Street food is big in Los Angeles. And, as with most things, L.A. is setting street food trends. Here’s what to look for in neighbourhoods like Hollywood, Silver Lake, Koreatown, and the downtown Warehouse District.
Take-out windows are the new fast food outlet of Southern California. While some are stand-alone pocket shops designed to get around L.A.’s real estate crunch, others are offshoots of established restaurants.
In Westwood, you can’t miss neon-hued Tacos Tu Madre where burritos, tacos and bowls range from the traditional (al pastor and crispy shrimp) to the boundary pushing (pastrami and banh mi).
In Koreatown, lines snake around the 24-hour take-out window at California Donuts. Favourites include matcha green tea and panda doughnuts with Oreo ears.
In Chinatown’s Far East Plaza, LASA (the Tagalog word for taste) serves up Filipino fusion dishes like XO pancit (egg noodles with bagoong XO sauce, radish and scallions) from a lunchtime take-out window.
American regional food trucks
Food trucks may be old news in L.A., but the latest arrivals are bringing a twist and serving up American regional fare not easily come by in this Pan-Pacific region. Get lobster at Cousins Maine Lobster, which promises its crustaceans were caught fresh the day before. Find New York bagels at Yeastie Boys and southern soul food at Peaches’ Smokehouse & Southern Kitchen.
Tropical food stands
Ask a local where he got that fresh coconut he’s so casually sipping from and you’ll be pointed towards one of the many fruit carts that appear regularly at major intersections along Pico, Wilshire, and Sunset boulevards. Just look for the trademark rainbow umbrellas. Thank L.A.’s close proximity to the southern border for the fact that you can savour sliced jicama, watermelon, papaya or mango with chili and lime without getting on a plane.