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Map: The most distinctive menu items in every state

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Minnesotans order walleye. Pennsylvania eats a lot of hoagies. Oklahoma, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas really love ranch dressing. Fast Company magazine's FastCo.Design and food trend tracker Food Genius teamed up to make this map of the most distinctive food on restaurant menus in every state:

most distinctive foods

(Gus Wezerek/FastCo.Design with Food Genius data)

These aren't the most popular foods in every state, but the foods that are much more common in menus in those states than they are in the rest of the country. (Here's why interesting maps need to rely on this kind of methodology.)

The interactive version, at Fast Company's website, is much richer — it adds the most distinctive descriptors and preparation methods, as well as menu items. So in Nebraska you're more likely to order something "creamy," "smothered," and "delicious," whereas in California you're more likely to be offered something "vegetarian" with "avocado" or a "green salad."

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