12 Popular Foods In California You Must Try

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Are you wondering what to eat in California during your first trip to the Golden State? Read on to know about the delicious and popular foods in California that you simply should not miss out having during your trip.

Avocados, tacos, pizza, burgers, sushis or salads. California food scenes are full of diversity and authentic delicacies. Being a cultural hub, the cities in California are best known for serving a rich blend of international flavours with Californian twists. One of the most visited states in the United States, California attracts many tourists for its unique attractions and beautiful beaches. In addition to these it is important to explore the unique culinary experiences that only the Golden State can offer.

Here are the most popular foods in California that are a must try and should definitely not be missed.

Popular Foods In California

1. California Rolls

California Rolls - Popular Foods In California
California Rolls – Popular Foods In California

California roll is a delicious variation to the traditional Japanese sushi with a twist. It is usually rolled inside-out, and containing avocado and cucumber with the rice on the outside. It also contains vegan imitation crab, king crab or a crab salad. It’s usually sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

The origin and creator of the California roll are disputed. Some say it’s from few different chefs in Los Angels and others believe it came from a famous Japanese chef in Vancouver. Irrespective of the origin, you can enjoy some amazing California rolls in San Francisco and San Jose which are home to two of the most famous Japan towns in the US.

For the fans of California rolls, a favourite destination is Shizen in San Francisco. It is heavenly for vegans and non vegans. It has a large menu with traditional California rolls and also exquisite, artistic rolls. Besides rolls, it also serves a wide variety of Japanese dishes. When waiting for a seat in Shizen, be sure to check the murals of the Mission district, especially those in Clarion alley.

Before heading to Shizen or Japan town for California rolls, check out the beautiful mosaic steps of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Park. The fresh air and exercise will build an appetite so you can enjoy the California rolls to your heart’s content.

By Jyoti from Story at Every Corner

2. Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder - Popular Foods In California
Clam Chowder – Popular Foods In California

San Francisco is a great city for foodies, and a visit to the city wouldn’t be complete without sampling some creamy clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl. A tasty bowl of chowder is the perfect treat on a foggy San Francisco day.

Clam chowder is a popular comfort food and can be found in many different San Francisco restaurants – several different spots claim to have the best clam chowder in town. The most famous spot in town to grab a bowl of chowder is Boudin’s Bakery – with locations at Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, this spot is a favorite among tourists. Another great spot for chowder is the Fog Harbor Fish House.

With a prime location at Pier 39, this spot is also quite touristy but also comes recommended by locals. You can’t beat the delicious chowder paired with gorgeous views of the bay.

By Sydney Richardson Of A World In Reach

3. In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger - Popular Foods In California
In-N-Out Burger – Popular Foods In California

Ask Californians what their favourite fast food burger is, and you will hear In-N-Out over and over again. Some even think it’s the best burger of any kind. In-N-Out Burger, now a California institution, first started serving burgers in the LA suburb of Baldwin Park in 1948. Now, with over 250 locations throughout the state, it’s one of the most popular foods in California.

In fact, In-N-Out is so popular, it has a cult-like following with a secret menu for those in the know (available on their website). Pass by anytime, and there will be a long line. Well-organized and fast moving, but always a wait. Why is In-N-Out still so popular after 70 years?

It’s the quality that counts most. Burgers are made to order, fries cut on site, and nothing is frozen, prepacked, or microwaved. They also have great service; they’re known for treating their employees well.

By Denise of Chef Denise

4. French Dip Sandwich

French Dip Sandwich - Popular Foods In California
French Dip Sandwich – Popular Foods In California

One of the best delicious foods to try in California is the French Dip sandwich from Los Angeles. The French Dip is served hot with thinly sliced roast beef on a french roll or baguette. Traditionally it is served plain, but many local restaurants will also add swiss onions, and a side of au jus dipping sauce. The sandwich is often garnished with a pickle on the side.

The most popular restaurants in Los Angeles for French Dip sandwiches are Philippe The Original and Cole’s French Dip, both of which claim to be the original creator of the French Dip. Despite these contradictory claims, the true origin of the city’s best sandwich remains a mystery.

Regardless of who came up with the idea, you will definitely want to get your hands on a hot French Dip sandwich during your next visit to Los Angeles.

By Eden of Rock a Little Travel

5. Cioppino

Cioppino - Popular Foods In California
Cioppino – Popular Foods In California

One of the most well loved San Francisco dishes to try in the city is the Cioppino dish which is done different ways around the city and most of Northern California. Originating with the fishermen who crabbed the Pacific coast area, local eateries would create a cioppino style like a stew of delicious dungeness crabs in an Italian base stew and ingredients along with some other shell fish and seafood to make the most delicious stew you’ve ever tasted. Add some garlic bread to this and dipping in the soup is pure heaven and a hearty meal on its own.

Dungeness has been established in big eateries of San Francisco at classic seafood restaurants like Scomas restaurant, Tadich Grill and Anchor Oyster bar. You will also find lots of seafood venues along Northern California to Monterrey boasting of the best Cioppino stew made and they are probably right, good for the area and the stomach. You will have to try a local Cioppino stew if you are visiting San Francisco and some of the favourite places to visit on the coastal areas of California.

