Los Angeles is truly a melting pot when it comes to food. With strong Latin American and Asian influences, as well as its own signature specialties, the city offers a delicious smorgasbord of accessible eats in addition to buzzy celebrity hangouts and fine-dining restaurants. Here are some dishes you won’t want to miss.
Thanks to Mexico’s strong influence on the Southern California food scene, authentic tacos, freshly made tortilla chips with salsa, and agua frescas have become staple foods throughout L.A.. Also popular are some South American dishes, like pupusas, thick cornmeal flatbreads stuffed with cheese, chicharron (fried pig skin), or refried beans. Food joints in neighborhoods like East L.A. and Boyle Heights also serve up tamales, tres leches cake, goat stew, and more.
Los Angeles is also home to large groups of Asian-Americans who have made foods like Korean barbecue and galbi jjim —a bowl of braised short ribs—local staples. You can also find lots of Vietnamese street food, especially, banh mi sandwiches, which are traditionally filled with meat, such as pork sausage, cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, and cilantro and topped with jalapeno slices.
But not all foods in L.A are borrowed from somewhere else; the French dip sandwich was born right here in downtown L.A.. It is made with roast beef and cheese and served on a French roll, which you dip in beef juices. When you order ask for a “single dip,” “double dip,” or “wet.”
- Visit the Los Angeles Farmers Market (a.k.a. the Original Farmers Market) and browse the food stalls selling fresh produce and goodies.
- Order a French dip sandwich at Philippe the Original and grab a seat at the communal table.
- Head to L.A.’s popular fast food joint In-N-Out and ask for your burger and fries “animal style” with melted cheese, grilled onions, and Thousand Island sauce.
- Travel to Malibu to visit boutique wineries in the Santa Monica Mountains.
- Get the signature dish at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.