50 States, 50 Plates

The must-have eats in every state (plus, DC) according to James Beard Award-winning chef Andrew Zimmern.

You Might Also Like

Coconut Tree Grubs in Iquitos

Coconut Tree Grubs in Iquitos

In the heart of the Amazon jungle in Peru, locals harvest coconut tree grubs and sell them in the market skewered and charred over an open flame. These protein-rich grubs taste like crisp rolls of charred chicken skin if they are cooked properly. If not. they taste like pus bags filled with rotted digested wood. 960 1280

  

Hákarl in Iceland

Hákarl in Iceland

Really, the worst tasting foods are the fermented, spoiled ones like Hákarl. Made from the Greenland shark, the meat is poisonous when fresh, so in order to eat it, Icelanders let it spoil in the ground for months and then out in the elements for a few more to dry. It’s a revolting dish to many first timers; eating it without gagging is what separates the men from the boys. While the smell of the putrefied shark itself could make the faint-hearted ill, the taste is ultimately sweet, nutty and faintly fishy … if you like ammoniated wax. 960 1280

Andrew Zimmern  

Coral Worms in Samoa

Coral Worms in Samoa

Palolo are tiny, little worms that live in the coral reefs deep off the coast of Samoa in the trenches of the Pacific. They come out of the coral every few years when the atmospheric conditions are right and the locals scoop them off the surface and eat them plain, sautéed or as a spread on bread. It tastes like liver fermented in salt water, but that doesn’t do the bright blue color very much justice. 960 1280

Andrew Zimmern  

Fermented Skate in Korea

Fermented Skate in Korea

Both adored and despised in South Korea, fermented skate, or hongeo, has the distinct odor of hospital-floor cleaner mixed with glue solvent.  Mostly served “raw,” the pungent fish is seeing a resurgence in popularity. Be prepared to smell like an outhouse after leaving a restaurant that serves the delicacy -- it’s the price you pay, but it’s worth it. 960 1280

Andrew Zimmern  

Giant Sea Squirt in Santiago Chile

Giant Sea Squirt in Santiago Chile

Found off the coast of Chile, these giant sea squirts called pyura are the size of basketballs. They're sliced open with a serrated sword to reveal the little throbbing corpuscles that live inside the spongy, rock-like carapace. They taste of pure iodine dipped in fish oil, but with a squirt of lemon they are transformed into deliciousness. Culinary alchemy at its finest. 960 1280

Andrew Zimmern  

Horse-Rib-and-Rectum Sausage in Kazakhstan

Horse-Rib-and-Rectum Sausage in Kazakhstan

People in Kazakhstan eat every conceivable part of the horse, from the fat cap under the mane to the rectum. They don’t waste any part of the animal. One of the best things I tried at Almaty’s Green Bazaar was kazy, a horse sausage made from whole pieces of rib meat seasoned with garlic and salt, torn from the bone and stuffed into natural casings from the horse’s lowermost end, dried to cure and then smoked, resulting in a beautiful mix of meat and melt-in-your-mouth fat. Strange for some I guess, but delicious and very normal in Central Asia. 960 1280

Tito_Herrera  

Sea Cucumber in Alaska

Sea Cucumber in Alaska

The waters off of Sitka, AK, are ripe with exotic sea creatures such as octopus, sea cucumbers and abalone. Sea cucumber, when cooked correctly, is extraordinary. All it needs is a few minutes in a wok with a little soy sauce seasoning. The squishy creatures taste like lettuce-y sea vegetables with a bit of crunch, but mostly yielding a buttery texture. The trick is splitting them open, scraping the innards out, and then using a spatula to peel the “meat” off the rock-hard exoskeleton. 960 1280

Andrew Zimmern  

Tarantulas in Cambodia

Tarantulas in Cambodia

We are pre-conditioned in this country to think of tarantulas as scary and poisonous, belonging on Halloween decorations not dinner plates. But they taste great, reminding me of sweet and delicate crabs when they’re fresh. After digging them out of the ground, the tarantulas need to be defanged, washed and then scorched to remove the hair. In Cambodia, they’re deep fried, then wok sautéed with sugar, salt, chilies and garlic. They are superb when they're treated like lobster or crab, taken from their lair to the dinner table as quickly as possible. 960 1280

Andrew Zimmern  

Giraffe Weevils in Madagascar

Giraffe Weevils in Madagascar

Try these bugs blindfolded and you’d never know you were eating a beetle that looks like a Dr. Seuss creature. Sautéed in a bit of salty water and butter, they are tender morsels that taste like shrimp. This is the kind of bizarre food that would stop you in your tracks if placed in your hand. And they only live in this one place in the world. 960 1280

Andrew Zimmern  

Ensete in Ethiopia

Ensete in Ethiopia

Ensete is 1 of 2 species of vinifera in a special part of the “false banana” family. It’s also the name of the bread made with the pounded root ball of the same plant although it’s properly called kocho. The bread is made with a fermented paste of the root ball that’s buried underground for months to get its groove on. It’s treasured in Ethiopia as a super food, but it’s an acquired taste to say the least. 960 1280

