What Food is Los Angeles Best Known For?

Discover what makes LA cuisine so special! From tacos & French sauce sandwiches all through dim sum & Sichuan peppercorns - there’s something for everyone!

What Food is Los Angeles Best Known For?

Famous food locals love to eat in Los Angeles: hot dog with chili and cheese, pastrami sandwich, ice cream sandwich, French sauce sandwich, California roll, Cobb salad, California style pizza, toast with avocado. Let's be real for a second, these aren't delicate donuts, but they sure do look and taste good. These strawberry donuts, which attract people from all over California, were first created in 1974 to showcase local products and consist of fluffy, crunchy donuts filled with fresh strawberries that are then covered with homemade strawberry jelly. But be sure to plan ahead, as these delicacies are only available from February to September, making them almost as difficult to get as a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

It's no wonder it's up to the task when it comes to being one of the foods you should try in Los Angeles. When I was 11 years old, my parents asked me if I wanted a pool for the house or a trip to Fiji. I chose Fiji and since then I have made traveling as much as I can a priority. Nowhere else in the United States will you find the concentration and magnitude of ramen dishes like in Los Angeles.

West Los Angeles and the nearby Tsujita annex is largely due to the rapid transformation (although it's certainly not the first to offer hearty bowls of noodles and broth at Sawtelle). Their tsukemen bowls, full of thick noodles and full of pork, have become the new platonic ideal of what a great bowl of perfect ramen should be. First, there is the claim of Pasadena as the creator of the cheeseburger. According to legend, The Rite Spot restaurant put a piece of American cheese on a hamburger for the first time, which changed the way we think about hamburgers forever. If that wasn't enough, we have our own Southern California style, with thin strips of grilled meat, American cheese, a little Thousand Islands dressing, and plenty of lettuce.

You'll find the pinnacle of hamburger minimalism at places like Apple Pan, Pie N' Burger, and Capitol Burger on Pico. If you want more than just picking up a dozen glazed bottles before the office, the City of Los Angeles has Nickel Diner in the center, right? Nuts on 3rd Street, the iconic Randy's Donuts in Inglewood and the Donut Man in Glendora. Even better? Put Donut Man himself at the height of Jim Nakano's fresh, seasonal strawberry delights with any other donut in the United States. One bite and all of a sudden the lines of Dominique Ansel's cronuts look downright ridiculous. It's almost unfair how well Los Angeles handles French sauce.

We may not be the owners of the Italian sausage sandwich or the Philadelphia steak and cheese, but when it comes to bread, meat and juice, there's no better city. The idea of presenting fresh seafood accompanied by sticky rice doesn't belong in California, but we've done a great job popularizing this Japanese delicacy. Sushi rolls, although many purists avoid them, actually first became popular in the United States in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s, thanks to the burgeoning downtown of Little Tokyo that housed a restaurant known as Kawafuku. Since then, sushi of all kinds has spread relentlessly: at first it moves like the tides where you can find the freshest fish and finally it has moved inland to arid deserts such as Las Vegas and Phoenix. Mexican food is a big part of Los Angeles because it's so close to Mexico. You'll find a wide variety of Mexican dishes but tacos lead the way.

From fancy Mexican restaurants to food trucks and food stalls tacos are everywhere in Los Angeles. And if you're inspired and want to make your own grab a tortilla press some corn or wheat flour and your favorite taco fillings. Thai food has spread to many different parts of Los Angeles over time. Immigrant chefs have adapted dishes to the tastes of a new country and other young chefs have been devising new inventions such as second-generation Thai Americans. Everything is available from the most traditional dishes to the most recent inventions and not just in Koreatown.

Korean food is now part of conventional cuisine in Los Angeles and there's even some Korean-Mexican fusion that appears in more and more restaurants. From dim sum to Sichuan peppercorns there's just about any type of Chinese food you could want. Some regional cuisines represented in Los Angeles include Guangdong Jiangsu Shanghai Guangxi Beijing Taiwan Wuhan Shaanxi Yunnan Chongqing Hong Kong Sichuan Tianjin Hunan Xinjiang Shanxi Zhejiang Liaoning and Shenyang. McDonald's started in Los Angeles when the brothers came up with a way to sell as many hamburgers as quickly as possible (hence the “fast food”).

The megachain In-N-Out also began in Los Angeles in 1948 in the San Gabriel Valley. Some people say that French sauce was invented in a Chinatown restaurant called Philipe's to make a dish with stale rolls. Other people insist that the sandwich was created at Cole's (a former train station that is now a trendy restaurant) for a customer with dental problems. Donuts are an important part of California culture and particularly in Los Angeles.

Donuts arrived in California by Cambodian immigrants and the first store was opened in 1975 by Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy called Christy's Donuts. Ngoy helped hundreds of other Cambodian families run their own independent donut shops. Mexican food is also very popular in Los Angeles due to its proximity to Mexico. Tacos are one of its most popular dishes; they can be found everywhere from fancy Mexican restaurants to food trucks and stalls.

The French sauce sandwich is also known as meat sauce in American cuisine; it consists of a French roll on which roast beef is stored in very thin slices. In restaurants it is usually served with lettuce tomato onion pickles mayonnaise mustard ketchup or chili pepper sauce depending on personal preference. Los Angeles also has its own version of Chinese cuisine; some regional cuisines represented include Guangdong Jiangsu Shanghai Guangxi Beijing Taiwan Wuhan Shaanxi Yunnan Chongqing Hong Kong Sichuan Tianjin Hunan Xinjiang Shanxi Zhejiang Liaoning and Shenyang. McDonald's started out here when two brothers came up with an idea for selling hamburgers quickly (hence “fast food”). The megachain In-N-Out also began its journey here back in 1948 when it opened its doors in San Gabriel Valley. The story behind French sauce, one of LA’s most beloved dishes goes back centuries ago when it was invented either at Philipe’s Chinatown restaurant or Cole’s (a former train station turned trendy restaurant) for someone with dental problems who needed something soft enough for them to eat. Donuts are an integral part of LA culture; they were brought here by Cambodian immigrants back in 1975 when Ted Ngoy opened Christy’s Donuts which helped hundreds more Cambodian families open their own independent donut shops. Mexican food is also very popular here due to its proximity to Mexico; tacos are one such dish that can be found everywhere from fancy Mexican restaurants all the way down to food trucks and stalls. Thai food has also become increasingly popular over time; immigrant chefs have adapted traditional dishes for local tastes while young chefs have come up with their own inventions such as second-generation Thai Americans. Korean cuisine has become part of conventional cuisine here while Korean-Mexican fusion has been popping up more often lately too. Chinese cuisine is also widely available here; from dim sum all the way through Sichuan peppercorns there’s something for everyone!

Amanda Huerto
Amanda Huerto

Wannabe beeraholic. Hardcore beer trailblazer. Award-winning travel lover. Unapologetic internet fan. Lifelong pop culture lover. General twitteraholic.