It should come as no surprise that the “Ocean State” is filled with an abundance of seafood. Yet, that’s not all the famous food and drinks you’ll find in Rhode Island! In this part of the United States, taste everything from Clam Cakes to Pizza Strips as you dive into the local cuisine. So exactly what food is Rhode Island known for? Let us take you through all the seafood classics, plus some New England dishes that Rhode Island has its own awesome take on.
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What Food is Rhode Island Known For?
As seafood lovers, we get so excited for every trip to this beautiful state. The most famous food in Rhode island is its fried seafood dishes which we’ll be telling you about in this blog. However, once you dive deeper into the beach towns and small cities you’ll find there is so much more to Rhode Island cuisine.
One great thing about the best food in Rhode Island is that it isn’t just limited to the fancy seaside restaurants. Some our favorite meals have been at small beach shacks or snack bars that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. We’ll also touch on some of the tastiest drinks to try with your Rhode Island food.
Best Food in Rhode Island
1. Clam Cakes
Crunchy on the outside, but light and airy in the center. Clam Cakes are truly a Rhode Island summer classic! For your first time eating a clam cake think of it more as a soft-fried bread ball with a hint of clam flavor.
2. Clam Strips
While clam strips might share the Rhode Island seafood component with clam cakes, they couldn’t be more different. Long strips of salty and chewy clam are battered, deep-fried, and crisped to perfection. You can order them as a meal with fries, coleslaw, and tartar sauce shown below, or even get this Rhode island food on a bun!
3. Pizza Strips
The name might immediately make you think you’re about a massive pizza party, and that can totally be arranged! Large squares of thick focaccia-style bread are baked with a red sauce.
Yes, there’s no cheese on this pizza. Nevertheless. we found that the mouthwatering sauce more than made up for that.
4. Del’s Lemonade
There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than an ice-cold lemonade. You should know that Del’s is king around the Rhode Island food scene. Del’s lemonade first opened in 1948 and has since expanded across New England.
Here you can buy it from beach trucks, convenience stores, and supermarkets. Del’s is a great refreshment to go with the best food in Rhode Island. They even made this summer splash into a beer!
5. Rhode Island Calamari
Do you love fresh calamari? If so, you can’t leave without trying this Rhode Island seafood! This is a great example of a New England classic that the state has put its own twist on.
Topped with garlic butter and hot cherry peppers, Rhode island calamari hits all the foodie boxes and taste buds. Indulgent, savory, and crunchy, with a hint of spice.
6. Stuffed Quahogs
This might be the most unique of all the famous food in Rhode Island. Also known as “stuffies,” these massive Quahog shells are quite the catch.
Typically, they’re topped with a breaded mixture of Quahogs and spices. Depending on where you get this Rhode Island food staple the flavors and fillings may vary.
Some Quahogs just have chili flakes and paprika while others add in a spicy sausage. You can find them at most Rhode Island seafood shacks as well as at the local markets.
7. Hot Wieners
You can’t talk about the best food in Rhode Island without mentioning these fun-sized hot dogs! Hot wieners have taken on a life of their own in the state, as places like Olneyville in Providence have perfected the style.
Although slightly smaller than a normal hot dog, hot wieners are soft, chewy, and explode with flavor. Also, you should know there’s only one way to order a hot weiner… And that’s known as “All the Way.” This guarantees the soft steamed bun comes loaded with chili, onions, and celery salt.
8. Rhode Island Clam Chowder
When you think of this specialty in New England, most likely a thick and creamy chowder comes to mind. Yet, this is one famous food in Rhode Island that’s done a little differently. That’s because Rhode Island clam chowder is actually a clear broth.
That’s right! It’s not the thick and creamy broth seen in places like Cape Cod. Still, don’t knock it until you try it.
It’s super tasty and not as filling as the traditional New England style. The classic New England clam chowder can still easily be found at most Rhode Island food stops.
This one took us right back to the local fair growing up! Round donut-sized pieces of pizza dough are deep-fried and dusted with a sugary coating.
The most popular place to try this Rhode Island treat is Iggy’s Doughboys and Chowder House in Warwick. The property holds the title of the oldest beach stand in Rhode Island, first opening under the name Gus’s in 1924.
10. Coffee Milk
Now that you’ve heard what food Rhode Island is known for, how about another local drink? Just as the name suggests, this Rhode Island refreshment is thick and creamy milk flavored with a splash of coffee. You can order it out at breakfast, or grab a pint at a local store.
Made from cornmeal, the Johnnycake is popular breakfast food in Rhode Island. The unique style of pancakes is served up across the Ocean State at both local diners and everyday homes. Depending on what part of Rhode Island you’re in, there is a debate on if they should be served thick or thin. How do you like your Johnnycakes?
More of the Best Rhode Island Food
While the Rhode Island food list above is specific to this state, there are plenty more New England treats to be enjoyed. You can find everything from lobster rolls and mussels to apple cider donuts.
Use this as loose guide to discover more of the most delicious food in Rhode Island. One thing is for certain… You won’t go hungry while exploring the Ocean State!
Have any questions about this article or want to share more of the most famous food in Rhode Island? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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