50 States of Fried Food

There’s something universally appealing about fried fare. At restaurants and state fair across the country, people are battering and frying favorite foods with local spins, including chicken-fried bacon and even battered butter on a stick. Here are the coolest State Fair-style fried foods in all 50 states.

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Tater Tot Hotdish on a Stick, Minnesota

The ideal combination of Americana and Scandinavia, the deep-fried casserole from Ole and Lena’s is well on its way to becoming a Minnesota State Fair icon (which is impressive at a fair hailed for its bizarre foods). To create the dish, the team skewers Swedish meatballs and tater tots, then dips them into corn dog batter before a dunk in the deep fryer. A side of mushroom hamburger sauce makes for the creamy casserole-style dip that’s truly Minnesotan.

Deep-Fried Cheesesteak, Pennsylvania

Boredom and a love for fried foods gave Hoagie Xpress owner Chalie McDonald the idea for this deep fried take on the iconic Philly cheesesteak. The City of Brotherly Love’s namesake sandwich usually combines paper thin slices of beefsteak with melted cheese — preferably Cheez Whiz — in a hoagie roll. While standing around on one cold winter’s day in nearby Levittown, Pennsylvania, McDonald decided to forego the bread, sticking thinly sliced griddled beef with American cheese in a wrap, plunging the whole thing in bubbling oil and adding an extra side of liquid cheddar for dipping. The result might just be better than the original, if such a thing is possible.

Deep-Fried Lobster on Stick, Maine

Lobster is serious business in Maine. Many restaurants and seafood shacks will only serve it steamed or cradled in a fluffy bun. But at Susan's Fish and Chips in Portland on Fridays and Saturdays, the fried-seafood experts deep fry lobster on a stick. Fresh lobster tails are dredged in cornmeal batter, impaled, sent for a swim in the deep fryer and served with drawn butter. This fairground-style lobster is a hot commodity in Portland, so the folks here advise guests to call ahead to ensure they haven't sold out.

Fried Cheese Curds, Wisconsin

Before cheese is formed into blocks or wheels, it starts out as cheese curds. The small chunks, which are the basis for Wisconsin’s famed cheddar, are mildly flavored and salty with a nice springy bite. They’re also delicious deep-fried and plunged into assorted dips. Ceaselessly snackable, fried curds are revered among Wisconsinites, especially when beer is involved. They’re found on bar and brewpub menus across the state such as Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, where squeeky Clock Shadow Creamery curds are battered, fried and served with garlic ranch.

Cheesy Enchilada Funnel Cake, Iowa

The Iowa State Fair is known for its deep-fried bonanza. It is, of course, the birthplace of the whole stick of butter deep-fried on a stick. (For the record: Plain fried butter was created in Texas.) Best Around Concessions puts sweet and savory spins on fair-favorite funnel cakes, inventing combinations like pineapple inside-out, red velvet and funnel fried bacon, but it’s new cheesy enchilada funnel might just take the cake. This savory treat starts with a less-sweet take on traditional funnel cake batter that’s fried, then topped with chorizo and white queso dip.

Chimichangas, Arizona

Some mishaps end up as a fortunate stroke of serendipity. When El Charro Cafe’s founding chef, Monica Flin, accidentally dropped a big burrito into a vat of frying oil, she unintentionally invented the chimichanga. Now, those crisp, stuffed tortillas (filled with proteins like chicken, beef, shrimp, beans or carnitas) can be found in Southwestern restaurants from coast-to-coast, but true lovers of deep fried Mexican cuisine still make the pilgrimage to El Charro Café. Run by Flin’s descendents, it’s served quality Southwestern food since 1922.

Rocky Mountain Oysters, Colorado

Oysters may not leap to mind as a state specialty for land-locked Colorado, but Rocky Mountain oysters aren’t actually oysters. They’re bulls’ testicles. For real: Colorado is a big cattle state. At Bruce’s Bar in Severance, a small town just north of Denver, the "oysters" have been on the menu for more than a half-century. Bull or bison parts are breaded and fried, then served in a basket over fries.

