prawns by a beach

Welcome to the amazing world of American beach food

No summer is complete without a trip to the seaside. As any hungry beachgoer knows all too well, the only way to properly enjoy the hours spent sunning yourself like a snoozy lizard is to guarantee that you have something tasty waiting for you beyond the dunes. The weather can be as wonderful as it wants - if you go hungry, storm clouds can gather pretty quickly.

Though every country has great beach based food traditions, there is one nation that stands head and shoulders above the rest. The United States of America are masters of sun drenched, sand covered comfort food and have perfected a bewildering array of delicious things to eat after a hard day relaxing. Incredible whether eaten by the sea or enjoyed inland, these seven dishes are the only diet you need for this summer.

cocktail on a beach Credit: Pixabay

1. Lobster Rolls - Maine

It’s tough to have a bad word to say about lobster. When done well, the combo of soft, sweet flesh and salty juice is impossible for all but the most monkish of foodies to turn down. In Maine, locals have perfected the art of serving this luxury ingredient in a handy, no nonsense portion. Lobster rolls have been a tradition here for decades and are as delicious as they are simple. The ultimate beachside sandwich.

2. Rippers - New Jersey

America is chock full of twists on the traditional hot dog, but there is only one that can claim to be the best for beachgoers. The New Jerseyan ripper encompasses everything that’s great about classic beach food. Featuring a dog that’s been deep fried until it literally rips open and a roll packed with all the sausage staples, this snack has become synonymous with the Mid-Atlantic summer.

3. Salt Water Taffy - Atlantic City

It might not have the most appetising name, but taffy has managed to cement its place in foodie pop-culture. The classic chewy candy was invented and perfected in Atlantic City and is now as synonymous with the community as casinos or Boardwalk Empire.

4. Poke - Hawaii

If one dish proves that beach-based comfort food doesn’t have to be a calorie overload, it’s traditional Hawaiian poke. Featuring the freshest fish you’ll find anywhere, along with rice and spicy sauces and seasoning, proper poke is a hearty, healthy bowl of awesome unlike anything else on earth.

5. Cali Burrito - California

The burrito may have gone through many iterations over the years, but there’s one version that continues to stand the test of time. A surfer food favourite, the Cali burrito is most famous for including French fries alongside the traditional list of burrito ingredients, resulting in a snack that delivers on every comfort food level.

6. Fried Alligator - Alabama

The idea of eating alligator may seem a little perturbing to less adventurous beachgoers. However, after taking the plunge in Alabama, the chances are you’ll never look back. With a taste like chicken and a spicy southern fried-style rub, this dish is as brilliant on the bayou as it is on the beach.

7. Steamed Blue Crabs - Maryland

The battle between crab and lobster for seafood supremacy has been raging for hundreds of years, and shows no sign of being resolved any time soon. In the blue corner, waving the flag for the little guy, Maryland’s classic steamed crab dish is a testament to simple, straightforward cooking. Served by the bucketload and best enjoyed messily, this is unpretentiously delicious seaside fare.

Meals by the beach are a highlight of any trip to the ocean. It can be a barbecue or an ice cream, but there’s always something magical about enjoying your food next to the water, cowering from squawking seagulls. If any dishes are going convert you to the sunny church of beach food, it is one of these seven.

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