We’re not the health police here at SmarterTravel. So when we saw that the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index had been released, ranking America’s 10 fattest metropolitan areas, we didn’t shake our heads—we loosened our belts and started planning a gastronomical tour of each town. After all, they must be cooking something right in these towns? So read on to find out which places made the list, and what’s worth a bite in each town.
10. Reading, Pennsylvania: Scrapple
Love pork? Make sure you eat every last bit of that pig with some Scrapple! Made from a mush of pork scraps, cornmeal, and spices, everything is cooked together in a Scrapple loaf, and then fried before eating for maximum fat. Nearby Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia holds a ScrappleFest every year in honor of the dish.
9. Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Washington: Deep-Fried Salmon Sure, Washington State is famous for fresh salmon, but that sounds far too healthy. Inject it with a dose of vitamin F (for fried) with the deep-fried salmon available at Kennewick’s Benton Franklin Fair and Rodeo.
8. Topeka, Kansas: Three Pound Burger
Topeka’s Specks Bar and Grill is the home to the three pound burger, which is three pounds of ground beef on a 14-inch bun. It comes with fries, onion rings, or chips, and you can top it off with cheese for $2 extra.
7. Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida: Deep-Fried Gator
Hey, alligators are everywhere in Florida, so why not put them to use? And since they taste like chicken anyway, toss them in the deep fryer and pretend you’re eating a chicken nugget.
6. Charleston, West Virginia: The Monster
Got a hole in your stomach that only a pound of food can fill? You’re in luck if you’re in Charleston! Head to Thelma Fay’s Cafe, home to the self-proclaimed biggest sandwich in Charleston. The Monster is over one pound of corned beef and pastrami, topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and dressing on grilled rye bread.
5. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas: Frito Pie
What’s a busy guy on the go going to do for a meal? Energy bars don’t give you the same satisfaction as a warm, home-cooked meal, but who has time to sit down and eat from a plate? Enter: Frito Pie, a Texas specialty. Simply open a bag of Fritos, ladle some chili on top, and throw in some sour cream and jalapeno, and you’ve got a portable snack.
4. Rockford, Illinois: Cheese Curds
You know what sounds unappetizing? The solid parts of soured milk, aka, cheese curds. But if you deep fry anything, it suddenly becomes edible, right? Hence, the fried cheese curds available at the Rockford On the Waterfront festival.
3. Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia-Kentucky-Ohio: Pepperoni Roll
This three-state metropolitan area has one dish to bind them together—the pepperoni roll. Available at fine eateries and gas stations alike, the pepperoni roll improves upon a lame old white bread roll by baking pepperoni inside of it. The bread serves as a grease sponge, soaking up all the oil that would otherwise be tragically lost during cooking.
2. Binghamton, New York: Spiedie
Mmm, meat cubes! Binghamton is the birthplace of the Spiedie sandwich. Choose from cubes of various types of meat (including deer or veal), marinate, and then grill over a charcoal pit and serve on Italian bread. Then hope you haven’t weighed down your balloon too much at the Spiedie Fest and balloon rally.
1. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas: Super Monster Burrito
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and we’re not talking about the people. This metro area is close to the Mexican border, so celebrate with some Tex-Mex: Freebirds’ Super Monster burrito. Sure, it may tip the scales at almost seven pounds, but you can get it on a wheat tortilla which makes it totally healthy, right?
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