Everywhere has unique foods, cheesecakes in Philly, alligator in Louisiana, and clam chowder in Boston. Eating your way across America is one of the best ways to sample different foods from unique cultures from all over. In Lancaster County, we have a couple of special treats of our own and if you happen to stop by, then we have quite the bucket lists of foods to try.
You might head to a diner during your time in Lancaster and be a bit confused to see scrapple listed along the sides right next to bacon and sausage. This side dish is made of pork scraps and trimmings mixed with cornmeal, flour, and spices to create a loaf which is then thin sliced and pan-fried to create a tasty, filling dish that Pennsylvanians love. If you have the opportunity to try a slice with an over-easy egg, a side of pancakes and some orange juice, don’t pass it up.
Have you ever had a molasses cookie? That sweet, cinnamon-gingery spice in a soft and chewy cookie is only amplified in this Pennsylvania Dutch delight. The shoofly (yes, pronounced shoo-fly) pie is a molasses cake baked into a pie crust for easier eating. While most people think of pie as a dessert item, you should grab a slice and enjoy it with black coffee in the morning.
You might be curious why Pot Pie is on this list. If you are curious, it is only because you haven’t had a Lancaster pot pie. In most parts of the world, a pot pie is a flaky crust filled with a creamy chicken and vegetable center, but in Lancaster County, you’ll find something a bit different, something that will change pot pie forever. An Amish-style pot pie still has the warm, creamy chicken and vegetable filling, but instead of a flaky crust, you will find homemade noodles mixed in with your dish. Don’t knock it until you try it! Plus, with winter and cold season coming up, this may be the perfect dish to warm you up.
You may have heard of whoopie pies before and you may have tasted one at a bakery, but this Lancaster County treat is best in its hometown. The Amish and German communities in Lancaster County used to make these little cookies out of leftover cake batter and when children and farmers used to find them they would yell out “Whoopie!” You’ll find these little sandwich cookies all over the town, from bakeries to roadside stands and in homes all over.
Stick with me here when I say that when in Lancaster, you’ve got to try Hog Maw, more commonly known as pig stomach. It may not be the traditional protein you’re used to at home, but stuffed with potatoes, cabbage, onion, and browned pork, cooked and topped with melted butter, this dish is delicious for those willing to try it. This wintertime favorite is enjoyed on especially chilly days as the perfect warm-up comfort food and on New Year’s Day as a good luck dish.
Some people put jam on their toast, others spread butter, but in Lancaster County, toast is topped with the irresistible, creamy, sweet apple butter. While there is no actual butter included in apple butter, the name comes from the fact that the apple butter is so smooth and spreadable like room temperature butter. Spread it on pancakes, waffles, bread, or another Lancaster favorite: on top of cottage cheese. You’ll find jars of apple butter goodness all over and you’ll want to grab at least three: one for you to try, one for you to eat on the way home, and one to give to a friend if you don’t eat it on the way home too. Alright. Make it four jars. Five to be safe. If you are coming to Lancaster County, then stop on into one of our little bakeries for a whoopie pie, a diner for some pancakes with apple butter and a side of scrapple, or one of the traditional Amish restaurants to try our famous pot pies. After a couple of these dishes, you may even turn into a Lancaster County Foodie too.Ready to eat your way through Lancaster County?Book a stay at the Historic Smithton Inn, a charming & modern bed and breakfast in Ephrata, PA.