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Regional Speciality

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A Food Trope, this is a speciality of a place or country. It may be Foreign Queasine, but it's just as likely that a character will fall in love with it at first bite. The well-travelled may introduce it to their family and friends, as will cooks trying to impress. Hilarity may ensue if they haven't cooked it before.

Some stories use this as part of the plot - if it's unique to a specific restaurant, getting the word out is a sure-fire way of ensuring a business is a success. "Come here! you won't find this anywhere else!"


Examples that are focused on how awful the concoctions are go in Foreign Queasine - this trope is more about invoking the mystique of the foreign, the rare and/or the exotic.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Kill la Kill: During the invasion of Osaka, Mako takes the opportunity to sample every delicacy the city is known for, while it's being destroyed around her.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Penny and Bolt encounter several regional culinary delights during their trip in “The Imaginary Letters,” including Cincinnati chili, Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwiches, Memphis BBQ, and pizza from Chicago and New York.

  • All Creatures Great And Small: James Herriot recounted an unusual way of eating Christmas cake in the Yorkshire Dales; with crumbly Wensleydale cheese and a draught of raw whisky.
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. In the section on her holiday in Italy, she recounts her experiences with their food. One sequence has her and a friend going to a back-alley pizzeria in Naples to taste their pizza. They immediately order another; her friend says that all other pizza is Ruined FOREVER.
  • In The Hunger Games Peeta is a second-generation professional baker and he expounds on the regional breads in sufficient detail that fans have been able to make them.
  • Discworld:
    • In The Last Continent Rincewind is offered a "Meat Pie Floater", a meat pie suspended in thick pea soup with tomato ketchup according to taste (no honestly, it's real!) as an Ecksian regional delicacy. Rincewind ponders that all of the "Regional Delicacies" that he's been offered in his travels seem to be the kind of disgusting and inexplicable dishes that someone would only concoct while drunk which are then foisted upon unsuspecting tourists. It's a regional delicacy because no-one else in the world would be crazy enough to eat it.
    • Regional specialties of Ankh-Morpork include Distressed Pudding (a stodge-and-custard type desert with prunes), Slumpie (a chunky meat-and-potato-or-whatever's-available stew similar to scouse or stovies), and the famous pig-knuckle sandwich. Yes, if you want the real Ankh-Morporkian experience, then you're asking for a knuckle sandwich. In Jingo, knuckle sandwiches and Distressed Pudding are both used as A-M's counterpart of "mom's apple pie" in patriotic battle-cries.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Coronation Street: Mary Taylor is well trained in a variety of different cuisines of different cultures (French, Greek, Moroccan, Russian, Spanish etc) and has put on themed nights in Roy's Rolls and The Bistro, before she got fired.
    • Of course, the street is in the county that gave the world Lancashire Hot-Pot - lamb or mutton stew topped with potato and eaten with red cabbage. This dish was Betty's speciality at the Rovers and is still made there to her personal recipe.
  • Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is all about traveling to new places and having what is usually a local specialty at the local small eatery.
  • The same applies to Man v. Food, which, when it isn't about pig-out gluttony, insane eating challenges and American Excess, can be surprisingly informative on regional specialties throughout the USA and where to get them.

  • Tamagotchi: For the Keitai and Akai toys, food from different regions of Japan could be collected.

    Video Games 
  • Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland: Regional specialties are hard-to-brew but high-selling condiments.
  • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, the Galar region's signature dish is curry, which trainers can prepare while camping and share with their Pokemon. There are many variations of curry in Galar made with a wide variety of ingredients and berries for flavor, such as sausage curry, apple curry, whipped cream curry, and instant noodle curry. This is a case of Shown Their Work, as curry is popular in both Japan and Britain (the latter of which Galar is based on).
  • Street Fighter IV: Used in El Fuerte's ending, where he mixes Zangief's and E. Honda's favourite foods, Chankonabe and Borscht, and add chilli peppers and lemon to the mix. The results apparently tasted very bad, as Honda and Zangief's faces turn blue with disgust. Then El Fuerte proclaims the food "tastes so great it sends you straight to heaven!"

