1. Jucy Lucy – burgers filled with molten cheese
Known as a Jucy Lucy, this is arguably Minnesota’s favorite burger. True to its name, this is one juicy burger filled with delicious melted cheese that drips from its center as you (carefully) eat. It’s the Best. Thing. Ever. Created at Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis, their slogan is rightfully “Fear the cheese!”
2. Hot dish – aka casserole
It’s the Midwestern take on a casserole – ground beef, pasta or potatoes, and cream of mushroom soup. But the crowning touch that makes it truly a Minnesota ‘hot dish’ is covering it in tater tots, and / or possible some breakfast cereal or corn chips for a little crunch. It’s actually (usually) really good.
3. Jello-O – Minnesota’s ‘salad’
The classic dessert to follow up any hot dish, and what will be served at most any party, is a Jell–O ‘salad’ – sometimes including fruit, usually pink or green, and best with mini marshmallows.
4. Root beer – the best pop.
It’s so popular that people rank all the different brands in terms of their favorite. High on many lists is the locally brewed 1919 Classic American Draft Root Beer, made with real sugar. Some old-fashioned drive-ins, usually called root beer stands, will make their own root beer.
5. Deep fried anything – on a stick
Ostrich, fruit, pickles, candy bars, any food you can think of, on a stick and deep fried. Every year close to two million people go to the Minnesota State Fair – the largest in daily attendance in the United States – and feast on such skewered delicacies. Even alligator, and ice cream. Why not?
6. Lutefisk – dried fish soaked in lye
Many Minnesotans have Scandinavian heritage, and there was a time when a lot of kitchens smelled of lutefisk over the holidays. Thankfully, it’s not so common anymore. The dried cod fish, soaked in the toxic chemical lye as a cheap preservative, has sent generations of kids running. Some people say it’s really not so bad, once you get used to the smell.
7. Walleye – the state fish
In a state that has a lot of lakes – 11,842 according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – and does a lot of fishing, walleye is the fish of choice in Minnesota. So much so that multiple towns claim to be the walleye capital of the world, and it was even named the state fish in 1965. Tender, mild, and a little sweet, this state favorite is eaten everywhere from church basement fish fries to super clubs and fancy restaurants, or even cooked on a bonfire straight from the lake.
8. Grain Belt – Premium beer
Named for the brewery’s location within the Midwestern ‘grain belt’, this locally made beer is over 120 years old. While the brewery has been through a number of different owners over the years, their classic beer, Premium, is still perfect for baseball games and sipping on a horridly hot summer day while sitting in a boat in the middle of the lake.