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Chicago Food – 10 of the Most Popular Chicago Dishes That You Must Try

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor May 17th, 2020 Posted in North America Travel Blog, Restaurant and Recipes, Travel Blog No comments

If you’re looking for the best and mouth-watering Chicago dishes, then check this out as we got you covered! These are just some of the most popular in the city.

Things to do in Chicago
Photo by Sawyer Bengtson

Chicago is a city that is famous for its coldness in winter and has the most populated city in the US. Its diverse population impacts the development of Chicago’s culture, including its cuisine. There are so many types of Chicago dishes influenced by other countries, such as Latin America and Europe.

Things to do in Chicago
Photo by Brian Miller

Chicago is also famous as a tourist destination, especially the “Taste of Chicago” festival. This festival was providing various types of Chicago dishes that you can explore in the same place. You don’t have to wander around the city to taste each food and it can save you time. Every year, over 1 million tourists visit and enjoy this festival that is held in summer.

And here we have a list comprising 10 types of Chicago dishes that you can enjoy not only while the festival held but also anytime you want.

1. Chicago Pizza


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It wouldn’t complete visiting Chicago without trying one of its famous dishes. Chicago deep-dish pizza is unique and I bet you will never find the same pizza in other places. This pizza has a plentiful quantity of cheese and tomato sauce. Another topping can be varied and you can choose based on your preference.

What makes deep-dish pizza different is the thick bread-dough and more similar to pie rather than a thin crust. To make the bread-dough usually uses wheat flour, but we can substitute it with cornflour. After it added the topping on the dough, it baked in the round stainless tray that smeared with margarine or oil beforehand. This technique is producing a crunchy texture pizza on the outside.

The rumor said that this Chicago-style pizza created in 1943. Another article said that this dish existed since 1926. No real prove to verify which one of the stories is genuine. You can go to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co to have an unforgettable taste of deep-dish pizza taste.

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co 2121 N Clark St, Chicago.

2. Chicago Hot Dog


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Besides pizza, Chicago hot dog is not less famous. Chicago hot dog or Chicago red hot uses frankfurter beef and opium seeds bread. The mustard, minced garlic, pickles, sliced tomatoes and celery added on the top to complement the dish. Some vendor is also providing cheese sauce as the option.

Every merchant has its way to cook the dish, mostly by steaming, boiling, or rarely roasted in the charcoal. The charcoal roasted hot dog known as the “char-dogs”. Try to go to Byron’s Hot Dog to taste the authentic recipe of the Chicago-style hot dog. It has a savory and flavorful taste.

Byron’s Hot Dog 1701 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, Illinois.

3. Jibarito

Chicago Cuisine 10 of the Most Popular Chicago Dishes
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If you’re getting bored with the usual sandwiches, consider trying Jibarito (read: hee-bah-REE-toh). This is a sandwich that uses plantain instead of regular bread and filled with minced meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. It added mayonnaise on top of the dish to enhance the taste of Jibarito. Original Jibarito uses steak as a filling, but now many use beef, chicken or pork.

The crunchy plantain presents a sweet and a perfect match to a mix of fresh meat and vegetables. The name of Jibarito itself has the meaning of little yokel. The original place who is providing this dish is a Puerto Rican restaurant in Humboldt Park.

4. Saganaki

Chicago Cuisine 10 of the Most Popular Chicago Dishes
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This dish came from Greece, that means chopper meal in English. There are several types of Saganaki. The most popular one is the fried cheese that is cooked in a small pan. There are several types of cheese used to make Saganaki, such as Graviera, Kefalograviera, Halloumi, and many others. A small skillet uses to melt the cheese until it’s bubbling. The melted cheese then served along with lemon juice, pepper, and bread.

Besides cheese, other ingredients that usually used to make a Saganaki is prawn and clam and cooked along with spicy tomato sauce. The oldest restaurant that provides Saganaki on its menu is The Parthenon in Greektown Chicago. You can have a good taste of several types of Saganaki here.

