LA’s Greatest Bites From Hot Chicken To Dodger Dogs And Every Tasty Morsel In-Between

In a city that’s as eclectic and ever-changing as Los Angeles, it’s hard to say that any one dish screams LA. We’re in California near the “salad bowl” of America, and indeed salads and fresh produce are big. (Hell, the Cobb was created here at the Brown Derby in the 1930s, and farmer’s markets aren’t just places to shop but community gatherings.) If you only knew LA through a Woody Allen lens, you’d think we all subsist on wheat grass and mashed yeast to this day (although tofu, kale and juice bars aren’t far off). With huge Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, South American, Filipino and Armenian populations, among many more, traditional foods from various countries almost taste like home. Narrowing it down to only 21 dishes one must eat to call yourself an Angeleno isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a start. Whether you were born here or you’re a recent transplant, you need to try all of these at least once.

Tsukemen at Tsujita
Ramen shops of every ilk continue to pop up around Los Angeles, and even Tsujita has more branches, including a new outpost at The Americana at Brand in Glendale. That doesn’t mean the lines have died down at the original on Sawtelle, at either the original corner location or the Annex. But this is not just another bowl. This was the first brand to bring tsukemen, or dipping ramen, to LA, and fans can’t get enough. The pork broth is complex and rich, far surpassing many in town, and dipping the springy noodles is the best way to enjoy it. ($14)

Soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung
When there were only two outposts of this xiao long bao juggernaut fans of juicy soup dumplings had to wait forever for a table. Now that there are big, beautiful new restaurants, including the latest in the Westfield mall in Arcadia, one at The American at Brand in Glendale, and the first Westside outlet coming soon to Westfield Century City, you… still have to wait for a table. But it’s always worth the wait for bamboo steam baskets full of the beautiful little packets (the best are pork), all handmade and pleated and twisted by cooks seen through a window at the front of the restaurant, are the star attraction. ($8.50)


By Lesley Balla