Is American food ethnic food? When I travel outside the United States and the conversation turns to food, hot dogs, hamburgers, and BBQ are what everyone associates with America. Unfortunately, people often have the fast-food chain versions in mind. (Foreign definitions of American food, like our narrow understanding of many foreign cuisines, can be a little off.) If I’m sharing great American food with someone born outside the United States, I want them to try an authentic Jersey hot dog, or experience disco fries and a burger at a shiny Jersey diner. That’s why EthnicNJ.com features American and New Jersey as ethnic food categories.
Of course, American cuisine is really the best of all the ethnic food our immigrant ancestors brought with them. Pizza, by now, is authentic American food. A generation from now, the world might associate ceviche or banh mi with the United States. That’s natural in a nation of immigrants. My first response when I’m asked about the best food in the USA: “You name it, we have it. Especially in New Jersey.” Ethnic food is American food, and vice-versa.