Skip to content

Steaming ears of tender elote slathered with mayo, cotija cheese, lime juice, and a sprinkle of chile powder, glistening tacos leaking with meat juices and salsa, icy paletas with pieces of fresh fruit, revitalizing cups of tart, salted tejuino-- it is safe to say that Los Angeles has a few of the very best street food in the United States. It doesn't take too long while traveling the streets of Los Angeles to recognize this truth.

The confluence of the primarily Latino immigrants living here originating from their respective nations abundant in street food culture, integrated with the Do It Yourself work economy principles, and LA's distinct urban spread align with some of the freshest and most diverse street food offered. That being stated, it is not all flowers and gorging on tacos. The LA community has one major thing working against it: Street Food throughout Los Angeles County is unlawful.

That hard-working elotero who is constantly smiling no matter how hot it is? That frutero who has your back when you require some fruit in your system? That hotdog girl who is always there for you after drinking up a storm at a show? They're all technically thought about crooks in all of LA County. LA is just a major city in the US with no form of licenses for street vendors. While policy recently changed in the last couple of months to legalize them and no longer give them citations or be put in jail, their gear can still be confiscated at a minute's notification. However, this shouldn't stop you from taking pleasure in the fruits of street vendors' labor and supporting their business. Here is a list of the 8 most renowned street food dishes discovered in the city of angels.


The most iconic LA street food is also among the most gratifying. This easy veggie reward is prepared with salty fallen apart cotija cheese, creamy mayonnaise or crema Mexicana, a squeeze of tart Mexican lime, and capture of liquid margarine. This last active ingredient is proudly LA's touch because you would never see butter or any alternative in Mexico. LA's vendors adjusted this icon beautifully to the maze that is LA by relying on repurposed shopping carts from the supermarket to make it into a mobile reward. The ears of corn stay hot and good by means of a cooler with hot water. A variation of a standard elote is an esquite, which is when you slash off the corn and location it in a cup with the same components and a little bit of the skilled corn stock. Because of their signature jingle of their bells or their repetitive honks of a handheld horn, you will constantly understand when an elotero is near. It makes a light lunch, afternoon treat, or to stave off supper for a couple of hours. Ask for your elote to have salt, lime, and chile if looking for a vegan option or lighter version. It is just as scrumptious.


Lots of childhoods of Angelenos who were raised in the Eastern, Northeast, Southern areas of town focus on consuming cup after cup of this Mexican version of shaved ice. It simply makes a hit under the unrelenting Southern California sun. Raspados start off with the brave suppliers who buy big 20-pound blocks of ice and carry it around in a homemade wooden cart together with a choice of syrups to flavor each cup.


This street food institution needs no explanation. Just a tip that tacos sold a stand in the street-- as entirely delicious as they may be-- are thought-about prohibited. Food trucks are technically on the street and not on the curb, so they have a license system, have policies in place, and are great to go. Also, a myth perpetuates the belief that taco stands are more scrumptious or more genuine than what is used in a taco truck, but this is not real. They are simply different, and we motivate you to support both kinds of services!


LA's tamaleros and tamaleras are there for you-- at bus stops, school corners, and filling station-- in the early hours of the early morning way before the sun is up. They feed their handcrafted tamales and champurrado to the many Mexicans and Central American immigrants who need to commute across town on public transit as early as 5 AM. Their tamales will have a filling of either chicken or pork in salsa verde, or in the mole, and one with sliced jalapeños and melted cheese. Whatever filling you are yearning, they will keep you going up until lunch.


Follow the alluring smell of fried dough, cinnamon, and sugar in the barrio to discover the closest churro supplier near you. While numerous churro suppliers in Koreatown and Mid-City prepare their churros in the house and sell them throughout the day near metro stops, there are still a couple who fry them fresh to order in a copper barrel if you look hard enough. Normally, these suppliers will likewise offer perfectly ripe fried plantains slathered with condensed sweetened milk and strawberry jam, a standard combination.


This extremely rejuvenating beverage is the epitome of how far local Mexican food has progressed in LA. It is a pre-hispanic fermented beverage that is typically connected with the state of Jalisco and made from boiling masa and piloncillo (unrefined Mexican-style brown sugar). It is left to ferment for as long as 2 weeks and after that, finished with a dumb amount of fresh lime juice and rock salt over the ice. It hits the spot after making a pig of on mariscos or just as a filling, healthy drink to hold you over up until the sun goes down.

Sliced Fruit

Why wouldn't there be a vendor who sold nothing but ripe, chilled, fresh fruit doused with lime, salt, and chile on virtually every other block in LA? After all, California supplies the majority of the vegetables and fruits to the remainder of the US, and LA did produce the contemporary wave of raw veganism, so we need to represent.

Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs

There is no other food on this list that sings "LA street food!" more than bacon-wrapped hot dogs prepared on a flat pan under the midnight moon. While this meal's origins are believed to be a descendent of Sonora's famous dogo style of dressing up hotdogs, it is safe to state that LA canines have taken a life of their own in this city. For obvious factors, they taste heavenly after a night of drinking. A few carts tend to gather at the Style District if looking for them during the daytime. Because this is LA and you can do that, ask for an extra scoop of guacamole.