Skip To Content

    Anyone Who Grew Up Around Chicago Definitely Ate These 14 Foods

    For starters, Portillo's mayo chocolate cake.

    The Chicagoland area has some truly iconic treasures: a giant sculpture of a bean, an enormous ferris wheel — but the absolute BEST thing (IMO) is the food.

    Google

    So here are 14 foods you definitely ate if you grew up in the Chicagoland area:

    1. Deep-dish pizza (aka Chicago-style pizza) — obviously.

    Instagram: @leonasrestaurants

    If Chicagoans had a food pyramid, this beautiful creation of crust, melted cheese, Italian sausage, and sauce would be the foundation. If you prefer Giordano's, good for you — but if you're a Lou Malnati's fan, even better. (Don't @ me.)

    2. Delicious Vienna hot dogs ordered from food carts located in random places (like a Home Depot parking lot).

    Instagram: @amandaroseyo

    Surprisingly delicious with bright green relish and NO ketchup in sight.

    3. A comforting bowl of chicken Vesuvio.

    Instagram: @khoupernicus

    Just about every family has their own way of making it, but they almost always contain chicken, potatoes, and peas — perfect for those chilly (I'm talking CHILLY) Chiberia nights.

    4. Freshly fried pączki to celebrate pączki day (because you don't have to be religious to worship doughnuts).

    Instagram: @skylarhamburg

    Yes, pączki day is technically a religious holiday — but let's be real, for most people it's all about the doughnuts. Grocery stores stock up on them, teachers bring them in to school — you can't go wrong with 'em! (Unless you get those rose-filled ones...).

    5. Puppy chow (which should never be consumed while wearing black).

    Instagram: @goodnessgraciousbee, Instagram: @heather_lynne725

    When a Chicagoan asks for puppy chow, they're not asking for dog food. They're asking for a delicious bowl of Chex cereal coated in melted chocolate, peanut butter, and a TON of powdered sugar. Sure, it's messy, but it's also the quintessential snack for a proper Midwest sleepover.

    6. Half-frozen Eli's Cheesecake that's too damn good to let thaw.

    Instagram: @aheathphoto

    Admit it, you've eaten a half-frozen slice of Eli's cheesecake — but that's OK! With flavors like cookie butter, turtle, and that truly iconic chocolate chip one, you can't help yourself.

    7. Mostaccioli — which is NOT the same thing as baked penne.

    Instagram: @libracursed85, Instagram: @gem_skullz

    Listen, I can't really explain the difference between baked penne and mostaccioli (and maybe there isn't one, unsure), but a true Chicagoan calls it mostaccioli, NOT baked penne.

    8. A giant tin of popcorn (usually from Garrett's) filled with Chicago mix — aka half cheddar and half caramel corn.

    Instagram: @season260

    Listen, a little bit of cheddar cheese dust on your caramel corn is actually good — kinda like how a little bit of salt on chocolate is good. Does that explanation make it less weird for any non-Chicagoans reading this?

    9. Literally anything from Portillo's.

    Instagram: @expataile, Instagram: @amyjoweum

    Hands down the best restaurant chain in the country. I said it!

    10. Frozen custard — which, again, is NOT the same thing as soft serve.

    Instagram: @crdavis92

    And also not the same thing as ice cream. It's thick, dense, and you can hold it over your head without it falling on you — try doing that with soft serve!

    11. A Maxwell Street Polish.

    Instagram: @jaderosediaz

    AKA a grilled Polish sausage topped with mustard and caramelized onions — perfection. (Also, shout-out to Portillo's again — love you.)

    12. A soggy (but hella good) beef sandwich topped with GIAR👏 DIN👏IERA👏.

    Instagram: @mattandmos

    Dipped in warm au jus and eaten over a garbage can (because drippage, obvi).

    13. Pierogi — including those cheese ones that you THINK are going to be savory, but are strangely sweet.

    Instagram: @thepierogilady

    The real experts stick to the potato ones because THOSE are where it's at.

    14. Those bags of potato chips with the groovy saxophone man on them.

    Instagram: @isprin.me

    Almost as iconic as the eagle man laying an egg, these potato chips are ALWAYS served at Cubs games (notice how I'm not saying Sox games?), barbecues, and just about every other event you could think of.

    Did we miss any iconic Chicago foods? Do you hate me because I side with the Cubs? Let us know in the comments!