  

10. Santiago, Chile

10. Santiago, Chile

You'll think you've discovered culinary heaven in Santiago — great wine, beef and the freshest seafood. 960 1280

  

9. Barcelona

9. Barcelona

Barcelona is home to the West's most innovative chefs, including gastropreneurs Juan Arzak and Ferran Adria. 960 1280

  

8. Los Angeles

8. Los Angeles

LA is one of my favorite places for authentic Korean food, classic steakhouse dinners and fast-food restaurants. 960 1280

  

7. Sicily, Italy

7. Sicily, Italy

Sicily's cuisine is a blend of techniques influenced by Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, French and Spanish. 960 1280

  

6. Mexico City

6. Mexico City

Mexico is one of the most diverse countries. The food is no different, and you'll find it all in Mexico City. 960 1280

  

5. Paris

5. Paris

In Paris, food is an art form. Cooks care about the quality of the ingredients to create culinary masterpieces. 960 1280

  

4. Bangkok

4. Bangkok

Bangkok's street-food scene is legendary. Few meals have topped what I've found at Khlong Toey market. 960 1280

  

3. Beijing

3. Beijing

Beijing is all about the night markets. One of my favorites is Donghuamen — a serious place for street eats. 960 1280

  

2. Tokyo

2. Tokyo

Tokyo is home to elegant fine dining, cheap noodle shops and some of the weirdest feats in the culinary world. 960 1280

  

1. New York City

1. New York City

I love NYC street food. Its vibrant street culture is home to some of the best mobile food imaginable. 960 1280

  

'Explore the Dalmatian Coast.' ' Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

'Take a bareboat trip through Turkey and Greece.' ' Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

'Spend a few weeks in Tibet. I've never been, but I'm dying to go.' ' Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

'Take my son on a world tour to all the places I have been. I want him to meet all the amazing people who I've met around the world.' ' Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

'I want to visit Moscow. I've been to Russia a few times, but not to Moscow.' ' Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

'I want to ride the Orient Express in First Class or higher.' ' Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

Getty Images  

'Visit West Central Africa. I've been to all the other countries but not that part of Africa.' ' Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

'I would love to live in Provence, France, for a summer.' ' Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

'I would love to go on a road trip from Minnesota through the Dakotas to visit all the state parks and travel up into the Pacific Northwest.' ' Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

'I've always wanted to live in Sweden for one summer.' ' Andrew Zimmern 960 1280

  

Photos

Jethro's BBQ

Jethro's BBQ

Guests at Jethro's BBQ in Des Moines, IA, engage in the Adam Emmenecker Challenge. Those who scarf down the 5-lb. sandwich in less than 15 minutes join Jethro's Wall of Fame. 960 1280

  

Jethro's BBQ

Jethro's BBQ

Jethro's BBQ award-winning wings are smoked over oak and hickory wood for 2 hours before they are flash-fried for 15 seconds, giving them a crispy, hot taste. 960 1280

  

Salt Lick BBQ

Salt Lick BBQ

Located in the heart of Driftwood, TX, The Salt Lick is a meat eater's retreat for lip-smacking, rib-sticking and finger-licking barbecue. 960 1280

  

Salt Lick BBQ

Salt Lick BBQ

People come from all over the country to enjoy The Salt Lick's famed barbecue. 960 1280

  

Salt Lick BBQ

Salt Lick BBQ

The Salt Lick's sear-it, smoke-it and slow-cook-it tradition began in 1857 with owner Scott Roberts' great-grandparents Bettie and James Howard. 960 1280

  

barbecue

barbecue

In some parts of the country, barbecue meat has a dry rub. But in Texas, if you are going to have barbecue, you are going to get "sauced." 960 1280

  

Gus's Fried Chicken

Gus's Fried Chicken

At Gus's Fried Chicken in Memphis, TN, the batter is really thin and spicy so the skin gets really crispy, making it a little bit different from most fried chicken. 960 1280

  

Gus's Fried Chicken

Gus's Fried Chicken

This Memphis institution has been serving fried chicken since Gus's father Napoleon Vanderbilt opened the original restaurant more than half a century ago. 960 1280

  

Keens Steakhouse

Keens Steakhouse

One of America's Manliest Restaurants, Keens Steakhouse in NYC, is a throwback restaurant set against a Victorian backdrop with more than 125 years of history. 960 1280

  

Keens Restaurant in New York

Keens Restaurant in New York

This meaty mecca with mammoth proportions oozes masculinity. 960 1280

  

Keens Steakhouse

Keens Steakhouse

People ranging from Albert Einstein to Theodore Roosevelt would come to Keens Steakhouse and have a pipe with dinner. 960 1280

  

hobie cat

hobie cat

Hit the beach. There are more than 70 miles of beach to explore in Barbados with no shortage of water sports. Snorkel with sea turtles, go jet-skiing, kayak or just drift away on a small hobie cat. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