5. Chorizo Medjool Dates

Chicago Cuisine 10 of the Most Popular Chicago Dishes
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One of the most popular and flavorful appetizers in Chicago is Chorizo Medjool Dates. This dish uses chorizo-stuffed-bacon to wrapping the Medjool dates. This combination produces a juicy texture and savory flavor. To complete the dish, the seller usually adds piquillo pepper sauce.

You can find this dish in Avec restaurant that serves Chorizo Medjool dates with a strong aroma, meaty, and has a spicy and sweet taste at the same time.

Avec Restaurant, 615 W Randolph St, Chicago, Illinois.

6. Buttermilk Donut


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Donut is widely popular all over the world. But every place has its own donuts signature that makes each of them unique. Let’s say Bagel in Montreal and New York, Beignet in New Orleans, and Buttermilk Donut in Chicago. There are several fusion types of Buttermilk donuts. But the old-fashioned one still has a lot of fans in Chicago, even among tourists.

The traditional or old–fashioned buttermilk donuts are plain glazed donuts. It has an extra crispy texture on the outside, mild and tender on the inside. The perfectly matched flavor of the savory dough and sweet glaze will hook anyone who has ever tried this dish. But not too different from another donut, this buttermilk donuts contain high sugar in it, so you have to limit your dose.

You can go to The Doughnut Vault in 401 1/2 N Franklin St (at W Kinzie St) to have a taste of the best old-fashioned buttermilk donuts in town.

7. Cemita Atomica

Burger is one of the most popular fast food in the world. One of the burger variants that you can find in Chicago is Cemita Atomica. This menu is a signature dish in the Cemitas Puebla restaurant in Humboldt Park. The dish is a combination of Latin America recipe and Chicago’s local ingredients.

The dish is containing the homemade sauce, cheese, avocado, and other spices. The ingredients such as thick bun, meat, and vegetables stacked up to 4 inches in height.  You can choose between three types of meat for your burger. The Guajillo pork-loin for a spicy flavor. The crispy Atomica using breaded pork Milanese. The salty flavor using Krakus ham and it served along with smoky chipotles, avocado, and Oaxacan cheese.

Cemitas Puebla 3619 W North Avenue, Chicago.

8. Frozen Custard

Chicago Cuisine 10 of the Most Popular Chicago Dishes
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One of Chicago’s best desserts is the Frozen Custard, and you have to try it while you’re here. At a glance, it looks like ice cream, but it has a creamier texture. It contains more butterfat and various flavor provided by the shop.

One of the best places that providing Frozen custard is Shake Shake. The most common flavor in this place that you can choose is double chocolate cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake swirl, and cheesecake crunch. This place creates new flavors every week that can broaden your choices. Shake Shack is a franchise vendor that has many branches in Chicago. It wouldn’t be hard to find one.

9. Vegan Milkshake


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Vegetarian usually has a limited choice on the dishes that they can choose when they have to eat outside. While you’re in Chicago, there are vegan milkshakes that can be your option.

You can go to the Chicago Diner in 2333 N Milwaukee Avenue to have a good taste of this vegan milkshake. Besides the drink, this place is very vegetarian-friendly. Most of the menus are vegetables and gluten-free dishes.

10. Twinkie

Chicago Cuisine 10 of the Most Popular Chicago Dishes
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Twinkie is a sponge cake with cream filling and created in 1930 by Jimmy Dewar. The cream filling originally made from banana cream. But during World War II, bananas were hard to find in Chicago, so they substituted it with vanilla cream. Nowadays this cake had been mass-produced by Hostess Brands Inc, and you can find it in supermarkets all over the country.

Chicago has the largest population compared to other cities in the US, and they come from many places in the world. This population diversity affects Chicago’s various cuisine. The 10 dishes above are just a few of the authentic Chicago dishes that can help you decide on the menu you want to eat. So which one tempts your taste?

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Written by Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor

Two Monkeys Travel Group – Community Travel Blog is a travel blog and website. We quickly grew into a valuable source of inspiring travel stories, advice, itineraries and travel guides, with the aim of demonstrating how to live a sustainable life of travel, whilst living your own definition of success. If you'd like to contribute and write a guest post, contact us at [email protected]