16. Philly cheesesteak
If you visit Philly without eating a cheesesteak, You’re really missing out. A delicious gutbuster of a sandwich, the Philly cheesesteak was reportedly invented by Pat and Harry Olivieri back in the early 1930s (Pat’s remains the city’s most famous cheesesteak shop, along with Geno’s across the street). It’s a cheesy, greasy mashup of thin-sliced griddled beef, cheese (usually American, provolone, or Cheez Whiz), and chopped onions all piled into a long hoagie roll, and it’s wildly delicious.
17. Banh mi
Brought over to the United States by Vietnamese immigrants, the bÃ¡nh mÃ¬ is a perfect example of the influence of French imperialism in the country’s foods. It starts with a small Vietnamese baguette (which has a thinner crust and a more airy crumb than its French counterpart), and a classically filled with meats that might include ham, shredded pork, meatballs, pÃ¢tÃ©, or grilled chicken along with fresh cilantro, shredded pickled carrot and radish, and condiments including hot sauce and mayo. Most bÃ¡nh mÃ¬ shops offer at least 10 options for the filling.
The gyro might be Greece’s best-known contribution to America’s culinary world. In Greece, it usually refers to any type of meat that’s cooked on a vertical spit, sliced, and tucked into a pita, but in the US that meat usually tends to be a large, dense loaf of (usually) lamb along with herbs and spices that’s cut into thin slices after being browned on the spit, accompanied by lettuce, onion, tomato, tzatziki sauce, and sometimes French fries in a rolled-up pita. You also might also see it referred to as doner kebab, otis Turkish name.
19. California roll
Ask any sushi lover what their “gateway roll” was, and most likely they’ll tell you it was the California roll. In fact, the California roll wasn’t just influential in turning Americans on to sushi, it also helped usher in Asian fusion cuisine as we know it. Its origins remain murky, but by 1980 it had caught on in popularity so much in California that it was featured in Gourmet, and from there it became popular on a national scale. To make a classic California roll, avocado, crab (or, more frequently, imitation crab called surimi), and cucumber are rolled up “inside-out” with seaweed and sushi rice.
20. Buffalo wings
No game day is complete without a platter of hot, crispy Buffalo wings, doused in a tangy, spicy sauce. It’s hard to believe that before Buffalo wings were invented by Teresa Bellissimo at her Anchor Bar in Buffalo, back in 1964, wings were usually just thrown out or used for stock. But by deep-frying them and tossing them in a mixture of Frank’s hot sauce and butter, she struck gold, and an icon was born. Buffalo wings remain a Buffalo fixture to this day, where countless bars and restaurants (most notably Anchor Bar) serve them to millions of hungry patrons annually.
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