French Fries, Idaho

Idaho’s potatoes are so world-famous, the state has its own potato museum. In the state capital, Boise Fry Company salutes the beloved spuds by dedicating an entire restaurant to fries. (O.K., it does serve burgers, too.) Sourced locally from M&M Heath Farms in nearby Buhl, Idaho, the fast-casual concept offer seven different varieties of potatoes — Russet, Gold, Laura, Yam, Sweet, Purple and Okinawa — chopped into choice of five different cuts. Whether you go for regular, curly, shoestring or whatever else, each order is deep fried to-order and served with a selection of housemade dipping sauces. Basically, this place is Choose Your Own Adventure of French fries, and it’s just as much fun as the vintage books.

Spam Musubi, Hawaii

Spam may have been created on the mainland, but nowhere in the United States is it as popular or beloved as in Hawaii. The Aloha State goes through about 5 million pounds of the canned meat per year. It’s the star ingredient in one of the island’s most-iconic dishes, Spam musubi, which is basically sushi with Spam instead of raw fish. Typically, the dish combines the canned pork product with a square of rice, wrapped in nori (Japanese seaweed). Maui’s Da Kitchen makes it sizzle. The meat-like product is breaded and deep-fried, then drizzled with sweet-soy kabayaki sauce.

Crab Balls, Delaware

Maryland may earn name recognition for its crab cakes, but Delaware’s deep-fried crab balls are just as good, and perhaps the Mid-Atlantic’s best-kept secret. Seafood shacks throughout the region serve them. For more than 70 years, Meding’s, a Milford seafood haven, has served little puffs of deep-fried crab for the masses to plunge into tartar sauce. Made with no fillers, the well-seasoned crab rounds are salty, sweet and truly addictive.

Fried Avocado Tacos, California

In California, avocados and tacos are each so beloved, they can be considered their own food groups. Get them together in deep-fried glory at Oceanside’s Hello Betty Fish House. The restaurant’s fried avocado tacos are basically a vegetarian riff on the fish taco. Chef Jared Hills batters ripe slices of avocado to fry until golden and crisp. The creamy, crackling hunks of fruit are wrapped in chewy corn tortillas and topped off with cabbage, crema, salsa and a side of limes.

Alligator Bites, Florida

Alligator might sound exotic, but like so many other odd-sounding dishes, it really does taste a lot like chicken. And in some parts of Florida, it’s nearly as common. At Kush, a beer-centric, locavore restaurant in Miami’s artsy Wynwood neighborhood, Matt Kushner serves Florida Alligator bites that are an upscale, crab house-style twist on the Sunshine State classic. Fresh, local alligator from Cypress Creek Farms is coated in a light batter and fried until crisp. The resulting nuggets are seasoned with Old Bay and served with spicy mayonnaise.

Fried Pimento Cheese Balls, Virginia

One of the dishes sure to cause controversy in the south is pimento cheese. When the pimento cheese sandwich recipe at the Augusta National Golf Club was changed for the Masters, club members freaked, resulting in a sports media frenzy, dubbed pimento gate. Seriously! The folks at Torch Bistro in Norfolk don’t mind straying from pimento tradition. It’s version is totally adulterated and completely delicious. The fried pimento cheese balls include pimento cheese mixed with jalapenos, rolled into a sphere and thrown in the deep fryer with a serving of completely nontraditional sriracha ranch dressing on the side.

Fried Apple Pies, Georgia

Georgia’s orchards go well beyond peaches. In the fall, Georgians flock to the north to pick-your-own apple farms such as Mercier Orchards. The stunning 300-acre property in Blue Ridge grows nearly 50 apple varieties, including Crimson Crisp, Ginger Gold, Yate, Empire and Cameo. As good as they are on their own, they might be even better in the onsite country store’s fried apple pies. Sugared apples are stuffed into scratch-made crusts folded into crescents, deep-fried and dipped in a sweet glaze. Slightly sweet, slightly tart, crisp on the outside, gooey within and enjoyable both hot and cold, these little pockets are a portable taste of Southern fall.

