Chicago is famous for its food – not only as a gourmet-dining epicenter, but also as the home of several local specialties. For an authentic experience, get a taste of these culinary staples with my personal Chicago favourites from pizzas, hot dogs and fusion style food that includes my encounter with my true blue Indian cuisine as well. Here’s a few that must not be missed out when in the windy city.
1. Deep Dish Pizza
A hallmark caramelized cheese crust that’ll make you think twice about how you want to tackle each colossal slice: crust first, or save the best part for last?
This is not meant for the faint hearted because this pizza is not about delicacy.
Baked in a deep, round pan filled to the brim with cheese and topped with a thick layer of tomato sauce, the result is a piping hot, gooey piece of pizza on a buttery, flaky crust.
Giordano’s is famed for their stuffed pizza. A dramatic flaky crust holds in the melted cheese, which oozes out the moment a slice is pulled apart.
2. Depression hot dog
A barebones version of the Chicago classis dog
Here are these humble, not so fancy late-night hot dog local stands that offer steamed dogs simply dressed in mustard, relish, onion, sport peppers, and an overly generous mound of fresh-cut fries.
3. Classic Chicago style hot dog
An all-beef hot dog on a steamed poppy seed bun, topped with yellow mustard, relish, tomato wedges, chopped onions, a pickle spear, hot peppers and celery salt. Of course, defining it is one thing; tasting it is a whole different ballgame and this is what you need to most certainly sink your teeth into.
Visit Red Hot Ranch for these beefy beauties.
4. Tacos, with a twist
Though the city is famed for their classic deep fried beef tacos, I chose to experiment with these and headed to this cozy neighborhood fast food chain of Velvet Tacos for a taste of Mexican cuisine imbedded in global flavor inspirations. Many of the fillings steer towards untraditional, like chicken tikka, crispy paneer, shrimp and grits, and ahi poke. They serve regular tacos with beef, pork belly and buffalo chicken fillings too!
I loved my indianised Mexican juicy chicken tikka taco with spicy, buttery tomato sauce, cilantro-flecked basmati rice and yogurt raita, almost had me nostalgic for Delhi street food.
Fried paneer taco was among my top favorites with tomato chutney, Thai basil tikka sauce and finely kissed with a tart mild raita. More scrumptious than it can ever sound in words.
5. Thin Crust Pizza
Not all pizzas in Chicago are deep dish and thick crust and yes, thin crust pizza exists!
The thin crust baked beauty has a crunchy crust topped with a sweet and chunky sauce, some intense pepperoni, and lots of mozzarella.
The Boss is a famous raving bar in Chicago Downtown but they serve some serious food!
You would think this is bar food but don’t be fooled by appearances because this thin crust pizza would put deep dish to shame (if you have a certain perspective, of course)
Gorgeous crusty pizza, thin as paper and loaded with spiced garlic marinara and strands of mozzarella, dotted with crimson velvety pepperoni! Magnifique.
6. Bombay Wraps
When you have had your doze of touristy local fast food in the windy city, its time to head over to this little wrap shop for some authentic indian kathi rolls, which are so refreshing and delicious amidst the cheesey beefy foods of the city.
Pick a flat bread of your choice, wholewheat or flaky parantha, pick your suffing that ranges from the evry interesting spicy smashed samosa, to tangy paneer, chicken tikka, lamb curry and even your standard beef but all cooked in indigenoius Indian curries and spices. The cilantro coriander chilly chutney and pickled red onions just tie all the chunky fillings together with the bread into the most fabulous bite with popping flavours.
7. Chicago style chicken wings
Breaded, twice fried, buffalo sauce, soy garlic and several other variants make up for the famous chicken wings in Chicago. Getting down and dirty with these deep fried, sauce coated wings is never a mistake, because these are so darn satisfying.
These wings are deep fried with their crispy skins on and tossed in spicy to mild sauces all over the American continent but Chicago has more than a handful hundred serving specialty chicken wings.
Buffalo Wild Wings is a popular fast food chain serving some wicked wings. Giordano’s also serves their version, crunchy and heavy on bold flavors.
Some real sexy food that shouldn’t be missed when in Chicago. If it looks good here, just imagine how bloody brillaint it would feel in your mouth!
Stay hungry, stay happy fellas!