Unique Foods to Try in Pennsylvania

January 2, 2024

From farmlands to urban areas, the Keystone State offers a little of everything. The state’s food landscape reflects this diversity with a combination of snacking favorites and main meals and desserts that will leave you more than full. Next time you visit Pennsylvania, try at least one food item from this list.

What Food Is Pennsylvania Known For?

When you think of cheesesteaks, you probably think of Pennsylvania. With thinly sliced steak covered with onions and cheese on an Italian roll, this humble sandwich has become an iconic part of Pennsylvania’s heritage. While this sandwich is most famous in the Philadelphia region, you can find it all over the state, with many locals hotly debating where to find the most authentic one.

What Is the State Snack of Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania is well-known for its snack foods, mainly thanks to its extensive ecosystem of convenience stores that offer whatever your heart (and stomach) may desire. However, one staple you can find almost anywhere in Pennsylvania is the pretzel. Whether you enjoy a hard or soft pretzel, options are abundant for a simple snack you can savor on the go, while watching a sporting event or just as a treat.

Scrapple, a pork-loaf dish, on a plate.

Famous Foods of Pennsylvania

As the birthplace of America, Pennsylvania has become a melting pot of cultures over the decades. Many famous foods in Pennsylvania have roots in the state’s Dutch heritage, while others draw inspiration from the state’s large Amish population. Regardless of the origins, these famous Pennsylvania foods are well worth a taste.


Scrapple is a regional dish many people in Pennsylvania either love or hate. A typical scrapple consists of pork meat and its trimmings. Chefs will then form it into a loaf shape before slicing and frying it. Scrapple is typically a breakfast food and is very salty, making it an ideal pairing for eggs and toast. This dish is a staple at numerous restaurants across the state and is worth trying at least once.

Crab Fries

French fries are the perfect base for almost anything, and crab fries take advantage of this to create something truly delicious. Crab fries are not fries with crab meat over the top but plain French fries with Old Bay seasoning. Originally the creation of a sports bar and restaurant, crab fries have become immensely popular throughout the area, and you will find them at countless eateries, sports stadiums and boardwalks.

Pittsburgh Salad

Have you ever considered putting French fries on your salad? If the answer is yes, then the Pittsburgh Salad is for you. This unique dish takes a typical garden salad with cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes and adds a topping of French fries, grilled chicken and ranch dressing. This dish is most common in Pittsburgh but has slowly made its way to many restaurants across the state as a testament to the idea that anything can be a salad if you try hard enough.

Pittsburgh-Style Pizza

Given how much of a melting pot Pennsylvania is, it is no wonder there are multiple pizza styles. One of the most famous is Pittsburgh-style pizza, which emphasizes cheese. This pizza style consists of 75% cheese and 20% dough for a gooey meal that will fill you up.

Tomato Pie

Another famous style of pizza in Pennsylvania is tomato pie. This pizza style consists of focaccia bread topped with tangy tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. However, the twist on this pizza is that you eat it cold instead of warm. If you enjoy cold dishes like gazpacho, this meal is for you, and you will often find it in large squares at parties and other events.


While confusing stromboli with calzones is easy, the two are vastly different. A stromboli contains the typical bread and cheese, but what makes it different is how you assemble the ingredients. With a stromboli, you fill a rectangular piece of dough with cheese, meat and peppers before undergoing the rolling and cooking process. Typically, you will slice the stromboli into pieces before enjoying. Since a stromboli is half pizza and half sandwich, it is popular for dinner or lunch.

Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread is a staple of the Pennsylvania Dutch and a bread that resembles a cake in appearance and color. What makes friendship bread so spectacular is it takes 10 days to make from scratch. If you are lucky enough to have some of this bread, serve it with butter and cinnamon for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack.

Sample Pennsylvanian Cuisine When You Stay at Kampgrounds of America

KOA has multiple locations across Pennsylvania, making it easy to sample the food Pennsylvania is known for wherever you travel across the state. Book a campsite close to Pittsburgh to try favorites such as the Pittsburgh Salad, or stay closer to Philadelphia to try a famous cheesesteak. Wherever you travel across the state, you will find a clean, comfortable campground waiting for you. Start planning your adventure today!

About the Author: Kampgrounds of America

Kampgrounds of America is the largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds in the world, with over 500 locations across the United States and Canada. Founded in Billings, MT in 1962, KOA’s family of campground brands – KOA Journey, KOA Holiday and KOA Resort – today serve more than a million camping families each year. KOA is dedicated to “connecting people to the outdoors and each other” by providing people with a variety of camping experiences and the information they need to make the most of their camping trip. Read more of their camping and travel resources by visiting

Enjoy a Greater Slice of the Great Outdoors

Discover even more room to enjoy outdoor living with a KOA Patio Site®. These spacious sites offer your very own patio equipped with outdoor furniture and the perfect place for a fire. Wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee with the sunrise and spend an evening relaxing with family and friends.

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