The cuisine of California reflects its diverse culture. The culture of this region is influenced by many countries from all over the world; like European, Asian, and mainly Hispanic American cultures. Northern California is inspired by Mediterranean food and culture. The Asian influence is seen here as well. The central and coastal region has seafood culture from all over the world.
Fusion cuisine is popular in California. Local ingredients and fresh seasonal availability of the raw materials influence the menu of the restaurants here. It is found only in California. This region is known for its drive-in and drive-through. Food on the Wheels culture is also quite famous here. Keeping this in mind,
24 Best Street Foods You Must Try Out in California
1. Avocado toast
California’s own invention, the juicy green fruit turned into such a delicious topping for morning toast. Folks here can’t get enough of avocado. The fruit is mashed and seasoned with spices like salt, pepper, chili flakes and oregano to make it delicious, garnished with parsley. Some places have modified the recipe and even add radish and feta cheese to make it more delicious. Any café serves this delicious dish.
2. Chicken and waffles
No one loves fried chicken as the Californian folks do. This sweet and savoury meal is the favourite of all. The fried chicken wings which are deep fried and seasoned with paprika are served with waffles, topped with maple syrup and honey. The three-winged country boy chicken-and-waffle is famous from Roscoe’s House of chicken and waffles after the former President of the U.S.A. Obama visited the place, now it’s renamed as The Obama special.
3. Hangtown fry
This dish dates back to the Gold Rush era of America. It is an egg scramble, made with oysters, bacon and onions. Melted cheese is added to the dish as a topping. It is the taste of history.
4. Fried pizza
The pizza dough is fried with the most simple topping, mainly basil leaves, mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce. It is served right out of the wooden oven as a whole. The topping is Californian styled sometimes, which is mixed. Mainly, basil, mozzarella and sauce are definitely found in the pizza. Some restaurants even serve eggs as a topping.
5. Grilled Corn
One of the most celebrated street food in California. Boiled or grilled corn on the cob is brushed with butter, cheese, mayo, lemon or lime and seasoned with salt. Topped with spices such as paprika, pepper and topped with coriander.
6. Adobada tacos
These are one of a kind tacos. The tacos have a filling of pork cooked with cabbage, onion, and cheese along with a generous number of spices. Topped with coriander, parsley and basil. The specialty lies in the cooking of the taco. The taco shell is griddled in the spicy mixture and then filled with the pork filling and served with a slice of lime.
7. Crispy tacos
Nicknamed as “Gabacho tacos”, they are an American taco variety. The taco shell is deep-fried then filled with various fillings. Ground beef/ pork is cooked with an onion, tomatoes, cabbage. Topped by shredded lettuce and cheese, served with tomato sauce.
8. Fish taco
The most favourite seafood dish, the traditional tacos, are given a twist by filling the fish in. Fresh season catch is chosen by the customer to make the fish filling. Like red snapper, jumbo scallops, shrimps, soft-shelled crabs, etc. the fish is seasoned with spices and fried, then topped by cabbage, radish, onion, carrots and tomatoes with mayonnaise on it. Then garnished with chives, coriander, jalapenos, etc. filled into the tortilla and served with a lime slice.
A classic of the seafood dishes, cioppino is a fish stew. As the culture goes, the seasonal catching makes up the fish choice. Generally, a mix of squid, carb, mussels and white fish is seen. Sometimes, sardines, salmon are also seen as the topping. The chosen fish is put together with a tomato, wine-based sauce, potatoes, parsley, spices like salt, pepper, basil, and served with garlic bread toast or bread slices.
10. California roll
This is not exactly a roll, inspired by the Japanese sushi, this is sushi with avocado filling in it. The rice is rolled up with the filling of crab, avocado, cucumber. Sprinkled with roasted sesame. Sometimes the crab is substituted by a crab stick. It is also called California maki, which means makirzushi. The rolling out technique is called uramaki.
The Pacific oysters tend to be sweet and creamier. Therefore, the oysters here are a famous dish when it comes to seafood, a must-try. The oysters are naturally better tasting, and that makes it special.
12. Dungeness crab
San Francisco welcomes the Dungeness crab in the April season. This west coast dwelling crab offers sweetmeat. The crab is served on toast with a topping of rice, slices of avocado and sprinkled with spring onions.
13. Spot prawns
This is the most expensive food in the region. These beautiful prawns have sweet shells, they are brushed with butter, then served with corn, tomatoes, avocado. Spiced with paprika, salt and pepper, garnished with coriander, this prawn dish is the most wanted.
14. Carnitas Burrito
The burrito is also famous food with a lot of varieties in it. The filling of the burrito is of the customer’s choice, not to mention the seasonal fresh choices of ingredients are on the menu. The burrito is generally filled with rice, avocado, tomatoes, onion, lettuce or cabbage, coriander, parsley and lime juice. Other choices of fillings are chicken, pork and beef. But when these are the fillings, then rice is not there. Other ingredients remain the same though.
15. Carne Asada burrito
This burrito has chunky pico de gallo, fried beans, with tomatoes, topped with a generous amount of cheese, along with coriander. It is served with guacamole.
16. Cobb salad
It is made of lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, avocado, cheese and red wine vinegar. The variety of this salad serves chicken along with the other fillings. Sometimes there is bacon with blue cheese, avocado and vinegar.
17. Korean BBQ
The traditional Korean BBQ feast has a colourful presentation. This dish has seafood pancakes, gooey gochujang pork belly, and steamed buns.
One of the best authentic Chinese food is soup dumplings. Thinnest skin dumpling, filled with pork/ beef. Served in the authentic Chinese way.
19. French dip
It is an American classic. Thinly sliced roasted beef is piled inside the roll that is dipped in beef, from the meat roasting process. It is then filled in with a baguette like a long bread.
Steak is grilled and stuffed inside a French roll. It serves as a meal. It is topped with cheese and served with fries.
The double-double burger is famous in this region. This hefty burger is made up of two American beef patties, two slices of American cheese, a slice of tomato, crisp lettuce, onion rings, and dressed with spread. It tastes great along with the fries.
22. Fried chicken sandwich
The freshly deep-fried crispy chicken is cooked and layered with shredded lettuce, onion rings, tomato and cheese. The chicken is juicy and crispy, it tastes better with fries and Dijon sauce, mayonnaise sauce or tomato ketchup.
23. Lemonade ice pop
The vitamin C-rich citrus is turned into a healthy Popsicle. It is the best snack during summer. Limes are converted to lemonade and then turned to ice pop by freezing them.
24. Garlic ice-cream
California grows around 90% of the country’s garlic. This tangy, kind of spicy tasting is converted to ice cream, which tastes different but delicious. Those who try to experiment with their food must definitely try it.
These are the specialties of the region. Other street food includes tortillas, burritos, coffee, tea, etc. California has the most varied food culture. Mexican, Asian, even Eastern culture is seen in its food.