1. Street tacos.
Whether it’s from a tiny street cart or the back of a taco truck, Californians cannot get enough of this street food in any shape or form. It also does not matter the time of day, whether it is a quick lunch or a late night snack after a long night out. Carnitas, fish, chicken or carne asada, you can smell the tacos long before you see them.
With a large Japanese population and abundant seafood available throughout the state, there is no shortage of authentic Japanese food, including sashimi. We go crazy for this thinly sliced raw fish that can include tuna, salmon, squid, shrimp, mackerel, sea urchin, octopus and yellowtail. For those Californians who feel a bit more adventurous, whale and puffer fish will do the trick.
3. Avocado toast.
Californians like a good brunch and that includes a healthy serving of avocado toast along with their scrambled eggs. Avocados are the state’s unofficial fruit and we are always looking for something new to spread it on.
With a sizeable Vietnamese population in the state, Californians cannot get enough of these steaming bowls of noodle soup. Add a squeeze of lime, some bean sprouts, and a few sprigs of basil and you are good to go.
5. Dim sum.
The often-chaotic atmosphere and fragrant dumplings feel like home. Everyone has their go-to favorites, whether it is the shrimp dumplings, the egg custard tarts or the taro cakes.
6. Trendy baked goods.
Whether it is cronuts (a croissant-donut hybrid) or artisanal donuts, there is no sugar high that we are not willing to embrace. We are ready to brave any bakery line that will promise lots of carbs and sugar waiting for us at the other side.
7. Fresh juices.
Californians like to get their daily dose of fruits and veggies in liquid form, whether it is a green drink with kale, spinach and apple or something simpler like a basic carrot juice. To keep our immune systems in fighting shape we make sure to add plenty of ginger.
This protein-packed grain has made a comeback for Californians, whether it is the base for a meal or cooked into baked goods. It is also appearing in our cereals, and energy bars and we cannot be happier. Rumor has it that farmers in California are trying to make it the next niche crop, so it looks like quinoa is here to stay in the Golden State.
9. Small batch ice cream.
Balsamic strawberry, salted caramel and honey lavender…we do not shy away from unusual ice cream flavors. It is not that we do not love the classic chocolate, vanilla and strawberry options, it is just that we like to be adventurous when it comes to this frozen treat (or any other food for that matter).
10. Grass-fed beef burgers.
Vegetarians are plentiful here in California, but there are also quite a few of us who like a good juicy burger. Of course being from California, we do not want any old beef burger, but one that is raised naturally without any hormones, and allowed to graze in wide open pastures. Call us crazy, but you can taste the difference.
This is one of Hawaii’s greatest gifts to the mainland since spam. There are poke joints up and down the coast serving up generous portions of this raw cubed fish that is marinated with sesame oil, soy sauce and green onions. Served on a bed of rice, this is the perfect blend of healthy fat and protein for us health-conscious Californians.
Featured image: Steven Depolo