By Noel Morata of Visit California and Beyond

6. Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Bread - Popular Foods In California
Sourdough Bread – Popular Foods In California

While you are in San Fransisco, you cannot miss out tasting the authentic locally produced Sourdough bread. It is perfectly baked, aromatic and have an ideal balance of softness and sourness. The Sourdough bread holds a significant history from the time of California Gold Rush. Its technique has come a long way and flourished in todays time making it a great side or starter that gets along with lots of Californian dishes served in the restaurants.

Boudin, the oldest bakery in San Francisco, is the perfect stop to try the traditional Sourdough bread, rich in flavour, moist and is flawlessly baked.

7. Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast - Popular Foods In California
Avocado Toast – Popular Foods In California

Fresh Avocados heartily topped on crunchy toasts are a speciality widely served in almost all the restaurants, cafes and bakeries in South California. There are many variations with flavours and toppings on the Avocado toasts, that elevate the tastes and make the simple toasts even more satisfying. This very healthy food in California is something that is quite filling at can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Nothing really beats the Avocado toasts in California.

Some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles to try some great avocado toasts are Echo Park’s Dinette and the Zinc Cafe.

8. Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos - Popular Foods In California
Fish Tacos – Popular Foods In California

Craving for more international flavours in California? Try the fish tacos. This Mexican inspired dish is a tortilla filled with fried or grilled fish, coriander, pepper, sour cream and some salad (including the Avocados). Fish Tacos are South California staple and could be find anywhere literally. You will find these tacos in a variety of flavours at different restaurants or food trucks.

9. California Pizza

California Pizza - Popular Foods In California
California Pizza – Popular Foods In California

Pizzas are considered to be comfort foods. When in California, you have to try the California style Pizza. It’s a thin crust pizza topped with ingredients such as fresh avocados, goat cheese, peanut sauce, chicken, artichokes and asparagus. There are a range of vegan and vegetarian options too available in California style pizza.

Some of the go to places to enjoy the California style pizzas are California Pizza Kitchen, Spago, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana and Chez Panisse.

10. Korean Food

Korean Food - Popular Foods In California
Korean Food – Popular Foods In California

If you are looking for the perfect, unique cuisine to get in California, then make sure to tuck into some delicious Korean food in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles. This diverse neighbourhood located in a small area about two miles west of downtown LA is known for its large Korean population and fantastic restaurants and it’s a great place to visit if you want to experience the flavours of Seoul without leaving central Los Angeles.

Koreatown can be unassuming, however, it’s filled with several incredible eateries. There are countless delicious restaurants where you can sample fantastic, authentically flavoured dishes like Bibimbap, tofu soup, Korean-style barbecue and much more. Don’t be put off by the seemingly endless stretch of strip malls — here are where the true hidden gems of LA’s culinary scene lie.

So if you are interested in sampling a unique part of LA’s food culture beyond the taco trucks, make sure to head to Koreatown in Central Los Angeles.

By Maggie Turansky Of No Frills Kitchen

11. Fresh Tuna

Ahi Tuna Poke - Popular Foods In California
Ahi Tuna Poke – Popular Foods In California

If you’ve ever spent a few days in San Francisco, you will know that this is a city that knows how to do seafood right. From the freshest crab at Hog Island Oyster Company to the most succulent salmon from Fog Harbor Fish House, San Franciscans know their way around the delicacies of the ocean.

Despite what some people might say, Pier 39 (home to the cutest group of seals in the city) is actually home to some great seafood choices. Although a little expensive, Fog Harbor sells some delightful tuna. Their Ahi Tuna Poke is a wonderful combination of fresh tuna, avocado, mango, and wasabi; the flavours go together perfectly. The restaurant also claims to sell the best clam chowder in the city!

By Alice of Adventures of Alice

12. Piroshki

Piroshki - Popular Foods In California
Piroshki – Popular Foods In California

If you are looking for a truly unique food to try, then you know that going to a food court that specializes in international food is sure to fit the bill. While there are SO many delicious foods to try in Germany, a surprising food that only “Germans from Russia” know is the Krautstrudel. Also known as a Bierrock, Runza, or in the case of the “International Food Court” in San Francisco at the Pushkin stand, it’s known as the Piroshki.

So what is this unique food? It’s a delicious homemade bread roll that is stuffed with a meat and sauerkraut mixture as the filling. While this doesn’t sound anything fancier than a “meat pocket” it is shocking just how delicious and comforting this little hand held meal is.

At this particular food stand though, they take the typical classic Piroshki and put a few spins on it, like having an apple filled Piroshki or a chicken and mozzarella filled Piroshki.
Whether you enjoy the classic or a spin off variety, it is truly a unique (and delicious) food that you have to try!

By LeAnna Brown of Wander In Germany

How many of these foods in California have you tried? Have you found your favourite foods in California that we might have missed? Share your favourite California Foods in the comment section below.

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