Arizona’s cuisine is strongly influenced by the many ethnic groups that have lived in the area throughout the state’s history. This includes Native Americans, Mexicans, Spanish colonial settlers, and cowboys. Thanks to them, the state offers a rich menu of exotic foods to locals and visitors alike.
Listed below are just some of Arizona’s favorite delicacies. See if you have what it takes to try them out in your next food adventure:
Arizona has a different spin on the classic, all-American hotdog. Instead of the standard sausage in a hotdog bun slathered with cheese, sauces, and just about anything else you can think of, the Sonoran hotdog is a delicious bacon-wrapped beef hotdog inserted in a bread pocket. It is then topped with onions, mayonnaise, mustard, beans, and tomatoes.
Cholla cacti are common in Arizona and there are species with edible fruits, buds, and pads. The fruits can be eaten raw (with the seeds) or made into jellies and preserves. Cholla buds are eaten raw, dried, or pickled. These buds are ultra-rich in calcium – two tablespoons of buds have the same calcium content as a whole glass of milk. Meanwhile, the pads can be eaten raw or boiled (after removing spines).
If you like really hot food, Chiltepin peppers – the only chili pepper native to the U.S. – might be right up your alley. The peppers are small, pungent, and very spicy. They are harvested from the wild then sun-dried, fermented (for sauces) or pickled.
Frybread is used to replace the typical taco shell for this Arizona delicacy. As the name of this dish suggests, it was introduced by the Navajo Indians and was adopted by other tribes. Due to the widespread popularity of the Navajo taco, it was at one point considered the State Dish of Arizona.
The red and purple fruits of the cactus are said to taste like “a cross between all-natural bubble gum and watermelon.” Juices from the fruits are used as dessert toppings or to make jams, candy, and cocktails. Believe it or not, there is also such a thing as prickly pear lemonade.
These beans have a long history of cultivation and are ideal for desert climates, thanks to their drought resistance. The beans are small, dense, and have a high protein and fiber content. Tepary beans have a mildly sweet taste, with some describing them as slightly nutty or smoky. The beans are good by themselves and some Arizonans have them for breakfast.
Another delicacy brought to the Arizona table is the Hopi tribes’ piki bread. Made from blue cornmeal and prepared as extremely thin sheets, several are rolled loosely into scrolls before baking. Piki bread layers can easily crumble into flakes when you bite into these. It takes days for the bread to be made if done using traditional methods, including baking with oils made from the seeds of squash, sunflower, and watermelon. Since the base is still corn, expect this interesting blue treat to have a sweet taste.
The Chimichangas made an appearance in many parts of the U.S. but it is a favorite in Arizona. Essentially a deep-fried burrito, the chimichanga, by several accounts, was an accidental development in a restaurant. The typical ingredients include a flour tortilla filled with rice, beans, cheese, beef or chicken. They are very flavorful and tip the scales in terms of calories and fat.
Indulge in the many flavors and stylings of unique dishes that define Arizona. And if your plans include settling in the Grand Canyon State, do let us know so we can help. We are Aeris House Properties, Arizona’s trusted real estate agents. Get in touch with us at 602-466-9771 or send us an email at Info@AerisHouse.com[/ai_phone] today.