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Traditional Chicago Foods

Updated on November 3, 2009
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Whitney loves baking, grilling, smoking and cooking just about anything anyway.

Chicago Foods

Chicago has a wide array of foods that are common to the area. I mean, who can deny the Chicago deep- dish pizza or the Chicago style hot dog. Every big city with a historical background has their own style of cooking. Look at New York and Louisiana, both states have their personal touches to the traditional All- American foods. Well, although Chicago isn't quite a state, they stand alone, nearly anyway, in their traditional foods.

Chicago Style Hot Dog

I'll start with the hot dog. Normally, eating with ketchup and mustard, and well, maybe chili and shredded cheese. Well, Chicago has their own unique style hot dog. These dogs, traditionally, do not use ketchup and are usually eating on poppy seed buns, which actually isn't traditional but cam after WW 2 with the Polish and Jewish backgrounds.

The hot dogs, themselves, are not boiled or grilled, they are water bathed at 190F degrees for about twenty minutes, which creates that nice snap when you bite into them.

The Chicago style hot dog is adorned with peppers- hot peppers and sport peppers- and sometimes celery salt. Some people prefer their hot dog with tomatoes and dill pickles. Others like the sweet and sour flavor, to which they add sweet relish to the dog.

Traditionally, the hot dog composed of the bun, dog, mustard, and then dyed green relish.

Italian Beef

Italian beef became a specialty in the 1920s and 1930s. An Italian immigrant, Pasquale Scala, developed the idea of a thinly roasted roast beef that he traditionally placed on a bun. Italian beef was more common amongst the Italian immigrants of Chicago, being served at festivals and even weddings.

The thinly cut roasted beef was served on a warm bun with roasted vegetables.

Deep Dish Pizza

With a thin crust that is pulled all the way up the tall sides of the pan, this deep dish pizza is the traditional pizza of Chicago. The pizza must be eating with a fork and napkin, nearby, as you'll definitely have problems if you attempt to eat it like a thin- crust pizza.

The deep- dish Chicago pizza tends to be layered such as:

  • Cheese
  • Meats and Vegetables
  • Sauce
  • Cheese

By the time all the cheese is added, you may find that you've put in near a pound of mozzarella cheese, so if you'r on a diet, you may want to stay away from this pizza, or use a low fat cheese.

Ethnic Foods

Chicago once definitely saw a rise with immigrants whether Polish or Mexican, so Mexican restaurants have been popular since 1965. As for Polish foods, Chicago is probably the top city of Polish immigrants, so you'll definitely find a nice influence of Polish traditions within the foods of Chicago, ranging from deli sandwiches to jams.

You'll, also, find a bit of African traditions and Soul Food, as well as, Indian and Chinese foods.

The Foods of Chicago: A Delicious History


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      now i am hungry...thanks for sharing

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i did like that you included italian beef but you could have added a little more information


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