I live in the famous PA Dutch Country, and have a good overall knowledge of PA Dutch-style cooking offered in PA Restaurants. The term captures everyone's attention, but many travelers are not really sure what PA Dutch Cooking really is.
Everyone has different likes and dislikes; making it very helpful to know what you will be swallowing before you do! If you are a Gourmet, or into spices, high flavors, and rich, decadent types of things, you will want to avoid PA Dutch-type Restaurants, for the most part. Primarily, what PA Dutch Cooking is,is Bland in the extreme, and overcooked in the extreme. In general, you will find little use of salt, pepper, or spices. Secondarily, you can expect to find alot of sugar and vinegar ( referred to as 'Sweet and Sour' ) used in preserved vegetables, relishes, potato salads, macaroni salads, and that sort of thing. Baked Goods are also very basic, and tend toward the bland side; oversweetening so that the taste of sugar is emphasized above all else. You will find nothing rich, buttery, flaky or decadent here! A good wet-bottom Shoo-Fly Pie is worth a try, because it is unique. You must give it a try if you are visting the area.
Beware of the 'PA Dutch Smorgasbord' kind of places unless you honestly do not mind prepared foods which are bland, overcooked, and over-vinegared/sugared; and baked goods and desserts which are bland and excessively over-sweetened with sugar.
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