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12 Seemingly Foreign Foods That Were Actually Invented in America

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12 Seemingly Foreign Foods That Were Actually Invented in America

There are a lot of seemingly foreign foods that were actually invented in America, and you may be surprised by a few of them. Take, for example, the well-loved Häagen-Dazs. Certainly sounds exotic, but, it’s not. This premium and delicious frozen treat hails from Mr. and Mrs. Mattus of the Bronx, New York. Disappointed? Well, I’ve got news for you. There are a lot of “foreign” foods that you love that are far more local than you think.

1. Fortune Cookies

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    Where You Think It’s From: China

    Where It’s Actually From: California

    Although the fortune cookie’s inventor is under some dispute, it is known that the cookie recipe itself is based on a Japanese cracker called senbei. The fortune cookie was popularized in the early 20th century, but as Jennifer Lee noted in her New York Times article, “[T]here is one place where fortune cookies are conspicuously absent: China.”

    2. French Dip Sandwich

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      Where You Think It’s From: France

      Where It’s Actually From: California

      Thinly sliced roast beef on a French baguette dipped in mouth-watering a-jus hails from the good ole’ U S of A. Two Los Angeles restaurants claim the invention of this sandwich. One is Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet, and the other is Phillipe The Original. Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet contends that the sandwich was invented in 1908 while Phillipe The Original says the sandwich was invented by their chef, Phillipe Mathieu, in 1918.

      3. English Muffins

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        Where You Think It’s From: England

        Where It’s Actually From: New York

        Samuel Bath Thomas, of Thomas’ English Muffin fame, developed the English muffin in the late 1800s. The family had the name of Thomas incorporated in 1919, the year that Samuel died. The trademark muffin is now made by Bimbo Bakeries.

        4. Pasta Primavera

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          Where You Think It’s From: Italy

          Where It’s Actually From: New York

          There are no less than three people considered to have invented pasta primavera. The trio, Ms. Maccioni, Mr. Giobi, and Jean Vergnes, were all connected in some way to the owner of Le Cirque, Sirio Maccioni. In any case, the dish was introduced in the 70s and has been a favorite among pasta lovers ever since.

          5. General Tao’s Chicken

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            Where You Think It’s From: China

            Where It’s Actually From: New York

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            The sad fact is that most Chinese foods popular in the U.S. don’t originate from China. This sweet and spicy dish was introduced to Chinese restaurants sometime in the 70s. Cashew chicken, orange chicken and dozens of other beloved Chinese dishes are completely unknown to the Chinese themselves.

            6. German Chocolate

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              Where You Think It’s From: Germany

              Where It’s Actually From: New York

              German Chocolate was originally referred to as German’s chocolate, because the guy who first made the dark, rich chocolate was Samuel German. The chocolate was made in 1852 for the American Baker’s Chocolate Company. What about German Chocolate Cake, you ask? That recipe originated in Dallas, TX. The recipe originated in 1957 from a housewife named Mrs. Clay.

              7. Chimichanga

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                Where You Think It’s From: Mexico

                Where It’s Actually From: Arizona

                While it is widely argued over who actually did the inventing, the resulting chimichanga was a burrito accidentally dropped into a deep fryer, right here in America. There are at least three originating stories, one that we will likely never know. One story is that the fried burrito got its debut in 1937, while another says it wasn’t invented until 1957.

                8. Swiss Steak

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                  Where You Think It’s From: Switzerland

                  Where It’s Actually From: somewhere in the U.S.

                  The name derives from the method of tenderizing a tough piece of meat. It’s actual origin is unknown, besides the fact it can be traced to have started and been popularized by someone in the United States.

                  9. Cuban Sandwich

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                    Where You Think It’s From: Cuba

                    Where It’s Actually From: Florida

                    While similar to a sandwich found in Cuba, the Cuban Sandwich originated in Tampa, FL in 1880. In 2012, the sandwich was dubbed the “signature sandwich of Tampa.” It is believed that workers in area cigar factories were the first to invent the Cuban.

                    10. Vichyssoise

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                      Where You Think It’s From: France

                      Where It’s Actually From: New York City

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                      This creamy soup is said to have been invented by a French chef, Louis Diat, in 1917. In 1950, Diat was interviewed by the New Yorker and was quoted as saying, “In the summer of 1917, when I had been at the Ritz seven years, I reflected upon the potato and leek soup of my childhood which my mother and grandmother used to make. I recalled how during the summer my older brother and I used to cool it off by pouring in cold milk and how delicious it was. I resolved to make something of the sort for the patrons of the Ritz.”

                      11. Russian Dressing

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                        Where You Think It’s From: Russia

                        Where It’s Actually From: New Hampshire

                        The mayonnaise- and ketchup-based dressing was invented by James E. Colburn. The dressing was invented in 1912 and originally contained the Russian ingredient, caviar.

                        12. Doritos

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                          Where You Think It’s From: Mexico

                          Where It’s Actually From: Disneyland

                          Doritos were first introduced in the “Casa de Fritos” in the 1950s.  They are cut and fried from tortillas and use a Mexican spice for flavoring.

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