Regional Food From Lancaster: Tell Me About Your Town

Every month, Amanda from Amanda Moments does a fun link up asking bloggers to share specific tid bits about their town/region. This is my first time participating but it’s been fun reading about different areas of the states throughout the past couple of months. 

This month the prompt was a favorite topic for most people: FOOD! So I’m here to talk to you about regional food from Lancaster, PA:


Photo courtesy of

My hometown of Lancaster, PA is known for its Pennsylvania Dutch culture. What is PA Dutch? Not people from Holland….

Pennsylvania Dutch refers to the heritage of German immigrants that made their way to PA in the late 17th century. Some of these PA Dutch immigrants were part of the plain sect Anabaptists who would become what we now know as the Amish. Other assimilated easily with the English and became part of the general community. Yet, PA Dutch culture remains extremely conservative and traditional, with a desire to reject too much change.  

Most of the food that Lancaster, PA is traditional PA Dutch recipes. These are recipes from the 18th century that have changed very little over the years. 

You’d think that with the abundance of fresh produce and meats from the fertile farmland of the Susquehanna Valley we’d have standard healthy and whole recipes. That is not that case. 

Here are a few of Lancaster’s famous PA Dutch foods:

Whoopie Pies


 Two small pieces of cake, made into a sandwich with a creamy center! Deliciousness! These were originated by German immigrants when they had leftover cake batter. Legend says that they got their name because every time farmers or kids would open their lunch pail to find these treats they’d yell out, “Whoopie!” 

PA Dutch Chicken Pot Pie


Lancaster’s version of Chicken Pot Pie is not like your grandmother’s pot pie (unless you’re from Lancaster of course!) This dish is a soup, made in a pot with chicken, veggies, and large flat egg noodles (pot pie noodles). There is no crust. I have no idea why it’s still called a pie…

ShooFly Pie

sho fly pie

 Shoofly pie is a molasses pie that gets its name due to the flies that were drawn to the sweet and sticky ingredients and needed to be “shooed” away. It’s very dense and not a favorite of mine at all. 

Chow Chow


Lancaster is known for its pickles, relishes, and other pickled items. Chow Chow is basically a mix of summer veggies, pickled and mixed together. 



 These fried donuts are such a big deal Lancaster has a whole day dedicated to them! Faschnaut Day is the day before lent, the time to clean out your pantry of all the extra lard, sugar, fat and butter. They aren’t as sweet as any other fried donut you’d have but they sure are popular on Faschnaut Day. You can order ahead at your grocery store and as a child I always looked forward to getting mine during school lunch. 


Pretzels Lancaster-PA

 My favorite salty snack! Lancaster is known for pretzels and many are made right here! Some of the more famous local brands are Hammonds, Sturgis, Martins. There are even pretzel tours you can go on and one local town’s mascot is a pretzel! I prefer mine covered in chocolate (preferably from local Hershey chocolate!) Pretzels not your thing? Utz chips are made locally as well.


 And of course we have Hershey’s chocolate made right here in Hershey, PA. The whole town smells like chocolate, it’s mouth-watering. 

 What food is your town known for? Check out the other bloggers linking up this week talking about their famous regional food! 

Amanda Moments
  • I LOVE ALL OF THESE!!! I love coming up to PA to visit my mom to get some whoopie pies, and my husband is obsessed with shoofly. Another thing I noticed up there is butter noodles! Which are delicious!

    • kwalshmac

      There are lots of good yummy fattening food in this area, but I think whoopie pies are the best! I prefer chocoate and peanut butter ones 🙂 I’d always bring them back to college with me and my friends would always look forward to my “amish” treats haha. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to say, “no, I’m not Amish”

  • Mmm I know it’s not technically a pie, but it sure sounds tasty!

    • kwalshmac

      Those noodles are very tasty!

  • This is fascinating! It all sounds good – except the shoofly pie, don’t think I’d like that either. Whoopie pies are sooo delicious! Stopping by from the link up!

    • kwalshmac

      Yes, the shoofly pie is just so sticky and dense but I could eat whoopie pies all day. Thanks for stopping by!

  • OK, all of this sounds good except the pickled stuff. That pot pie actually looks better than the fully covered ones! I want one!

    • kwalshmac

      The pot pie noodles are very good and enough carbs that you really don’t need the doughy cover! I’m not a fan of pickeled stuff, Ryan can eat red beet eggs all day long but ick to that. Give me all the sweets and salty pretzels though!

  • So many delicious looking foods! I loved hearing all about everyone’s regional foods. The donuts look so much like a local favorite of my town’s….jelly buns!

    • kwalshmac

      It’s been fun reading about all the different foods. Jelly buns sound much more fun, faschnauts are a little too plain for my taste!

  • hehehe, food is my favorite topic as well. 😀 I’ve never been to Lancaster, and didn’t know that whoopie pies were PA Dutch foods! I haven’t tried any of these other than pretzels! :O And of course, Hershey’s–I’m going to be right outside of Hershey for a rotation later on this year! :]

    • kwalshmac

      If you head out to any local groceries or food stands while in Hershey you’ll have to stop and get a local whoopie pie! I hope you like the area, it’s beautiful in the summer time.

  • I love Lancaster!!! I am from Greensburg (suburb of Pittsburgh) but we have driven out a few times to check it out. Whoopie pies are one of my favorites. Mmmmm. I miss seeing Pierogies on menus, or people even knowing what they are. Most people down here look at me like I am speaking another language when I say it is one of my favorite meals.

    • kwalshmac

      Ah yes, pierogies! Another good regionalish food. My brother went to Pitt, so I’ve been out to Pittsburgh a little bit, but not for years now. Fun city though! I love how diverse our nation is.

  • The Amish make the best desserts! I grew up in the Philly area and loved going to Reading Terminal to get their snacks – ugh I miss them!

    • kwalshmac

      They sure know how to bake! (and market their products!)