Known for its beautiful lakes and beautiful sights, Michigan is also famous for serving some of the best foods in the Midwest region of the USA. No trip to Michigan can be complete without trying out some of the famous foods in the area. Known for its comfort foods, the Mitten state is famous for re-creating regular dishes by adding a twist to them like the Detroit-style pizza, Olive Burgers and Coney Dog. Its home-grown foods like cherries and Michigan apples also make Michigan a tasty food destination.
Here are the top nine best foods which made Michigan famous that you must try on your next road trip visit to the Mitten state.
1.Mackinac Island Fudge
Year after year, Mackinac Island in northern Michigan is rated as a top vacation destination in the United States. A trip to this small, car-free island is incomplete without treating yourself to the famous Mackinac Island fudge. The entire island is spotted with fudge confectioneries, and the irresistible smell of chocolate wafting across the island makes it impossible to keep away from them. Most shops boast of flavors ranging from peanut butter and German chocolate to Michigan walnut chocolate and more. The famous fudge here has also inspired several ice-cream flavors. With this variety, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Make sure to carry your box of fudge back home for friends and family – check out resources like Foodsharkmarfa to find out how to keep your box of fudge fresh for longer.
2. The Coney Island Hot Dog
If you’re visiting Detroit, don’t miss out on a delicious Detroit coney dog. The coney dog is Detroit’s twist on the hot dog. Made of a beef hot dog, slathered with chili and mustard, and finally topped with raw onions, a coney dog is best eaten with hands. The city has several coney dog shops that offer various flavors; but, if you’re looking for some original coney dogs, try out the American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island joints.
Many folks are surprised to know that Michigan is home to several styles of Coney island hot dogs. Besides Detroit, there are Jackson, Flint, and Kalamazoo Coney sauce flavors that bring a unique blend to the state.
3. Buddy’s Detroit Style Pizza
This deep-dish pizza was started in the mid-1940s by Buddy’s pizza. The square-shaped pizza is made of double-stretched dough, lots of cheese, and topped with sauce. Buddy’s bakes the pizzas in square pans that were once used to deliver parts in Detroit’s auto factories. Though you can find them with a variety of toppings, the classic Detroit pizza is made with pepperoni that’s layered under the cheese and sauce. Buddy’s Pizza is always highly ranked in national pizza surveys.
4. Tart Cherries
A short distance from the shores of Lake Michigan, Traverse City, Michigan, is known as the cherry capital of the world or the cherry republic. There’s a national, week-long festival held every July to celebrate the cherry harvest that consists of events, carnival games, and, of course, cherry-filled foods. The state hosts many cherry farms that provide farm tours and tastings. You can find several cherry-based foods ranging from cherry barbeque sauce to cherry coffee to cherry hot sauce on these farms.
One famous Michigan food is the Pasty. Pasties were created by the Cornish immigrant copper miners who bought this easy meat pie to Michigan. Today, it’s a staple Upper Peninsula food. Restaurants serve the pastry shell pasties with various fillings, but the most traditional fillings are meat fillings made of beef and potatoes, chicken, and pork. To make a meal of it, top it with gravy, and you’re set for a hearty, easy-to-carry meal. For the best pasties, visit Lawry’s pasty shop and try out their traditional meat-stuffed pasties.
6. Frankenmuth Chicken
Frankenmuth is a charming little town that’s known for Christmas and chicken dinners. Also known as Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth boasts of the world’s largest Christmas store called Bonners, where you can shop for Christmas-related things throughout the year. Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Zehnder’s are famous for their house specialty family-style meals with many sides. You can also pick up some delicious chicken seasoning here.
This is a staple for the students of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Chipati is a pita filled with a simple salad of lettuce, mushroom, and cheese, topped with a creamy, tangy sauce. Chipati was introduced by Pizza Bob in the 1970s and remained a popular go-to snack for local Michigan residents.
Paczki is a traditional Polish sweet often eaten on Paczki day or Fat Tuesday. Pronounced as “punch-key,” this popular Polish desert is a donut-shaped pastry filled with rosehip or stewed plum jam. It’s considered one of the most famous foods in Detroit, Michigan. However, now you can find paczkis with several variations in fillings.
9. Better Made Potato Chips
Michigan farmers produce more potatoes for making potato chips than any other state. It’s no wonder Michigan is the home of some of the best makers of potato chips. The largest is Better Made. Better Made potato chips can be found everywhere in Michigan. The regional favorite for locals prefers Better Made potato chips to any other brand. You can find them in various flavors like garlic, dill pickle, red hot, and sweet barbeque.
10. Superman Ice Cream
There is nothing that says you are from Michigan then being able to say that you like Superman Ice Cream. This ultra sweet swirls of the colors of Superman’s costume, red, yellow and blue. The flavors are typically cherry, lemon and blue moon and was supposedly first formulated by Detroit’s own Stroh’s Ice Cream company. During prohibition, Stroh’s started making ice cream and the brewery has kept at it ever since. This ice cream is a Midwest favorite the folks at the heart of the Great Lakes region have claimed it their own.
11. The Olive Burger
This simple topping is a Michigan favorite. It’s thought that the original olive burger was introduced in Flint, also known as Buick City. In 1923, Kewpee Hamburgers started in Flint as one of the early fast-food chain restaurants. The “Kewpee Hotel Hamburgs” were a hit. Particularly in Michigan’s state capital of Lansing.
Some of the best olive burgers in Lansing can be found at Weston’s Kewpee Burger and Olympic Broil. In East Lansing, check out the Peanut Barrel and Crunchy’s. All of these burger joints have been making saucy briney burgers for decades.
The olive burger sauce recipe is very simple. Chopped green olives, a little of the olive brine mixed with mayonnaise.
12. Fried Whitefish & Whitefish Chowder
For 1000s of years, lake whitefish were an important food source for Native Americans around the Great Lakes. When the European settlers arrived, they praised the lake whitefish for its excellent flavor and abundance. It’s a fun fact that the Great Lakes whitefish boasts a long list of health advantages. The fish is considered high quality, low-cost protein option with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
The Great Lakes whitefish is more popular than ever. One chain that got its start in Traverse City and Mackinaw City is Scalawags Whitefish. They have been taking whitefish cooking to the next level for years. One of the iconic dishes and comfort foods that we enjoy is the easy-to-make Whitefish Chowder.
#13 Vlasic Pickle Is Michigan’s Favorite
Vlasic Pickles, located in Imlay City, is at the extreme southern portion of Michigan’s Thumb. Vlasic is a significant employer for the region. Michigan farmers supply tons of cucumbers for America’s #1 pickle, and scores of workers work at the Imlay City plant and distribution.
Vlasic makes its famous pickles, such as the famous garlic dill pickle and over 100 other products in Imlay City, Michigan. The plant produces more than 150 million jars of pickle products annually.
When it comes to distinct food culture, Michigan has a lot to offer. From deep-dish pizzas to traditional Polish paczkis, the state is home to several diverse dishes celebrated for their uniqueness and flavor. Here, the various festivals and cultural nuances surrounding food offer visitors much more than a dining experience. These foods are an experience in itself that has made Michigan savory dishes famous all over the world.