Barbados Sunset

Barbados Sunset

See the sunset from your beach chair. Like any other Caribbean island, Bajan sunsets are spectacular. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

flying fish

flying fish

Taste the flying fish. It's the national dish of Barbados and some of the best is at the Oistin's Fish Fry, held every Friday night in Christ Church Parrish. Stop by Pat's, they’re known for its fried and grilled flying fish platters. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

Chef Marcus Samuelsson

Chef Marcus Samuelsson

See a celebrity chef. If you've come for the Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival, you'll enjoy many celebrity chef sightings. Go to a cooking demonstration from a culinary great like Marcus Samuelsson. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

Chef Ming Tsai

Chef Ming Tsai

Sample top chef cuisine. One of the highlights of the Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival is Ambrosia, where world-renown chefs like Ming Tsai serve up their best for foodie fans. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

Mount Gay Rum

Mount Gay Rum

Drink rum. Barbados is the home of Mount Gay Rum, the world's oldest rum, dating back to 1703. The distillery's visitor center tour in Bridgetown features various label tastings. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

Reggae Lounge Graffiti

Reggae Lounge Graffiti

Party in St. Lawrence Gap. This is the street where tourists and locals go to party. Check out the Reggae Lounge for hip-hop, reggae and soca, or head to McBride's for pop and '80s tunes. 960 1280

  

St. James Anglican Parrish Church

St. James Anglican Parrish Church

Visit the oldest church in Barbados. The St. James Anglican Parrish Church in St. James Parrish was started in 1628 by the British settlers. Many of those early settlers were buried here due to a small pox epidemic. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

St. James Parrish

St. James Parrish

Learn about the island culture. Each parrish or borough in Barbados is named for its church, which explains why St. James Parrish Church is in St. James Parrish. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

Barbados North Point

Barbados North Point

Take in the island's natural beauty. Find a friendly, local taxi driver or rent a car to drive around the coast of Barbados. Be careful, they drive on the left side of the road here. North Point, on the northernmost tip of the island in St. Lucy Parrish, features plunging views of the Caribbean. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

Cherry Tree Hill

Cherry Tree Hill

See a sleeping giant. Drive to Cherry Tree Hill on the way to the east coast to view the Bajan mountains also known as the "Sleeping Giant." If you look closely, you'll see the giant's head point to the ocean with his mouth open and his belly pointing inland. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

Bathesheba

Bathesheba

Go to Bathesheba and hang 10 with the surfers. Bathesheba is a surfer’s paradise. It’s a natural wonder with its crashing waves and odd protruding, limestone rock formations. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

Harrison's Cave

Harrison's Cave

Explore Harrison's Cave, a new eco-tourism destination in St. Thomas Parrish. Take a tram ride deep into its limestone core to see stunning stalagmite and stalactite formations. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

Monkey crossing the road

Monkey crossing the road

See monkeys cross the road. Why do they cross the road? In this case, to eat a piece of fruit on the side of the road. The green monkeys look more greyish-brown than green, and they’ve been spotted on resorts across the island. 960 1280

Robin Bennefield  

5 Photos
El Toro tri-tip BBQ

El Toro tri-tip BBQ

Did You Know? The 2 hottest chilis in the world, the Naga Viper and Infinity chilli, were developed in England and are available as a sauces. England is now producing the hottest natural chilli sauces (without added pepper extract) available in the world.

Dish 1: El Toro
Where: Phil’s BBQ, 3750 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110
960 1280

  

Fry Sauce” on Pastrami Double Crown Burger

Fry Sauce” on Pastrami Double Crown Burger

Did You Know? The oldest known condiment is garum, a sauce of fermented fish used by the ancient Romans.

Dish 2: "Fry Sauce" on Pastrami Double Crown Burger
Where: Crown Burgers, 377 East 200 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
960 1280

  

Sicilian Pizza from Spumoni Garden

Sicilian Pizza from Spumoni Garden

Did You Know? Today, ketchup is one of the most popular condiments in the world. Americans buy over 175 billion bottles every year.

Dish 3: Sicilian Pizza
Where: L&B Spumoni Garden, 2725 86th St, Brooklyn, NY 11223
960 1280

  

Tiger Sauce on Pit Beef Sandwich

Tiger Sauce on Pit Beef Sandwich

Did You Know? Famous chef Julia Child once said "sauces are the splendor and the glory of cooking."

Dish 4: Tiger Sauce on Pit Beef Sandwich
Where: CHAPS Charcoal Restaurant, 5801 Pulaski Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21205
960 1280

  

Peach BBQ Sauce

Peach BBQ Sauce

Did You Know? Today, over 40 different varieties of peaches are grown in Georgia.

Dish 5: Peach BBQ Sauce
Where: Sweet Potatoes, 6825 Waters Ave, Savannah, GA 31406
960 1280

  

The Hot List

Explore America’s most stunning scenery.
Join the conversation on Social Media!
Stay updated on the latest travel tips and trends.
Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.