Toasted Ravioli, Missouri

In a state known for its deep-fried cheese curds and burritos, toasted ravioli — which are not toasted at all — may be the most-iconic deep-fried dish of all. While it is a total misnomer, the dish is just as it sounds: crispy, breaded ravioli filled with meat and typically served with marinara sauce. At St Louis barbecue spot Salt + Smoke, toasted ravioli gets a wood-smoked spin, with a filling of chopped oak-smoked burnt ends inside, a dusting of garlic and herbs outside and Alabama-style white barbecue sauce for dipping.

French-Fried Onions, Illinois

A golden mass of deep-fried snack food, Hackney’s Original French Fried Onions are basically a pile of onion strings shaped into the form of a brick. Thinly sliced Spanish onions are coated in a bready batter, deep-fried to a rich amber hue and piled into a rectangular loaf that’s become a local obsession, best enjoyed on the patio with a beer.

Fried Bologna Sandwich, West Virginia

The hot bologna sandwich is a rite of passage in West Virginia, served in restaurants and made at home. Thick-cut bologna is fried, then doused with barbecue sauce and piled on bread with lettuce, cheese and a dash of hot sauce. The sandwich is served at popular Charleston restaurants like Dem 2 Brothers and a Grill and The Smokehouse on Charleston's West Side, and Tricky Fish on the East End, where owner Keeley Steele serves it with house BOG sauce, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce and tomato on a kaiser roll.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, North Carolina

Krispy Kreme’s airy, deep-fried rounds are now available around the globe, but the beloved chain was founded in Old Salem, North Carolina, back in 1937. And it’s still an intense source of pride. At stores all around the state (and globe), when the red neon "Hot Now" sign is on, fluffy doughnuts are served fresh off the conveyor belt, seconds after they’re pulled out of the fryer and coated with that sweet glaze. The original, unflavored circles are still the number one pick; however, the company now offers a wide variety of flavors including, at one point, a Cheerwine soda-filled version, the ultimate Tar Heel State-inspired deep-fried treat.

Bacon Maple Doughnut, Oregon

Maple and bacon may seem like a standard (albeit exquisite) combination these days. Portland’s Voodoo Doughnut might just be credited for opening the food world’s palate to the joys of sweetened, salty pork in its notorious Maple Bacon Bar. Raised yeast dough is formed into logs and deep-fried to cloudlike consistency. The top is slathered with maple frosting as well as a crisp piece of bacon broken in half, decoratively placed side by side, so that smoky, snappy meat is evenly distributed in each ethereal bite.

Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, Indiana

Hog-friendly Indiana knows how to pile pork onto a sandwich. The unofficial Hoosier State sandwich is deep-fried, breaded pork tenderloin on a bun, beloved in restaurants and home kitchens from Lake Michigan to the Ohio River. The Mug, a "farm-to-curb" drive-in in Greenfield with a second location in Indianapolis, is one of the top places to take a bite. Made from local, pasture-raised hogs, the pork is pounded thin, breaded, deep-fried and set on a strikingly small bun. The overhanging tenderloin is like the food equivalent of Chris Farley's fat guy in a little coat, which is part of what makes people love it so much.

Rippers, New Jersey

New York City is famous for its dirty water dogs. Chicago dogs are hailed for their vegetal toppings. Detroit has its Coneys. If the Garden State had an official state hot dog, it would be the ripper. These dogs get their name from the rips and cracks in the skin that result from their dunks in the deep fryer. The exterior is far crispier than your average griddled hot dog, and the middle is softer and juicier. Rutt’s Hut in Clifton has been cooking rippers this way since 1928. They’re served on a bun with a special relish that’s just as legendary as the hot dogs themselves.

