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When in Chicago, Dive into the Local Food

Chicago
Image credit: Zeno Group

We all know that Chicago is a beautiful place with its architecture and museums, but what we don’t know is that Chicago offers its people and the visitors with some delicious savouries that you’d definitely want to try at least once in Chicago. Why don’t we have a look at the best local dishes of Chicago?

1. Deep Dish Pizza

Pizza is a dish loved by almost everyone, and in Chicago, you have to ditch your diet and have this cheesy dish. Chicago is synonymous with deep-dish pizza and the city’s devotion to this delicacy is uncontested. The anatomy of a true deep-dish pizza starts with a sturdy, buttery crust that is moulded into a high-sided pan. Along with gooey mozzarella and sauce on the buttery crust, it evokes imagery of Italian tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine. Extra toppings are added to make it tastier.

Deep Dish Pizza

2. Italian Beef

Belonging to the family of popular dishes of Chicago, this dish is exactly what you want to satisfy your hunger. Italian Beef sandwiches are found on the local streets of Chicago. A large chuck roast, Italian dressing mix, beef broth, and pepperoncini peppers cooked low and slow until it turns brown. Featuring a simple sandwich roll and thinly sliced roasted beef dipped in its own liquid from the cooking process and the option of cheese along with hot and sweet peppers. Ask yourself what it is like to have a Chicagoan dish that has an Italian name?

Italian Beef

3. Cheeseburger

Who doesn’t like a burger that has an overdose of cheese? We all love it, right?

A cheeseburger not only has cheese but also other elements that make it tastier and more delicious. The various elements included are – tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions, jalapenos, American cheese, beef and egg. City dwellers are particularly fond of the two-patty variety which hinges on thin grilled patties that are blanketed in American cheese. Chicago’s best burger is dressed with Dijonnaise and house-made pickle.

Cheeseburger

4. Tamales

Tamales? You mean Tacos? Oh yes but a completely different version of it which the Chicago locals are wonderful at making. Tamale is a traditional Mesoamerican dish that is made of Masa or dough and the locals of Chicago have a connection with these savory corn-husk wrapped bundles. It is made of tortillas made of masa dough and filled with ingredients like meat, veggies, cheese and fruits. It is then seasoned with the toppings that the eater would want to have and for the vegetarians too there are several options available.

Tamales

5. Fried Chicken

Known for its crispy ever-growing roster of crispy poultry, Chicago offers the most amazing variety of chicken. One should definitely indulge in some crispy, oil-dappled chicken. The fried chicken- a mix of bone-in drumsticks and boneless breasts and thighs- wears a hearty breading that is supremely crunchy and fragrant with smoked paprika that is finger-licking good. If you dig into the goodness of fried chicken in Chicago, you’ll realize how crazy it to find it at every corner of Chicago.

Fried Chicken

6. Donuts

Have you ever heard that a balanced diet is holding donuts in two hands? A good donut is hard to resist and judging by the number of shops around town, Chicago people seem to agree. Chicago has a lot of places specializing in these sweet ring-shaped treats. From the peanut one to cinnamon one, from dark chocolate mousse filling to white chocolate truffle, donuts in Chicago will never let you down. Some are filled with salted caramel, some filled with hazelnut flavours and also ones with seasonal flavours are what you can find here.

Donuts

7. Chicago-style Hot dog

Try the different varieties of hotdogs and indulge in the best dishes in Chicago. It is quite different from other hotdogs, it is a steamed all-beef Hot Dog with yellow mustard, bright green relish, onions, tomato wedges, pickle spear or slice, sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt served in all important steamed poppy bun. Chicago Hot dog- it’s a taste sensation with the perfect blend of toppings. And the best part is that these hot dogs are easily available at almost all places in Chicago, so why not try one?

Chicago-style Hot dog

8. Jibarito

You can never go wrong with a jibarito in Chicago. When we talk about the food, jibarito is a “sandwich” that instead of bread, uses green plantain. For vegans too, there are many options easily available. The main ingredients of this dish include bread, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickled red onions and kaya sauce. And also, they are seasoned with different kinds of toppings that are to be added along with an overload of cheese. They can be filled with steak, pork, meat, deli meat etc. They can be found at almost every food joint in Chicago and are super filling! The garlicky flavour brings everything together.

Jibarito

9. Malört

A legendary drink of Chicago and one of the nastiest liquids in the world. It was introduced in the 1930s by Carl Jepson. It is known for its bitter taste. It is a bitter wormwood-flavoured liquor of the Swedish origin that is considered to be one of the worst tasting drinks in the entire world. The main ingredient is Branvinn that is made of wheat, potatoes and other grains. It is intensely, palate-contortingly, hard-to-hold-down-bitter. If you don’t purchase this drink by yourself, then a local will definitely convince you to try at least one shot of it.  So now you better be ready, when you go to Chicago.

Malört

10. Italian Lemonade

Nothing is more satisfying than a glass full of lemonade in Chicago after a heavy lunch. Local street sellers often sell this dish for quite a cheaper rate. The drink is made of fresh basil leaves, water, soda, syrup, lemon, sugar, ice and one glass of sparkling water. Syrup for this drink is made by using sugar and water, heated on a saucepan and then put directly into the glass filled with lemon water. It is then stored in the refrigerator and served chilled with basil leaves sprinkled all over.

Italian Lemonade

11. Tacos

How can you afford to miss the Tacos that Chicago offers you? You must try the tacos that are available at almost every food parlour that sells hot snacks. Taco spots are everywhere in Chicago, and we must say that they all offer us different varieties. Tacos are made on a tortilla made of flour which includes various fillings that are just right to satisfy your hunger. So they include veggies like lettuce, tomato, garlic, and other ingredients that form the base of the tacos are fish, cilantro, onions, chicken. When in Chicago, you must definitely try at least two varieties of Tacos.

Tacos

12. Churros

Belonging to the dessert family of Spanish cuisine, this dish is extremely popular in Chicago. They’re usually eaten during breakfast and are made of sweet flour dough. The batter is put into a machine until it gets the shape and then fried in oil until it looks crunchy. The churros are really tasty with a crispy edge and are not very filling depending on how many you have. In Chicago, they are specially made in a different style for kids. Various toppings like chocolate sauce, cookie crumbles, Nutella, honey, caramel and vanilla are added. There are many churro shops that sell them at very cheap rates.

Churros

13. Cohasset Punch

Drinking a glass of Cohasset punch originally means drinking the Chicago way. Though it is considered to be a Chicago based cocktail, it was actually first concocted in the Massachusetts bayside town. An incredibly delightful drink, it consists of rum, lemon, orange bitter and canned peaches (changes in the fruit can be made). This drink is soothing and cools your mind. Along with the sweetness of sugar syrup, there is also a tangy taste due to the lemon and orange zest present in it. One should definitely go in search of this drink for it is not very easily available everywhere.

Cohasset Punch
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Written by Yukti Jain

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