Micro-Regional Foods-Taco in a Bag

We know that in certain areas of the country or world there are dishes associated with that region. Such as expecting to see New England Clam Chowda on a menu in New England, or crayfish on a menu in Louisiana, or good Tex-Mex from Texas. And each region has their own type of pizza like the Chicago Deep Dish for instance, or a type of barbecue like North Carolina pulled pork in that tangy vinegar sauce versus Memphis Barbecue in its thick tomato based sauce. But what about Sugar Cream Pie of the Hoosier State, Indiana, and the “Petro”, a taco in a bag, of Tennessee launched during the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, and the Donair of Halifax, N. S., has anyone outside of these regions ever heard of these dishes? I just discovered Salt Potatoes from another blogger, Warm Olives. Who knew they even existed except for those people in Syracuse, New York? When these folks leave their neighborhoods, no one else in the country or world has ever heard of their specialty dish and most can only get those specials by going back and visiting those places or making the dishes themselves.

Only known to South Jersey are these fresh fried hot and gooey panzarottis. A panzarotti is a small pizza folded in half, sealed and deep fried. They are crispy, burning hot and delicious. But I can only get them in South Jersey unless I make them myself, which I do, but not as good as the real thing. I have asked deli owners here in Virginia if they would close my pizza and deep fry it and they think I am crazy and deny my request because it would wreck their fryers. Huh?

Do you have a micro-regional specialty dish that is unheard of anywhere else? I’m not looking for the Philly Cheese Steak here I am looking for the “Wets” (Gravy Fries) of Reading, PA or the Cherry Limes from Borger, TX. Folks in the Poconos, do you have a Pocono only food, how about you in Lacey, WA, or those in Southern Cal? In Germany I ate my weight in Cheese Pretzels but now have to make my own as they are no where in site here.

Share a micro-regional specialty food favorite of yours.

Taco in a Bag- my way
One recipe chili
4-6 small bags Fritos corn chips
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
green onions or red onion, chopped

Make chili according to recipe. While bags are closed, slightly crush chips and then cut open along the long side of the bag. Top chips with hot chili a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of onions and cheese. Take along plastic forks and napkins and ta-da, dinner!


  1. Nicole
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 2:15 AM | Permalink

    Robin Sue, I LOVE this post! Great job and creative idea. I DID NOT know of most of the things you mentioned. And I DO SO want to try them! I will have to come back and click on all the links but for now, I think it is way past my bedtime!

  2. Rindy
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for the trip down memory lane. I am now craving a “Garbage Plate” from Nick Tahou’s in Rochester N.Y. A Garbage Plate contains 1/2 a plate of mac salad, 1/2 a plate of home fries, two burgers on top and a oh-so-good mystery meat sauce on top! Epicurious.com calls the garbage plate – Rochester’s contribution to the Gastronomical Arts! I agree. Thanks for the memories!

  3. Kate
    Posted April 11, 2008 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    I visit your blog almost daily and how cool to see a shout out to my potato post! Yay!

    I live in Northern California and we have a specialty called Hangtown Fry — an oyster and egg dish. There is a town called Placerville, known as Hangtown during the gold rush due to the number of executions by hanging. Here’s some data on the dish: http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/HangtownFryHistory.htm

    My family, however, has lived in Hawaii for decades and the two micro-specialties there are Spam Musabi (a wedge of grilled spam on rice with nori wrapping) and Loco Moco — white rice topped with spam, a fried egg, and a lake of brown gravy.

  4. Robin Sue
    Posted April 13, 2008 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    Hi All,
    I “googled” all of your local specialties and made my menu for next week.
    Mon-The Garbage Plate
    Tues-Hangtown Fry
    Wed- Spam Musabi
    Thurs-Loco Moco
    Friday- Leftovers!

    Thank you so much for sharing. I had fun learning about dishes from other places. Sounds like a spot on the show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. We have to send Guy to these places.

    Kate I am enjoying your blog!
    Rindy I think we have a menu for Gourmet Club!

  5. Nicole
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

    I don’t even thing So. Cal has a local specialty. Maybe fish tacos but they are everywhere aren’t they?

    Looking forward to your menu.

  6. Sabrina
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    Love the chili and fritos in the bag. They sell that at the snack stand for little league football games around our house. I think I might do that as a meal for our home-group. Thanks!

  7. Robin Sue
    Posted April 15, 2008 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

    Nicole I had a great fish taco at Pike’s Place Market once but never from Southern Cal, know any good recipes on line for some?

    Sabrina these are perfect for home group. Everyone makes their own then you just throw out the bags. No dishes!

  8. The Shmoopies
    Posted April 15, 2008 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    I don’t know if we have anything particularly regional here in NorCal. Hmm, I’ll have to think about it. I just wanted to say, though, that pizza folded over and deep fried?! Yes, please!!

  9. EAT!
    Posted April 22, 2008 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

    How did I miss the tacos in a bag??!! I am on my way to go get some fritos right now.

  10. The M. Tylerbot
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 1:58 PM | Permalink


    Theres a place in NYC called RUB. They serve this dish and call it Frito Pie!

    So good! Thanksf or posting your recipe

  11. Jen @ Canadian Rhapsody
    Posted June 16, 2011 at 12:29 AM | Permalink

    We have panzerotti's here in Canada, but they aren't deep fried as far as I know. They're just folded in half and baked in the oven that way. At least that's how the place I worked at in high school did it!

    I've also had donairs in here in Ontario, but I'm sure they're not as authentic as having them out on the east coast.

    Was brought to your sight from the tv commercial!

  12. Gaby
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    Never heard it called “Taco in a Bag” before. I have always seen it as Frito Pie, it’s pretty much a Texas staple since the 1930/1940’s but really took off in the 1960’s. I remember seeing it in school for lunch, at Friday night football games. Only thing I can think that is also very regional is also from Texas it’s called Migas. I have never seen it outside of Texas or in Mexico where I also have family.

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