If you’re going to be visiting Los Angeles, you’re in for a treat for your taste buds. This city is one of the world’s great cities for food. It is an incredibly diverse place where you can get your hands on literally anything you might be craving. We have immigrants from every corner of the globe in this city and they have brought with them their recipes and opened amazing eateries all over the city. We also have innovative chefs, gastropubs, fine dining establishments, and every kind of fusion restaurant imaginable. If you’re a foodie, landing in Los Angeles is like landing in food heaven. I highly recommend you save a large portion of your trip budget for trying out as many awesome places to eat as possible.
That being said, it’s not always cheap to explore all the amazing food this city has to offer. I know when I’m on vacation, there always comes a point where I realize just how many hundreds of dollars I’ve spent on dining out and I start to yearn for a deal. Not to worry! L.A. is not only a city of amazing food, but it’s also a city where amazing food can be found on the cheap. Millions of Angelinos flock to local budget eateries all over the city every day, and you can too! There is an unending variety of awesome places in this city where you can get a delicious meal for less than $10, but I’m going to focus on a few options for the traveler who is newly arrived in L.A., possibly for the first time. I also highly recommend you find the nearest local and ask for their opinion, because everybody knows a great “secret” spot in their neighborhood that is mind-blowingly delicious. I know I discover something amazing basically every time I go to L.A. to visit my family. Every. Single. Time.
That being said, if you’re unsure of where to start, here are a few suggestions:
If you’re from a region where Mexican food isn’t readily available or isn’t very good, you have to eat it while you’re in L.A. Honestly, even if you’re from an area that does have good Mexican food, you should still eat it while you’re in L.A. I’ve lived in Southern California my entire life (L.A., Orange County, and now San Diego- all places with amazing Mexican food) and I still eat it at least three times a week. Do I have specific recommendations on good places? Why, yes I do, and I would be happy to point you in the direction of a good spot if you ask me. Really, though, just look for a crowd and you’ll know it’s good. A good rule of thumb when picking Mexican food spots in So Cal is to look for a good, family owned taco shop. Skip the touristy places with a bunch of sombreros on the walls and instead look for a small place with plastic chairs, a long line, and somebody’s abuelita cooking in the back. Not only will the prices be better than the touristy places, but the food will be better, too.
I will never get tired of telling people from out of town about the awesomeness of In-N-Out Burger. In fact, I wrote an entire post about it where I go into exhaustive detail about how amazing it is, in case you missed that. You can find locations all over the city, and the prices are incredibly low, so you really have no reason not to go. Seriously, try it. Your taste buds will do a happy dance.
If you’ve never had Korean-Mexican fusion, you’re missing out on one of life’s great pleasures, and if you’ve never tried it, Kogi Taco Truck is an awesome place to start. I can’t say whether or not Kogi did it first, but they have certainly put Korean-Mexican fusion on the radars of foodies everywhere, and this little taco truck is an L.A. icon. You can check the schedule on their website to see where they will be. For $6 or less per meal, it’s one of this city’s best cheap thrills.
The L.A. Hot Dog:
Yes, the L.A. hot dog is a thing. And it’s different from a New York hot dog, or a Chicago hot dog. I’m sure you’ve heard of Pink’s, and it’s a good place to go. However, Pink’s isn’t the only place to try delicious, innovative hot dogs with flavors you can find only in L.A. In fact, I’m just going to give you a list of recommended places. Check out their menus and let the tasty toppings speak for themselves: Pink’s, Motordogs, Let’s Be Frank, The Infield Hot Dog Stand, Cupid’s Hot Dogs, Carney’s, and the Belcampo Meat Company.