Beignets, Louisiana

Louisiana’s deeply entrenched French influence gives it a cultural edge over many other states, especially when it comes to food. A prime example: beignets. Long before doughnuts became a trendy food, NOLA residents were tucking into powdered sugar-dusted pillowy rounds of fresh-out-of-the-fryer beignets 24 hours a day at legendary coffee shop Café du Monde. The iconic French Quarter spot is globally renowned for its puffy rounds of fried dough, perfect for dunking in the shop’s chicory-scented coffee.

Coddies, Maryland

Part fish cake, part fritter, part knish, the coddie is a deep-fried Baltimore classic. Back in the 1920s, coddies were sold at soda fountains and delis all over the city. Potato and salt cod (sometimes seasoned with Old Bay) are patted into rounds and tossed in the deep fryer until chewy and crisp. The salty fish cakes are traditionally served at room temperature between two saltine crackers with bit of mustard. Today, Attman’s on Lombard Street is one of the top places to get a taste of the Charm City tradition.

Chicken-Fried Steak, Texas

Texas is renowned for its beef-centric fare, including brisket, hot links and hunks of prime steak. One of the state’s most-popular dishes is chicken-fried steak. Huge, comforting and served all over the state, it combines the crispness of fried chicken with the heft of steak. One of the most-beloved versions is offered an hour south of Austin at Gristmill. The three-story restaurant, set on the banks of Guadalupe River, draws large crowds for its buttermilk-battered gravy-topped steak.

Fish 'n Chips, Massachusetts

Massachusetts might as well be the fried-seafood capital of the United States. Sure, fried shrimp and crisp fish fillets abound from coast to coast, but the Codfish State — with plenty of coastline and fishermen — elevates batter-coated seafood to an art form. For a taste, head to The Druid in Cambridge for tender, crisp-crusted, classic fish 'n' chips. Run by natives of County Clare, Ireland, the pub gets fresh cod delivered daily. Each fillet is dipped to order in a simple batter of milk, butter, flour, salt and pepper, then fried in vegetable oil and nestled tightly in newspaper with fries just like they do in the old country.

Cheesy Bacon Pork Rinds on a Stick, Kansas

"I love pork rinds," says Vulla Dusek of Dusek Concessions. "And I wanted to do something other than blooming onions." After 20 years in the fair business, the Kansan launched her own concession company for the 2017 Kansas State Fair with the goal of dishing out completely unique deep-fried inventions. Dusek goes whole-hog with an assortment of deep-fried pork rinds in flavors like Cajun, barbecue, sea salt and cayenne, but her cheesy bacon pork rind on a stick is unlike any other porcine creation. Dusek batters and fries a blend of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses on a stick, then rolls the whole thing in deep-fried pork rinds and bacon with a side of ranch dressing.

Fried Clam Cakes, Rhode Island

This third-generation family-owned diner is a seafood-lover’s Shangri-La. Just minutes from the beach, Aunt Carrie’s serves straight-out-of-the-sea platters of steamed clams, lobsters, clam bellies and more with a view of Point Judith Lighthouse on the horizon and a briny ocean breeze wafting through the air. The deep-fried clam cakes are a staple. The kitchen goes through so many on a summer’s day, a large cement mixer is used to prepare the batter. Balls of chopped clams, flour, water and seasoning are dropped into searing beef shortening until perfectly chewy and crisp, and the perfect New England answer to crab cakes.

Deep-Fried Deviled Eggs, Nevada

Hailed as Downtown Las Vegas’ comfort food queen, Chef Natalie Young is known for her creative breakfast and lunch fare. The menu at her restaurant, Eat, combines many culinary influences for dishes like truffled egg sandwiches, chilaquiles and cinnamon biscuits. Her La’Kat’s deviled eggs are a perennial deep-fried crowd-pleaser. Hardboiled egg white is coated in batter, dipped into boiling oil, then filled with creamy egg yolk, like an innovative cross between a customary Scotch egg and traditional deviled egg. The whole thing is topped with chives, tangy hot sauce and crisp pieces of bacon.

