States with the best food, according to writer who's been to all 50 – Insider

Whether my trips have been for personal or professional reasons, I’ve gone out of my way to sample local cuisines across the US.
To be fair, the food in each state has its own distinct draw, and it’s not easy to compare Alaskan king salmon to Louisiana king cake. Still, I have to play favorites, and there are some places where the flavors are just superior.
Based on my dining experiences, these are the 10 best states for food lovers to visit.
Foodies everywhere should bump America’s 50th state to the top of their travel wish list, because there’s so much more to Hawaii’s food-and-drink scene than Mai Tais and Blue Hawaiians.
The state’s cuisine fuses Asian, American, and Polynesian influences, reflecting its position as the most geographically remote island chain in the Pacific — and the result is delicious.
The fresh food in Hawaii is the best of the best, and the rest of the country is catching on. 
Even though chefs around the US are making their own variations of island staples like shave ice and poke, I have yet to find anything that compares to the local Hawaiian cuisine.
Between Texas’ massive size and strong state identity, it can sometimes feel like its own nation. So, it should come as no surprise that there’s nothing quite like the Lone Star State’s culinary landscape.
When I dine in Texas, I don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Tex-Mex is a must-have, especially when I’m in San Antonio, and Texas barbecue is, of course, a mandatory order.
I also like to stop by neighborhood food trucks, as I’ve found that locals usually have the best grub.
Having Maine lobster on a brisk July night is my ideal summer evening. 
I traveled with Outward Bound, an outdoor educational program, off the coast of Penobscot Bay in early high school, and after two weeks of living off packed granola, I rewarded myself with a lobster lunch. I’ve been hooked ever since.
In my early 20s, I developed an allergy to seafood, but I loved Maine lobster so much that I was in denial and continued eating it for about five years. Even though I spent many clambakes sick in the hydrangea bushes after helping myself to a seafood platter, it was worth every bit of queasiness.
Las Vegas gets the bulk of culinary attention in Nevada because of its resorts and fine-dining restaurants. Of course, it’s worth visiting, but Reno deserves some of the spotlight, too.
I first visited Reno on my way to Lake Tahoe in 2018 and was blown away by the vibrant Southwestern city. After spending time there, I felt like I’d stumbled upon a diamond in the desert. 
I went on the Reno Food Tour to taste all the city has to offer and had a Francophile brunch at Chez Louie in the Nevada Museum of Art. It was incredible. 
I love the flavor-packed food in Louisiana
Whenever I’m in New Orleans, I come prepared for a crawfish boil by bringing a paper bag, seasoning, and an appetite.
I also go out of my way to grab some of the Big Easy’s famed beignets and sweet king cakes, an oval-shaped pastry served during the city’s Carnival season.
If you name a cuisine, the odds are you can find it in New York City, the ultimate cultural melting pot.
Even though I’m a New Yorker, I’m still impressed by how easily I can find incredible food at all hours of the day and night. 
As someone who’s grabbed escargot at 2 a.m. at L’Express in Gramercy Park and had post-club dim sum at Wo Hop in Chinatown, I can assure you that New York City is a paradise for foodies.
If it’s fresh seafood you’re after, Maryland is your best place to find crab in the lower 48 states.
The state gets its blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay —  and though they’re mouthwatering, they’re very messy to eat. 
Maryland crabs have tomalley, a special “mustard” sauce, inside. My go-to place to bite into the delicacy is Cantler’s Riverside Inn in Annapolis.
The food in Music City is divine, and it’s best washed down with a splash of sweet tea or Tennessee whiskey.
When I visited Nashville in 2019, I had some of the most memorable meals of my life at Merchants on Broadway and Lockeland Table in East Nashville.
Alaska is the final seafood-centric state I added to my list. If I wanted fresh fish in Alaska, I had to work for it.
I learned just how difficult it is to reel in a king salmon during my trip along the Inside Passage. Luckily, I was more successful catching halibut and lingcod, which later became some of the most delicious dinner entrées I’ve ever had.
Plus, feasting on the king crab at Cape Fox Lodge in Ketchikan rivaled my beloved blue crab from the aforementioned Chesapeake Bay.
I’ll never stop coming back to South Carolina for Southern cooking.
Charleston is routinely ranked as a top culinary destination in the US, and after spending a mere 24 hours spent strolling through the cobblestone streets, it’s not hard to understand why. The state is especially known for its fresh, delicious oysters. 
If you get a chance, I recommend ordering wood-fired Sewansecott Oysters when you’re there.
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