Weird Food Pairings That Are Strangely Good

October  3, 2015

In this installment of Best of the Hotline, we're reminded of odd flavor combinations that somehow work.

We all have that one dish that's a curious combination of flavors. Often described as "weird but good," it's the one that makes all your friends grimace —until they try it. Be it salty and sweet, or something else that defies definition, it's a food that holds special meaning to our taste buds. 

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A while ago, drbabs asked the Hotline for fellow Food52ers' favorite "weird food combinations that are strangely good." Here at the office we love to talk about strange but good foods (like what should—and shouldn't—be eaten with peanut butter) and it seems like you do, too. From nostalgic childhood snacks to new discoveries, here are some of your most interesting food pairings: 

  • Adding crushed-up potato chips to sandwiches struck a chord with a number of Food52ers, with folks all agreeing that it was a delicious (if unexpected) condiment. Both sdebrango and SKK remembered adding them to bologna sandwiches on white bread.
  • Drbabs reminisced about a dish her mother used to make that called for a can of chopped spinach to be mixed with a can of cream of chicken soup. While she's tried to create it using "real" ingredients, she can't quite match that nostalgic flavor that the canned soup provides.
  • JenS and healthierkitchen both recalled ordering hot dogs with peanut butter.

  • Hilarybee's mother set out orange slices with black pepper on top, for a sweet and savory combination. 
  • Sabele suggested dipping cheddar cheese into a mug of hot chocolate. 
  • Danielle Oron promised that vanilla ice cream with date syrup, halva, and tahini paste tastes much better than it sounds. 

  • SexyLAMBCHOPx loved fries with brown gravy. 
  • Stalk My Kitchen remembered dipping Wendy's fries into a chocolate Frosty for a sweet-salty combination that resonated with a lot of responders.

What are your favorite weird food combinations? Tell us in the comments below! 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Jenna F.
    Jenna F.
  • Ive Paytuvi-Pieterick
    Ive Paytuvi-Pieterick
  • Jennifer M
    Jennifer M
  • Lizzie Skehan
    Lizzie Skehan
  • Toraaki Villalpando
    Toraaki Villalpando
Taylor Rondestvedt

Written by: Taylor Rondestvedt

Is never without a loaf of rye bread and currently stocks 5 different butters in her kitchen.


Jenna F. May 23, 2019
As a child I always loved to dip original pretzel crisps in plain apple sauce. It doesn’t seem that weird because sweet and salty, but most people don’t think to do it.
Ive P. December 12, 2017
Per my oldest kid. Cheez-it crackers with union dip.
Ive P. December 12, 2017
Red grapes with a drizzling of really good Olive oil and a dash or two of salt. Yumm with an Italian salami sandwich.
Jennifer M. December 12, 2017
Buttermilk and honey on oatmeal. Buttered toast dipped in hot chocolate.
Soft boiled eggs in torn up white bread.
Comfort food. Yummy
Lizzie S. December 12, 2017
Peanut butter and mustard, noodles and grape jelly, strawberry jelly on grilled cheese, tartar sauce on tater tots, fig jelly on pizza.
Toraaki V. December 12, 2017
Mashed potatoes with green grapes, lentils with banana, I used to make a sandwich with cheese, ham and strawberry jam.
ellen December 12, 2017
My mom used to make us radish sandwiches: white Sunbeam bread, tons of butter, lots of sliced radishes & salt. Much easier to eat if you just use 1 slice of bread & fold it over like a taco. Absolutely delicious! She'd also make this comfort/sick food for us where she'd take equal amounts of sunny side up eggs & mashed potatoes & mash them together w a fork w salt & pepper. So good! I still eat both of these very happily & people think I'm insane. Maybe it was an Iowa thing...
Hollis R. December 12, 2017
they both sound delish -- ESPECIALLY the radish sandwiches. i even have 6 different kinds of salt to choose from! i'm thinking of using Challah instead of white Sunbeab, though.
Blong December 12, 2017
Blueberries and liquorice......
Linda L. August 21, 2017
Don't remember where I saw this but it has always been a favorite. A can of green peas (drained), a can of LA CHOY chop suey vegetables (drained),, a can of cream of mushroom soup (not diluted), mixed together and heated until bubbly. Yum.
Nan R. August 20, 2017
Hershey's chocolate sauce on leftover cold spaghetti noodles. When I was a kid, I'd eat it (sitting in front of the fridge) before my parents woke up.
Connie J. August 19, 2017
Saltines crackers with cheddar cheese and sweet pickles
McDonald's French fries dipped in Sweet n' Sour sauce
Melted Parmesan cheese on hotdogs
Larry S. August 18, 2017
Buttered kernel corn with plain (no gravy) mashed potatoes.
Hollis R. August 18, 2017
Schmaltz, tomato, and onion on a firm bread, like rye. the schmaltz has to be spreadable, so right from the fridge, not room temp.
Kerstin W. August 18, 2017
Crispy bacon and Nutella!!!
Carolyn S. August 18, 2017
A friend drank pickle juice spritzers when she was pregnant...
Cottage cheese and applesauce mixed together, albeit not too weird, is delicious. As is mixing mayo and salsa as a dip for artichokes.
Linda L. August 18, 2017
I must be the weirdest one here since I've not see this mentioned. When I was a kid, my mom would cook fresh squash and onions (mashed). If there were leftovers, I would make mashed squash (cold) and mayo sandwiches. It was my most favorite thing. Haven't tried one again as an adult, but think I would still like it.
Sharleen T. August 18, 2017
buttermilk with angel food cake, my grandma loved it.
carla S. August 17, 2017
Rice and black beans with a banana. Doesn't sound like a weird combination in my country...
Toraaki V. August 21, 2017
I love my rice with banana, also lentils soup with banana. it's awesome. Where are you from? in Mexico is usuall too.
Chad S. August 17, 2017
These are all crazy! I feel like I must have been a depraved child...we only did thick slices of summer sausage with grape jelly on them.
Toraaki V. August 17, 2017
Mashed potatoes with white grapes.