Sopaipillas, New Mexico

Sopaipillas are an original New Mexican dish that tastes like fry bread and looks like a throw pillow. Cooks across the state (and beyond), form these fluffy squares from simple batter that is dropped into a sputtering deep fryer. In the Land of Enchantment, these doughy cushions are served on the side of entrees or coated with honey for dessert. One of the best places to try sopaipillas is La Cocina in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The cloud-like pastries are so big, the corners hang over the side of the plates. Guests eat them alongside the restaurant’s classic New Mexican plates.

Paczki, Michigan

Fried dough takes many regional forms across the U.S., including New Orleans’ beignets Hawaiian takes on Portuguese malasadas. In Michigan, Polish-style paczki — pronounced "punch-key" — reign supreme. Resembling jelly doughnuts, but with richer dough, these rounds are stuffed with custard or jams in classic flavors , along with more-interesting fillings like rose hip or stewed plum. Try them in well-known paczki bakeries like New Palace Bakery in Hamtramck, the heavily Polish town outside Detroit.

Funnel Cake Chocolate Balls, Arkansas

Fried Oreos, fried funnel cake balls, fried lemon balls, fried Snickers, fried Twinkies: Mom’s Kozy Kitchen, a Hot Springs food truck, conjures a fairground’s fried smorgasbord of desserts without the fleeting timeline of a State Fair. The funnel cake chocolate balls are the blue ribbon winner. Funnel cake batter studded with a chocolate kiss in the center, each ball is tossed into a 350-degree fryer, then dipped in powdered sugar. Served warm, the ball releases a pool of melted chocolate that infuses the sweet and fluffy cake.

Hot Chicken, Tennessee

What supposedly began as the fiery revenge of a lover scorned has morphed into Nashville’s most-famous dish. Legend has it that Thornton Prince’s girlfriend concocted this blazingly hot, insanely peppery dish as retribution for a particularly late night out on the town. He loved it enough to ask for seconds, and eventually opened Prince’s Hot Chicken to bring the aggressively spiced birds to the general public. The dish now appears across the United States, but Prince’s original is still considered the standard bearer.

Deep-Fried Pickle, Mississippi

Deep-fried pickles may have become a popular snack food from coast to coast, but this Mississippi cafe claims to be "home of the fried dill pickle," attracting crowds for it's fried pickle chips since 1970. Named for its original location in Hollywood, Mississippi, this sweet diner fries rounds of dill pickles in beer batter with a touch of cayenne pepper and chile powder. Though only 2,000 people live in Robinsonville, the café serves nearly 100,000 pickles annually.

Huckleberry French Toast, Montana

Set under the dramatic mountain peaks of Glacier National Park, this seasonal, family-owned cafe is a top destination for tourists and locals through the summer months. The views are stunning, the staff is friendly and the food has received national praise. The stuffed French toast is a top pick, filled with combinations like hazelnut-vanilla and caramel-apple. The most-beloved rendition, that’s most-emblematic of Montana and certainly most-famous, is the huckleberry. French toast is stuffed with local huckleberries and cream cheese, dipped in batter and deep fried until crisp on the outside, gooey within. The whole thing is dusted with powdered sugar and crowned with more huckleberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

Deep Fried Pizza Slice, New York

This Times Square institution is hailed for its cool Japanese pub vibe and incredible sake selection. You don’t have to be an aficionado of rice wine to enjoy the place, though: It’s also known for its excellent bar bites (and inexpensive beer). The most-iconic dish on its menu — and the one most representative of NYC — is the deep-fried slice. For each order, a slice of of plain cheese pizza (of unknown origins) is dipped in tempura batter and lobbed into a vat of hot oil. Although it sounds like it would feel like a brick in the gut, it’s not. These battered slices are actually light, crisp and devoid of excess grease.

Cheese Frenchees, Nebraska

Nebraska leads the rest of the country when it comes to superlative grilled cheese. Found in diners and restaurants across the state, Frenchees are essentially deep-fried grilled cheese sandwiches. Yet, they are far more interesting than they sound. American cheese and a touch of mayo is layered between two slices of white bread and cut into triangles. Each section is battered, rolled in crunchy coating and dunked into a fryer. Try it at one of the seven Don & Millie's locations spread around Omaha, Lincoln and Bellevue.

