The Chicago Food Glossary: A Guide to the Unique Dishes of the Windy City


[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Like all great cities should, Chicago has a collection of dishes that were invented within its borders and that you can't get anywhere else. Some are so well known they're entered the national discussion, while others are so esoteric they may only be familiar to those in a certain part of town. But there are so many, it's kind of hard to keep track of them all—I can't tell you how many times I need to refer to a uniquely Chicago dish in passing, only to waste an hour trying to quickly and neatly give a tidy definition. That's why I decided to create this list to help collect them all.


What Did I Miss?

While I think I've included most of the big names, there's no way I remembered every single dish created in Chicago. In most cases, if it's not here that means no one from this site has ever tried it, and we're not in the business of describing things we haven't eaten. That's definitely the case with a dish like shrimp DeJonghe, which is mentioned often as a Chicago speciality, yet somehow I've never tried it. But if I have missed something obvious, please let me know so I can add it to the list.

Otherwise, click on the slideshow to check out all the dishes, or see the full list below.

Chicago Food Glossary Index

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