What Food Is California Known For?

California is known for many things, from the gorgeous weather and San Francisco Golden State bridge to the lovely beaches along the coastline of San Diego. 

But what food is California known for?

Whether you’re taking a trip to Northern California in the San Francisco Bay area or heading down south to Los Angeles for a wild night on the town, you will want to try one of these iconic foods.

Below, you will find the top 8 foods for which California cuisine is most well-known.

1. California-Style Pizza

Did you know New York and Chicago aren’t the only places with trademark pizzas? California has its own version, too.

So what’s the difference? For starters, California pizza crust is thin but not so thin that it’s crackerlike. It’s light and airy – just like the weather along the sandy shores.

However, the most significant difference is the toppings. Cali pizza doesn’t settle for traditional toppings. They branch out to different sauces, like barbecue and peanut sauce.

They also opt for quirkier ingredients, like pineapples, smoked salmon, asparagus, and other yummy items atop their pizza, creating a unique experience for pizza lovers across the globe.

2. California Burrito

If you’re headed to California, one thing you won’t want to pass up is the burrito – especially if you’re near the border (San Diego area).

So close to Mexico, it’s not surprising that California has its own style of burritos that will seriously take your taste buds to new heights.

This burrito consists of a plethora of fillings you won’t find elsewhere. Sure, it comes with typical favorites like carne asada, cheese, pico, and sour cream.

But what makes this burrito famous is the inclusion of french fries! It’s an all-in-one entree you will be more than happy with. 

Note: California burritos up north, such as in the San Francisco area, also include rice and beans. 

3. California Roll

Sushi-loving folks know and love the California roll. 

This type of roll is an inside-out roll (uramaki) that utilizes vinegared rice rather than nori for the exterior. On the inside, you will typically find a blend of cucumber, crab (real or imitation), and avocado.

Most people think the California roll is a great “starter” sushi as it isn’t too overwhelming in terms of flavor and has a delightful texture.

4. French Dip Sandwich

This one may come as a surprise, considering the country of France is listed, rather than California – or even the United States. 

But, surprisingly enough, the French dip sandwich does, in fact, come from California.

This divine sandwich is made using thinly sliced roast beef with mustard and horseradish on top. It’s served on a French roll/baguette, so it can easily be dipped into the accompanying juice or gravy.

There are many variations throughout California. Some areas use different meat, like roast pork or lamb. Others add Swiss or blue cheese, yellow peppers, and coleslaw to enhance the flavor.

5. Fish Tacos

Whether in Northern or Southern California, you can run into a shoreline. Which only means one thing: plenty of tacos.

In fact, when most people hear the words “San Francisco” or “Los Angeles,” one of the first things that come to mind is tacos.

Well, fish tacos are a staple of California cuisine. They’re typically made with white fish topped with shredded cabbage and a lush white sauce. 

Of course, everywhere serves their tacos differently, so you can expect to see variations along the way. You can also mix and match different toppings to enhance your taco-eating experience.

6. Cobb Salad

Cobb salad was born in Los Angeles during the 1930s, and it’s still one of the most refreshing and delicious salads you will find in all of California.

These salads are loaded with ingredients, making them actual entrees rather than an appetizer.

Inside this vibrant salad, you will find lettuce, eggs (hard-boiled), chicken, avocado, bacon, tomatoes, and cheese. 

The ingredients are covered with a lovely homemade salad dressing consisting of olive oil, red vinegar, lemon juice, and a few other yummy components.

7. Avocado Toast

While this is one of the newer food items out there, it’s no secret that it is a staple of California.

Avocado toast can be made using any kind of bread, but most people use sourdough bread as it’s strong and hardy enough to take on a bundle of toppings.

Regardless, the bread is toasted and slathered with mashed avocados.

There are endless flavor possibilities when it comes to avocado toast. Some prefer to go with goat cheese and tomatoes, while others want to keep it simple with a sprinkle of olive oil and garlic.

8. In-N-Out Burger

There are a few different fast food joints that began in California, but the one that stands out the most in terms of exclusivity, uniqueness, and flavor, is none other than In-N-Out.

This great spot can be found from San Francisco to Los Angeles and everywhere in between. In fact, for the longest time, California was the only place you could get your hands on this restaurant.

The menu is super simple, but that’s why people love it!

Order the burger or fries and go “animal style” for a flavor that will explode in your mouth. Don’t forget to wash it with a chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry shake.


What Food and Drink is California Known For?

We already discovered what food California is known for, so let’s take a peek at some drinks.

There are many, including the Gin Martini, Date Shake, and Pinot Noir. The Shirley Temple and Tequila Sunrise are also quite famous.

What Foods Originated in California?

Some foods originating in California include the French dip sandwich, Oyster cocktail, hot fudge sundae, chili burger, and orange Julius.

What Food is LA Famous For?

If you’re looking at Los Angeles in particular, some of the famous foods include Birria tacos, ice cream sandwiches, and strawberry donuts.

What Food Is San Francisco Famous For?

San Francisco is known for many foods, too, including Dungeness crab, cioppino, and chicken tetrazzini.

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