Poutine, New Hampshire

New Hampshire shares a border with Quebec, along with strong connection to French-Canadian heritage and its excellent cuisine. That means poutine is served throughout the state, with especially good renditions in and around Manchester. Gravy-coated cheese curd-topped fries appear on the menu at nearly every bar around town. New England Tap House Grill in Hooksett wins the gold for its luxe variation on the Quebecois classic. Fries are dusted with Parmesan and fresh rosemary, then coated in a rich sherry-peppercorn demi-glace with a drizzle of truffle oil. Ooh la la.

Chislic, South Dakota

Originally hailing from Caucasus and Russia, where it’s most commonly associated with pork, chislic has become a staple snack in South Dakota. In the Mount Rushmore State, the dish consists of hunks of red meat (beef, bison, mutton or game) cooked in scalding oil, served hot on a skewer or toothpick. Sioux Falls restaurant The Attic Bar and Grill is consistently ranked as one of the best places to eat deep-fried meat. Its chislic is flash-fried to medium-rare with garlic salt on the side and diners’ choice of dipping sauce including ranch, house bleu cheese, house barbecue and chipotle ranch. A little roughage (mushrooms, onions and green peppers) can be added for an additional $2.50.

Fleischkuekle, North Dakota

Similar to a Cornish pasty or an empanada, this meat-stuffed dough concoction made its way to North Dakota by way of Russian-German immigrants. Typically, fleischkuekle packs seasoned ground beef in pastry dough to be dunked in the fryer. Served hot, the dish is often accompanied by mashed potatoes with gravy. The assorted locations of Kroll’s Diner serve three different kinds of fleischkuekle including classic beef, one with sauerkraut and pepper jack cheese, and a breakfast fleischkuekle stuffed with ground pork sausage, American cheese and scrambled egg. The savory pies are so popular, the Diner sells about 1,000 a week.

Deep-Fried Mashed Potatoes on a Stick, Oklahoma

Mashed potatoes are often thought of a side to accompany fried proteins, but leave it to Oklahoma to cut out the middle dish and fry the potatoes themselves. At the Oklahoma State Fair, mashed potatoes become the main event as deep-fried mashed potatoes on a stick. Diventi Concessions’ creation is even more decadent than it sounds. Bacon-Cheddar mashed potatoes are formed into balls, which are then beer-battered, fried and served on a stick with a side of ranch dressing for dipping. It’s perfectly hearty fried food for America’s heartland.

Southern Catfish Sundae, South Carolina

Sundaes and carnivals are like fish and chips. They don’t have to go together, but they fit quite nicely as a pair. At the South Carolina State Fair, DeAnna’s Concessions merges all four into a Southern Catfish Sundae. Don’t worry: There’s no ice cream in the mix. This special sundae combines deep-fried catfish fingers coated in a seasoned batter with fries, a spicy remoulade sauce and cooling tartare piled together like a sundae.

Reindeer Sausage Corn Dog, Alaska

Open since the late 19th century, Juneau’s Red Dog Saloon feels as if it was plucked straight from the days of the frontier. Its wooden walls are adorned with taxidermied animal heads, a walrus oosik (let’s just say bone) and a collection of antique guns, and sawdust coats the floor. The seasonally changing menu offers an array of Alaskan classics, including smoked chowder with Alaskan smoked salmon and brats cooked in local beer. From October through April, reindeer sausage corn dogs are a menu favorite. Exactly as they sound, the dogs feature mild Alaskan reindeer sausage dipped in a secret batter and fried to golden brown, served with fries and Dijon mustard on the side.

Cheddar Stuffed Tater Tots, Vermont

Vermont is known for its impeccable dairy products, including cheddar that could be the best in the world. Farm-to-table restaurant The Maple Kitchen, in Brownsville, makes it even better. The cheddar-stuffed tater tots are little pillows of perfection. Chef Hafid Rkiki shreds baked potatoes and mixes them with local Cabot cheddar before dunking the compact squares in the deep fryer. Rkiki pulls them out once they reach a nice golden brown, tosses them in a cast-iron skillet and tops them off with even more shredded local cheddar and a layer of pickled shallots. A serving of Sriracha mayo makes for ideal dipping.

