Special Report

25 Foods That Made Places Really Famous

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21. Crab Rangoon

Rangoon is the old name of Yangon, the capital of Myanmar (formerly Burma), but this popular Chinese-American and tiki-bar appetizer of crab meat or imitation crab and cream cheese in a fried wonton wrapper has nothing to do with the cuisine of that region. It was likely invented by restaurateur “Trader Vic” Bergeron in San Francisco in the 1950s.

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22. Dover sole

Names for the southern English fishing port of Dover, where most of it was landed in the 19th century, this highly esteemed flatfish (Solea solea) is all over the eastern Atlantic and in the North Sea and the Mediterranean.

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23. Mongolian barbecue

The East Asian country of Mongolia has about as much to do with this preparation of stir-fried meats and vegetables as Burma does with crab Rangoon. It was developed by a Beijing-born restaurateur who had fled to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War in the early 1950s. Not wanting to name it after Beijing for political reasons, he decided that “Mongolian” would be a term unlikely to offend anyone.

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24. Kobe beef

One of Japan’s best-known and most expensive culinary treasures, this is Wagyu beef from a variety of Japanese Black cattle raised in the country’s Hyōgo Prefecture. It takes its name from the prefecture city of Kobe on Osaka Bay.

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25. Peking duck

A precursor of this famous Chinese banquet specialty was made as early as the fifth century A.D., but the dish in something like its current form — with the duck coated in a sweet soy glaze, dried, and then roasted until its skin turns a crisp golden-brown — first appeared about a thousand years later. A restaurant in Peking (now Beijing) opened in 1416 was the first place to specialize in it, and is probably responsible for its name.