By Ally Marotti for the CheapTickets Blog
One of the truest ways to experience a city is to taste it, and that tour de taste should probably start with a bite of the city's most iconic food. Pizza by the slice in the Big Apple, a Chicago-style dog in the Windy City, a Po'boy in New Orleans -- restaurants that serve these traditional tastes are stops not to be missed on your travels. Tasting the culture of a city does not need to drain your wallet, either. Here's a look at some joints that serve some of the most delicious iconic foods in cities around the country for less than $10:
Pizza by the slice in New York City
Joe's Pizza - 7 Carmine St. or 150 E. 14th St.
Slice of cheese: $2.95
You can't visit New York City and not eat a piece of pizza bigger than the it's plate. Joe's has been using the same recipe to concoct their New York Style pizza since owner Joe Pozzouli immigrated to New York City from Naples, Italy (which is where pizza was invented) in the 1950s. Grab a slice of plain cheese for $2.75, or get a slice with any topping for $3.50.
Po'boy sandwich in New Orleans
Parran's - 3939 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, Louisiana
Fried catfish po'boy: $9.95
Po'boys are so iconic in New Orleans, they've got a whole festival dedicated to them. The Oak Street Po'boy Festival only lasts a day, but dozens of types of po'boys are available to satisfy your taste buds. If you don't land in New Orleans on that one day of the year, swing by Parran's in Metairie and sink your teeth into a traditional New Orleans seafood po'boy. Served on french bread -- soft in the middle with a crispy outside crust -- stuffed to the brim with fried catfish, and topped with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, this sandwich sings New Orleans. Creole sauce is optional.
Clam Chowda in Boston
Boston Chowda Co. - Three locations in Boston
Bowl of clam chowder (8 ounces): $3.99
New England clam chowder is a warm and delicious delight, guaranteed to thaw your bones on a chilly day in Boston. Or just satisfy the intense craving for seafood that takes over when you are near the northeastern Atlantic. Boston Chowda Co. has three locations and draws folks from all over with their traditional soups. Spring for the bread bowl if you are craving the carbs, or set the more traditional oyster crackers afloat in your stew. Bonus: This joint also serves lobster rolls, another New England classic, although the price at $16.99 isn't quite as sweet.
Chicago-style dog in Chicago
Portillo's - Multiple locations
Hot dog: $2.85
With any iconic food, variations on the classics are common, as goes the story with Chicago-style hot dogs. The city is teeming with awe-inspiring chefs, many of whom put their own spins on the classics, eventually developing cult followings. Hot Doug's, for example, used unusual meats such as fois gras to top his dogs. Founder Doug Sohn's customers would fork out a pretty penny for those dogs, and when the stand closed in October, lines stretched for blocks. Months later, his recreations keep springing up in places like Wrigley Field and Goose Island Beer Co.-sponsored events. But before you start branching out, swing by Portillo's for a classic, Chicago-style dog. With everything includes mustard, relish, finely chopped onions, kosher pickle, sliced red tomatoes and sports peppers piled onto a steamed poppy seed bun in true Chicago fashion. Wash it down with one of their famous cake shakes (they literally put a piece of cake in the blender).
Cuban sandwich in Miami
Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop - 186 NE 29th St, Miami, FL 33137
Sandwich cubano: $4.35
Miami is overflowing with authentic Cuban food, so picking a place to settle in for a classic Cuban sandwich should not be too difficult if you are in a rush. Seeking out Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop, however, is worth your time. A sandwich cubano, with ham, pork and cheese, is only $4.35, and that's one of the higher-priced items on the menu. They serve breakfast and have specials every day of the week, except Sunday when the shop is closed, and there's a take-out window so customers can stroll right up.
Carolina-style barbecue in North Carolina
Lexington Barbecue - 100 Smokehouse Lane, Lexington, NC
BBQ sandwich: $3.90
The sauce that douses Carolina barbecue is a little sweeter than most, probably to satisfy that southern palate that's so fond of sweet tea and other delicacies. Pulled from a pig shoulder or whole hog, Carolina barbecue sauce is usually mustard-, vinegar-, or tomato-based. It's often served with a side of coleslaw, although most places just slap the slaw right on the sandwich. Lexington Barbecue does just that. They use only pork shoulder and cook it over hickory or oak coal. The space has grown from a small diner and maintains that down-home feeling. Oh, and hush puppies are only $1.70 so do yourself a favor and tack on a side of those bad boys.