Deep Fried Derby Pie, Kentucky

Kern's Kitchen's Derby-Pie is as much of a Kentucky tradition as the Derby itself. The classic chocolate-walnut dessert, developed at Melrose Inn in 1950, is trademarked and baked with a secret recipe. At the State Fair, that treasured treat is battered and fried, coated with powdered sugar frosting and a raspberry drizzle. When you bite in, sugar will most likely coat your face, but the raspberry oozes together with the batter and nutty, chocolatey filling.

Unicorn Droppings, Washington

Seattle's Capitol Hill might just be the only neighborhood in the country to have two dueling carnival-themed bars. Each one has a unique vibe offering whimsical food and beverage menus, as well as an arcade, claw machine and photo booth. The 21-and-up Unicorn & Narwhal is like a playground for adults. The dessert menu focuses on fair-style, deep-fried sweets with upscale takes on funnel cake and deep-fried candy bars. Unicorn Droppings taste much better than they sound. Peanut butter cookie dough bites are deep fried to warm, gooey and crisp-crusted results.

Funeral Potatoes, Utah

This former auto garage shop is has become a go-to Salt Lake City hangout. It’s known for its fun riffs on comfort classics and is hailed for its deep fried interpretation of the traditional Mormon post-funeral side dish, a storied piece of Utah’s food culture. Instead of serving spoonfuls of cornflake-crusted casserole, this riff is rolled up into balls of Idaho potatoes, cheddar cheese, jalapeno, bacon and scallions, coated in a cornflake crust, "baptized in hot oil." The savory, slightly spicy, crispy result is to die for. Just kidding!

Fried Green Tomatoes, Alabama

Fried green tomatoes are a mainstay throughout the South. The version sold at Irondale, Alabama’s Irondale café, though, is responsible for pushing the traditional dish into the national limelight — and the Hollywood spotlight. Since the release of Fried Green Tomatoes, the 1991 film based on Fannie Flagg’s book, the crisp, salty, tart slices of fruit jumped out of the South’s frying pan and into the national fire. And the restaurant that inspired the heartfelt movie became the preeminent fried green tomato destination, selling 600 to 800 slices a week to hungry tourists looking for a slice of female empowerment. Available as a side dish or main course, the rounds are served with a creamy and spicy remoulade.

Carpetbaggers, Connecticut

Fried oysters are a staple up and down the East Coast, from the top of Maine down to Key West. But in South Norwalk, Connecticut, Match's Chef-Owner Matt Storch has created an upscale variation that could be the state dish. Local bluepoint oysters are dredged in semolina batter, fried to a flaxen hue and set back in their shells. Served warm, each mollusk is topped with cool beef tartare and a touch of aioli.

Pitchfork Fondue, Wyoming

Cowboy cookouts are on many tourists' Wyoming to-do list. Though it often means meats cooked out over an open-flame, Pitchfork Fondue prefers to serve meat cooked on a pitchfork in large cauldrons of hot oil heated by wood fire. Guests take in views of the Wind River Mountains while noshing on sizzling hot, deep-fried steak, chicken, buffalo bratwursts and sides like potato chips and onion rings.

Barberton-Style Chicken, Ohio

Fried chicken is popular around the globe, but Barberton, Ohio, is confident enough in its take to declare itself the Chicken Capital of the World. That’s due to the bounty of fried chicken joints that use recipes imported from Serbia 80 years ago. The wings, breasts, thighs, legs and backs (dubbed chicken ribs) of fresh Amish-raised birds are lightly salted, dusted in flour, coated in egg wash, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried in lard at places like Belgrade Gardens, where it’s served with white bread, coleslaw, fries and "hot sauce," which is actually a Serbian-influenced stewed tomato and rice dish.