Food to try when you’re a student in Michigan

University of Michigan Ann Arbor Content 05

As a student in Michigan, you really should try the local cuisine. Food is a great way to experience the local culture whether you’re cooking something new in the kitchen, eating out with your new friends, or taking a trip to the supermarket with your roommate. Michigan has some delicious dishes worth trying as part of your experience of studying abroad in the US. Our SAF Alum who lived and studied in Michigan said these were their favorite local foods.

Coney Dogs

You don’t have to go far from the University of Michigan or Michigan State University campuses to buy a Coney dog. Leo’s Coney Island in East Lansing, just steps from Michigan State University, has Coney dogs on the menu, and Mark’s Mid-Town Coney Island is a short walk from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

While a Coney Dog suggests to some, New York City’s Coney Island, in Michigan a Coney dog is a Michigan thing. A Coney dog is a hot dog in a steamed bun topped with diced onions and covered in a deep-flavored chili Coney sauce. The famous sauce originated in Michigan when Greek immigrants opened diners and restaurants in the early 1900s and mixed Greek and American dishes. Since then, the sauce has become a local favorite on the menu at diners, drive-ins, and restaurants across the state.

Cherry Pie

Michigan is the top producer of tart cherries in the US thanks to the soil and temperature around Lake Michigan. In summer, you can pick fresh cherries straight from the tree at a farm or pick up a box from roadside stands. But the best way to taste the cherries any time of the year is in a pie.

Cherry pie is typically made with tart cherries mixed with sugar, baked with a lattice pie crust, and served with a pile of heavy cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If you have a kitchen, you could have a go at making it yourself. Or just pop into a local café or diner.

Detroit-Style Pizza

This pizza is different to the classic round pizza you might be more familiar with. A Detroit-style pizza is a rectangular pan pizza with a thick and crispy base and a thick layer of melted cheese on the top with a selection of toppings.

Gus and Anna Guerra created this twist on a classic pizza in 1946 at Buddy’s Rendezvous in Detroit when they experimented with their own version of a Sicilian-style pizza. Today, pizzerias across Michigan have the rectangular Detroit-style pizza on the menu, so head out for a slice or two with a friend and try it for yourself.