    Web Comics 

    Real Life 
  • Africa
    • Egypt
      • Many street vendors and shops in Egypt sell nothing but broad beans.
      • Falafel—called taameyyah everywhere in Egypt except Alexandria—is also a national specialty. This, too, is made of broad beans.
      • Kushari, a mix of lentils and rice topped with pasta, fried onions, and (optionally) chickpeas, and covered in a garlicky tomato-vinegar sauce, is Egypt's national street food.
      • Cairo, Alexandria, and Port Said all have local variations onmulukhiyya (a mucilaginous dish made from finely chopped jute leaves stewed in broth and topped with tomato sauce and garlic and often eaten over rice): while the dish is commonly vegetarian or made with chicken, in Cairo they make it with rabbit if they can get it, while Alex goes for fish and Port Said for shrimp.
    • South Africa
      • Biltong: Wind-dried strips of seasoned meat. A lot like jerky, but usually in thicker chunks.
      • Braaivleis—meat you barbecued at a braai. Can be boerewors or droewors note  or interesting meats like bokkumsnote , snoeknote , ostrich...
      • Peri-peri sauce: Actually a Mozambican import but today universally associated with SA. A ludicrously hot but very flavourful hot sauce made from a particular variety of hot pepper.
      • Walky-talkies: battered and deep fried chickens' feet and heads.
  • Asia
    • Japan
      • Sushi may not have originated from Japan, but it is one of the country's most ubiquitous foods, if not the most ubiquitous.
      • Ramen noodles are ubiquitous with Japan, but the city of Sapporo in Hokkaido is especially well known for its ramen, with an alley filled with different ramen shacks and its own unique variations of ramen, including miso ramen, soy sauce ramen, and salt ramen.
      • Osaka is famous for its takoyaki: fried dumplings filled with octopus meat.
      • Every prefecture has its own meibutsu, or regional specialty, which are often bought as souvenirs to give to coworkers and family back home (a social obligation known as omiyage).
    • Korea
      • Kimchi, the generic name for a variety of pickled dishes that usually contain cabbage and onions, plus other vegetables. The pickling brine becomes fermented as it ages.
      • Sometimes kimchi brine fizzes like seltzer water. Mmm, cabbage soda pop. Chunky cabbage soda pop.
      • In an episode of M*A*S*H, Frank sees two Korean men burying a Kimchi pot and thinks they're planting a bomb.
      • Can't remember the name, but if you're in Korea, get some larval octopus. Served so fresh it's still alive. It's an affordable delicacy, often served with higher priced multi-course meals (the kind that can feed six people, and are served over the course of two hours). Don't forget to have it with the Koch'ujang.
  • Australia and New Zealand
    • Vegemite (Australia)/Marmite (New Zealand)
    • Pavlova (a large meringue dessert in the shape of a cake with berries and so on)
  • Europe
    • England
      • Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck, offering such things as "Nitro-Scrambled bacon and egg ice cream" and "Salmon poached in liquorice".
      • Marmite, the British equivalent of Australia's Vegemite. It's a yeast extract that is a by-product of beer brewing.
      • Scrumpy, made in the southwest, is a highly alcoholic apple cider. In fact, it's so strong that most pubs no longer serve full-strength scrumpy because people tend to become violently drunk very quickly.
      • In west-central England, there is a certain dish made of ground pork, liver, onions and tomatoes formed into meatballs and served in a special sauce. They are called by the unfortunate name of "faggots" (which is apparently not considered a homophobic slur in the UK — or at least wasn't until recently). The leading brand name that manufactures this dish is Mr. Brains.
      • North-west England gives the world pie and peas. The pie is usually filled with minced beef and potato, often highly peppered, and the peas are mushy peas; dried peas soaked overnight and boiled to a thick, green, lumpy paste. This is obviously a first cousin of the Australian pie floater.
      • The Stottie cake. Battered Mars Bars if you want to believe (generally Southern) caricatures of the region, as well.
      • London note  has pie, mash and liquor. Beef pie with mashed potatoes, and a sauce made from the water used to stew eels (which are also available in pie and mash shops), thickened and coloured an improbable luminous green with parsley. It is surprisingly tasty but you will be hard-pressed to find it in the touristy areas. Never call the liquor a gravy. Apparently that's a Berserk Button''.
