Lutefisk is a fish dish traditionally served in Nordic countries, and is made from aged, dried whitefish prepared with lye. It is gelatinous and smelly. Yum!
2. Maple Nut Goodie
The Maple Nut Goodie is one of several popular candies (including the Salted Nut Roll) made by Pearson’s Candy Company of St. Paul, MN.
Lefse is a soft Norwegian flat bread. It’s most commonly served rolled up, with butter and cinnamon sugar or lingonberry jam. (Sometimes it is served with lutefisk!)
4. 1919 Draft Root Beer
1919 Draft Root Beer is Minnesota’s signature pop, created during Prohibition in 1919. It’s only available on tap, not in bottles or cans.
The walleye is Minnesota’s state fish and prominent among the state’s thousands of freshwater lakes. It is eaten battered, fried, smoked, on sandwiches, on sticks, and generally just as much as possible.
6. Fry Bread
Frybread is a traditional Navajo and Ojibwe dish comprised simply of a flat dough fried in oil, shortening, or lard. It can be eaten like a taco with beef, or served sweet with honey or sugar.
7. Juicy Lucy
The Juicy Lucy is a burger invented by one of two South Minneapolis restaurants: Matt’s Bar or the 5-8 Club. Both claim responsibility for coming up with the very good idea to cook cheese right into the burger.
8. Minnesota Wild Rice
Most of the wild rice eaten in the United States comes from cultivated fields in California, but Minnesotan lakes and rivers are where it’s harvested naturally (and best).
9. Iron Range Porketta
Porchetta is a traditional Italian dish, but Iron Range Porketta (made and available in northern Minnesota) is distinct breed, flavored with fennel and garlic and typically served as a sandwich.
10. Deep Fried Cheese Curds
While it’s true that much of the cheese Minnesotans eat in curd form comes from our cheesehead neighbors to the east, it’s at the Minnesota State Fair that the deep-fried variety really shines.
11. Surly Beer
Surly Brewing Company is a native Minnesotan craft brewery. Non-Minnesotans should be sorry they don’t currently distribute outside the state.
12. Bundt Cake
You have Minnesotan H. David Dalquist to thank for the distinctive shape of the Bundt cake as we know it today — his St. Louis Park company Nordic Ware first produced them in 1950.
A pasty (which is thought to have been brought to Minnesota by residents of the English county of Cornwall and adopted by Finnish immigrants working in the Iron Range mines) is a baked pastry filled with meat and vegetables.
Kransekake is a towering, almond-flavored Danish/Norwegian dessert traditionally eaten on special occasions like Christmas, birthdays, or baptisms.
It sounds like a Dr. Seuss character, but gravlax is a Norwegian dish of raw spiced salmon.
16. Jello Salad
Jello salad isn’t exclusive to Minnesota, but it is (usually) what people in Minnesota mean when they say they’ll bring “the salad” to your neighborhood potluck. Obviously, the best varieties include marshmallows.
Potica — buttery pastry dough rolled into very thin layers and covered in brown sugar and spices, brought to the region from Eastern Europe — is another Iron Range favorite.
Booya is the name given to both a 30-100 gallon vat of stew (meat and vegetables) and the party that goes along with it. There is an annual “World Championship Booya Cookoff” every year in St. Paul.
19. Tater Tot Hotdish
“Hotdish” is what Minnesotans call casserole, and the tater tot variety is probably the state’s favorite. Or at least one of the favorites.