stop coughing in class gets you sick—it’ll help.


4. Chili

Lots of beef, tomato and maybe some beans.  This sometimes spicy soup is so hearty it’s basically a meal in itself.


5. Corn dog

A hot dog in a ground corn batter. And deep fried. Especially popular at carnivals, county fairs and other places where it’s somehow normal to eat food on a stick.


mini-burgers-with-cheese-onion-and-pickle6. Sliders

Perfect for when you want to eat multiple (small) burgers. Perfect for sharing…or not.


7. Bacon Cheeseburger

Sliders not enough for you? Try this ultimate American sandwich: a hamburger with melted cheese and smoky bacon.


8. Barbeque ribs

Either pork or beef ribs in a smoky BBQ sauce (see number 23 below). The meat is usually so tender it “falls off the bone,” which is the only time that phrase isn’t creepy.


9. Reuben sandwich

Globally popular salt-cured beef, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, German sauerkraut (sour cabbage) and rye bread popular in Europe. It’s like the United Nations of sandwiches.


10. Peanut butter and jelly

Salty, creamy “butter” made from peanuts, plus fruit jelly. We bet you won’t go a week before seeing someone eat a PB&J in class.


11. Tacos

Keeping with our international theme, Americans love tacos inspired by Mexican cuisine. This usually includes a hard taco shell, ground beef, diced tomatoes, sour cream and lettuce. Good luck eating just one.


12. Fried chicken

Especially popular in the American south, this crispy chicken is as delicious as it is unhealthy. Don’t be shy about eating with your hands.


13. Chicken fried steak

Speaking of fried chicken…the name refers to the batter, commonly used for fried chicken. Because this is America, where we even fry steaks sometimes.


14. Thanksgiving dinnerFull-Homemade-Thanksgiving-Dinner

Giving thanks is easy when turkey, mashed potatoes, bread stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce are involved.


15. Sloppy Joe

We’re not sure where the Joe part comes in, but this tangy ground beef sandwich sure can be sloppy, or messy. Worth every napkin.


16. Grilled cheese sandwich

This comforting sandwich combines melted cheese and bread that’s toasted golden brown. To be healthy, ask for tomato too. Or be American and ask for bacon instead.


17. Meatloaf

A loaf….of meat? Yes. A loaf of meat. Ground beef (and sometimes ground pork too). You can expect to find this curious but popular dish in the dining hall regularly.


18. Ramen

These cheap Japanese noodles are such an American college student favorite that we had to include them.


Homemade-Macaroni-and-Cheese19. Mac and cheese


Prefer your noodles covered in cheese? Meet macaroni and cheese. Kids love it, adults love it and you might too.


20. Cornbread

Sometimes moist and fluffy, sometimes dry and dense. Embrace the gambling nature of America and try slightly sweet cornbread whenever you can.


21. Mashed potatoes and gravy

Creamy potatoes and rich gravy. A wonderful American pairing, like baseball and sunny days. Except with a lot more butter.


22. Salsa

Move over, ketchup. Americans love this tomato-based Mexican sauce, whether it’s mild or spicy, chunky or smooth. Salsa is usually served as a dip in a bowl or on top of Hispanic cuisine.


23. BBQ sauce

You’ll find many varieties of BBQ sauce, but in general it’s tangy, smoky and, like you, a little sweet.


24. Ranch dressing

How good is tangy, creamy ranch dressing? So good that it makes Americans want to eat vegetables. No wonder it’s the most popular salad dressing in the country.


Hungry for more? Visit Adelphi University on Facebook to further explore the American lifestyle.


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