      • Curry was introduced to England in the early 18th century, and experienced a boom in popularity throughout the mid-to-late 1900's.
      • The Staffordshire Oatcake is a specialty of North Staffordshire. It's made of oatmeal, flour, and yeast and looks like a pancake when cooked. Common fillings include cheese, baked beans, and bacon.
    • France
      • There are hundreds of varieties of French cheese. Sometimes a single region is home to several dozens of them.
      • There are 3240 different wines with 1313 appellations over 80 départements and 16 vineyard-friendly areas.
      • Alsace, having been Germanic for centuries before being annexed by France, has many sorts of delicatessen, beers and other things one would expect to find in Germany. It also has notable white wines, and flammekueche: bread dough rolled out very thinly in the shape of a rectangle or oval and covered with fromage blanc, thin-sliced onions and lardons (never call that a pizza).
      • Brittany has butter cookies.
    • Iceland
      • Take a basking shark, behead it, and place the body in a well drained hole in the sand under a pile of rocks to press the fluids out. Let the meat ferment, then cut it into strips and hang it out to dry. Voila! Hákarl!
      • The best part: All shark meat begins to smell like ammonia when it breaks down. It's still edible, and it tastes okay—if you can get past the odor. The Hákarl process concentrates the aroma.
    • Ireland
      • Champ (mashed spuds with spring onions, butter, milk and salt) in Northern Ireland. Irish Stew and the Ulster Fry, too.
    • Italy
      • The 1996 movie Big Night revolves around the limited palates and opinions of 1950s Americans towards authentic Italian food. (If it didn't have marinara sauce, it wasn't thought to be authentically Italian.) The timballo — called a timpano in the movie — in the third act is a thing of beauty.
    • Scandinavia
      • Lutefisk — wind-dried cod soaked in lye. Yummy.
      • Denmark has "smørrebrød", which directly translates to "sandwich", but means a thin slice of rye bread richly topped with delicacies like prawns and mayo, gravlax and mustard sauce or roast beef with horseradish.
      • Swedish meatballs, that is lightly spiced meatballs served with mashed potatoes, gravy, lingonberry (or cowberry, as it is properly called) jam and pickled cucumber. If you don't live in or near Sweden, authentic Swedish meatballs are best experienced at an IKEA near you.
    • Scotland
      • Haggis, of course. The unspeakable bits of a sheep mixed with oatmeal and pepper, stuffed into the sheep's stomach ('paunch') and boiled.
      • Tablet. A form of brittle fudge made with condensed milk
      • Dundee cake, a rich fruitcake without cherries, mainly associated, of course, with Dundee.
      • Smoked haddock, especially the Arbroath smokie and the Finnan haddie.
      • Deep fried Mars bars. Nobody actually eats them, much, but they're a regional speciality anyway.
      • Scotch pie - a double-crust individual mutton pie, and the lacto-vegetarian counterpart, macaroni pie.
      • "Chippy sauce" - a watered-down brown sauce served in Edinburgh chip shops as an alternative to vinegar.
      • Stovies - chopped potatoes and onions, slowly stewed, sometimes with beef.
      • Chicken tikka masala is known around the world but was maybe invented in Glasgow, and is used as a symbol of the British melting-pot.
    • Switzerland
      • Swiss Chocolate
  • North America
    • Canada
      • Poutine (fries with gravy and cheese curds) in Canada.
      • Donuts and coffee aren't strictly Canadian, but no true Canadian can say that they've never heard of Tim Hortons.
    • Mexico
      • Mexican food. Can obviously be found in Mexico, but very good authentic Mexican food can also be found in American cities near the Mexican border, e.g. San Diego, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Phoenix.
    • USA
      • Deep dish pizzas in Chicago.
      • Thin crust pizzas in New York City.
      • Philly CheeseSteak and soft pretzel.
      • Pork tenderloin from Indiana
      • People from North Jersey will argue with their neighbors in New York about thin-crust pizza, and folks from South Jersey will argue with Philadelphians about cheesesteaks and pretzels, but one thing all of New Jersey will defend against all comers—and win!—is the integrity of New Jersey hot dogs and New Jersey diner food. Also saltwater taffy, but nobody's arguing with Atlantic City about that.
