Baltimore, Maryland lies perfectly between the north and the south of the East Coast. With ties to the cuisines of both regions, the city boasts an abundance of foods and drinks that can’t be found anywhere else. Though the area is best known for its crabs (and rightfully so), Baltimore is also home to many products that you may not be familiar with, but ones that will soon change your life once you’re aware of them.
1. Maryland Blue Crab
Naturally, first up is the state crustacean, the Maryland blue crab (which actually turns red once steamed). It can be prepared in a variety of ways, including as a crab cake, as a steamed crab, a soft shell crab, or made into a crab dip. You
probably definitely won’t find better crabs anywhere else.
2. Old Bay
This original and classic condiment is Maryland’s pride and joy. Though Old Bay is traditionally used to season steamed crabs, you can also try it on mac-and-cheese, potato salad, grilled chicken, and popcorn. If you want a true taste of Baltimore, Old Bay is the call.
3. Fractured Prune Doughnuts
Fractured Prune has a rich history of its own, and it’s best known for its beach location in Ocean City, Maryland, but the shop has locations all over the country. So, if you’re not in Baltimore, you can still enjoy the hot doughnuts. Specialty flavors include OC Sand, Rocky Shores, and Key Lime Pie. You can also customize your order by choosing from almost 20 glazes and 15 toppings.
4. Natty Boh
National Bohemian Beer was first brewed in Charm City in 1885. Ever since, the iconic one-eyed logo has infiltrated the city on bumper stickers, beer cans, and bar signs. Summer isn’t summer without Boh’s and O’s.
5. Utz Chips
Utz technically calls Pennsylvania home, but it has a special relationship with its neighboring state. Since the products are only distributed to certain East Coast cities, college kids love coming home to a bag of Utz (@mom I hope you’re reading this). A Baltimore favorite is the “crab chip” flavor (potato chips covered in Old Bay seasoning).
Not quite Italian Ice nor Water Ice, a snowball is created by shaving ice until it holds a thick texture then adding flavored syrup and marshmallow cream. Popular flavors include Egg Custard, Skylight, and Tutti Frutti. Some natives have even opened snowball stands as far as Florida and San Francisco.
7. Smith Island Cake
The official state dessert is named after one of the islands on the Chesapeake Bay. The cake includes 8 to 12 layers of vanilla cake covered in chocolate fudge icing and peanut butter cup pieces. Make your own with this sweet recipe.
8. Charm City Cakes
Chef Duff Goldman opened this nationally recognized cake shop miles from his alma mater, UMBC. His team whips up creative, highly-detailed gourmet cakes, and they deliver them across the country. The business even got its own show on Food Network called Ace of Cakes. In 2011, the team opened a location in Los Angeles, proving Baltimore’s charm has the ability to reach the entire country.
9. Lemon peppermint sticks
The definition of sweet and sour. These treats can be found at the Mount Vernon Flower Mart each May and at the state fair in August. The recipe is so simple it’s no wonder the idea has spread throughout the country.
10. Berger Cookies
A soft, vanilla shortbread cookie smothered in thick chocolate ganache icing. It seems pretty simple, but we know there’s gotta be a secret ingredient. The rich dessert originated in Charm City in 1835 when the Berger family brought their German chocolate recipes to Baltimore, and it’s a good thing they did.
11. Pit Beef
Pit beef is found at roadside stands throughout the state. The meat is grilled over charcoal and added to kaiser rolls to create iconic sandwiches. However, many chefs grill without sauces or rubs to differentiate from wood flavored barbecues found elsewhere. Top it with some barbecue sauce or with some Old Bay, and you’ve got yourself a hometown classic.
In the 1800s, German immigrants populated Baltimore and brought their sauerkraut recipes to the area. Ever since, Baltimore residents have added their own flavors and variations to the dish to make it a national food staple.
13. Boog Powell’s Famous Barbecue
John “Boog” Powell is a former All-Star for the Baltimore Orioles. He found another talent in barbecuing beef, pork, and turkey sandwiches, for which we are very thankful. Boog’s Barbecue is served at Camden Yards during every baseball game, along with Old Bay chips.
14. Black Eyed Susan Cocktail
One way to earn the Triple Crown is to win the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland. You’ll find the state flower, the Black Eyed Susan, covering the crowning horse’s blanket. But, for everyone who didn’t win the blanket, here’s a drink to make it better.
15. Otterbein’s Cookies
Just look for the red grid patterned bag. Inside are sweet, thin melt-in-your-mouth cookies. For more than 130 years, the signature family recipe has been produced and savored throughout Baltimore – oh, and they ship around the country, btw.
16. Fisher’s Popcorn
Take a trip “down the ocean” (to Ocean City, MD), and let your first stop be at a Fisher’s popcorn stand. Try the caramel popcorn, and your standards will never come back down. If that’s not enough, they’ve also got cinnamon caramel, caramel with peanuts, and Old Bay variations.
17. Thrasher’s French Fries
While we’re at it, here’s another favorite from Ocean City. You can find these gems on the Boardwalk and all along the Coastal Highway. Top them with Old Bay, and they’ll be gone in minutes.
18. Esskay Hot Dogs
Typically advertised as an official sponsor of the Orioles, these dogs found their home in Baltimore in 1858. Then, two business combined (Schluderberg and Kurdle) to create the name Esskay (S and K). Clever.
Whether you’re a homesick Baltimore native or a foodie seeking some good eats, you have to visit Charm City for all it has to offer. Far away? Don’t worry. Many of these foods can be found or made throughout the country, bringing Baltimore straight to you.