5 Must-Try Foods if You're Visiting Pennsylvania [Food & Drink]

Melissa Frost

Photo by Pierre Gui on Unsplash

It's not necessarily glamorous and fancy - the food you'll get when visiting Pennsylvania, but it's delicious. It's hearty and filling, sometimes sweet, and ridiculously tasty. If you're traveling through the state or visiting for a few days, here are some of the foods you should try.


Pittsburgh’s Primanti Bros. is well-known for massive sandwiches. Their staple? A Pitts-burger, which is a beef patty stuffed with tomatoes, lettuce, french fries and coleslaw, on white Italian bread.

If you want to go truly authentic, visit the original location in Pittsburgh’s strip district - this spot maintains the feel of the old-school sandwich counter the Primantis opened in the 1930s. There are, however, plenty of locations serving the Pitts-burger throughout the state.

Soft Pretzel

You can't beat soft pretzels from Pennsylvania.

It's a Keystone state thing and people around here just know how to make them right. In fact, according to PA Eats, Pennsylvania produces and eats more pretzels than anywhere else in the country. About 80% of all the pretzels made in the country are made right here, with 45 pretzel companies calling Pennsylvania home. My guess is that no matter what city or town you visit in the state, there will be someone selling soft pretzels and they will taste amazing.


You either love it or hate it. There's no in-between here.

Scrapple is a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeals and wheat flour, and spices. The mush is formed into a semi-solid congealed loaf, and slices of the scrapple are then pan-fried before serving, usually as breakfast, often with scrambled eggs and toast.

The history of this food traces back to scraps of meat left over from butchering, not used or sold elsewhere, being made into scrapple to avoid waste.

Long John

Ever had a Long John? It's sort of like a donut, without the hole, with a generous spread of icing.

It's hard to stop after just one.

Photo by Sara Melissa Frost

The history of these treats starts in Lancaster County. In 1954, Leon and Anna Achenbach had a dream of starting their own bakery business. They settled on Leola, a small and rural area within the county, and came up with the Long John. These days, they offer Long John wedding cakes, specialty cakes, and there's also Long John eating contest.

These things are popular among locals and out-of-towners.

Philly Cheesesteak

It's impossible to write about Pennsylvania foods without mentioning the iconic Philly Cheesesteak; a sandwich made from thinly sliced pieces of beefsteak and melted cheese in a long hoagie roll with its roots in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

It's so, so good, and the best ones are in Philadelphia. For a list of amazing places dishing up cheesesteaks, I'm sending you over to Eater Philadelphia. They're the topic experts.

What are your favorite foods in Pennsylvania?

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Journalist and writer. I cover local stories + food, mostly from PA.

Lititz, PA

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