      • Applejack, a North American cousin to Scrumpy, is an extremely alcoholic variety of apple cider produced by freezing the water out of normal cider steps at a time, leaving the alcoholic juice behind. This turns a drink with less than 10% alcohol by volume into a 50% ABV monster. Fun Fact: During the colonial period of the USA's history, road construction crews in New Jersey were paid in Applejack, which rose to its alternative nickname, "Jersey Lightning."
      • From Michigan's Upper Peninsula: Fudge, especially the Mackinac Island variety; and pasties, which originated with Cornish immigrants and were modified by Finnish immigrants.
      • Detroit has the coney dog (a hotdog topped with mustard, onion (usually raw and white) and all-beef chili), as well as its form of deep-dish pizza (different from Chicago in the layering of bread, sauce and cheese—it's less pie-like—and the square shape—from an industrial-parts tray!).
      • In California, many Mexican restaurants serve Carne Asada Fries, which is basically the insides of a steak burrito served over fries.
      • I welcome all out-of-towners with Cincinnati Chili, often making a big deal out of it. Many stories have been born in the taking of friends to try it. (It features cocoa as a major ingredient.)
      • Tex-Mex: As the name indicates, this originated among Mexicans and Americans living in Texas. Common dishes include chili-con-carne, fajitas, burritos/chimichangas, tamales, refried beans, "Spanish" rice, and anything made with crispy corn tortillas (including tortilla chips) and shredded cheese — tacos, tostadas, nachos, etc. Although many restaurants outside of Mexico call themselves "Mexican" restaurants, if they offer the above dishes — especially as combo plates — they're probably more accurately described as Tex-Mex.
      • The origins of Tex-Mex cuisine stemmed from the need for ranchers to quickly feed large numbers of employees every day.
      • Because they follow updated versions of the menus and cooking methods of those old ranches, modern Mexican fast food restaurants are actually Tex-Mex restaurants.
      • San Diego, California lays claim to being the home of the fish taco thanks to a Tex-Mex chain called Rubio's.
      • Green chili in New Mexico. The "official state question" is "Red or green?", to which "Christmas"note  is one of the accepted answers.
      • Chop suey (the Chinese term for random leftovers) was actually popularized in Chinese restaurants in San Francisco in the late 19th century. Restaurants in China don't serve chop suey because... well, because it's random leftovers.
      • Seattle: Coffee, craft beer, and salmon get the most publicity, but you can barely throw a rock without hitting a teriyaki shack. note  Typical meal is a portion of sauced meat, plain rice (usually white, but brown rice becoming popular), and a small iceberg lettuce salad with a sweet dressing. There's also Aplets and Cotlets, a spin-off from Turkish Delight, made by some homesick Amenian immigrants who decided to make their favorite old country candy using what grew in the area note  instead of traditional ingredients a half world away
      • West Virginia is well known for two different foods: pepperoni rolls, which originated from the state and is ubiquitous enough to be sold in many places from sporting events to convenience stores; and hot dogs, with several different kinds of hot dogs sold across different hot dog stands and restaurants, one of the most well known being Hillbilly Hot Dogs.
      • North Carolina is quite proud of its barbecue, with the state boasting two competing types, Eastern-style and Lexington-style.
      • "Orange chicken," typically characterized as Chinese cuisine, was invented in Hawaii by the fast-food chain Panda Express.
      • Florida has Key lime pie, made from limes, egg yolks, and condensed milk. As the name suggests, Key limes, from the Florida Keys, are favored, although regular Persian limes are also used.
  • South America
    • Peru
      • Peru is quickly gaining recognition as one of the culinary capitals of the world, thanks to its wide variety of native flora and fauna and creative ways of preparing them. Some signature dishes:
      • Lomo saltado, beef strips stir-fried with veggies and served over french fries and rice, is the Peruvian classic.
      • Chicha morada, a drink made from purple corn and spices.
      • Lucuma, a fruit whose taste is often described as maple syrup or caramel, is used in many desserts. In Peru, lucuma ice cream is more popular than vanilla.