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LA for the foodie: 5 tours to tantalize your taste buds
Name a world cuisine you want to taste, and chances are you can find it in LA.
In a city of 4 million people, with nearly 50 percent of them Hispanic and 15 percent of Asian ancestry, international cuisine reigns supreme. It’s exactly this kind of diversity that makes the city a culinary paradise for food lovers. Want tacos that taste like you’ve been transported to Mexico City? Kimchi like you’d get it in Korea? From a visit to the local farmers’ market to a tour of the area’s ethnic enclaves, there are countless places to go and things to do in Los Angeles that’ll quell any craving you may have.
Farmers Market Food & History Tour
For a true sense of the Los Angeles food scene, join a guide from Melting Pot Tours for a visit to the historic Farmers Market. Established in 1934, the destination is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, boasting more than 100 gourmet grocers, ethnic eateries, and specialty shops. Stroll the stalls selling sun-kissed produce and aromatic herbs, hearing fascinating stories of the families who have been a part of this landmark since the very beginning. Along the way, find food that’s just as diverse as the community that shops here. Sample bites of Brazilian beef served hot off the grill, artisan ice cream made with seasonal fruit, and a platter of tiny street tacos built on age-old family recipes.
Small-Group Ethnic Neighborhoods Food Tour
Travel off the beaten tourist path for a visit to 3 of LA’s most exciting ethnic enclaves, where locals live as if they never left home. With a guide from Urban Adventures leading the way, this tour takes you through Koreatown, Little Armenia, and Thai Town, offering sweet and savory samples along the way. Begin in Koreatown, one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in LA County. As you walk the bustling streets, scope out traditional snack shops, vibrant markets, and popular Korean karaoke spots. Try tastes of authentic street food like juicy short ribs and house-made kimchi before hopping on a bus for a quick ride north. Here, in Little Armenia and Thai Town, indulge in even more of the treasures that the city has to offer, such as spit-cooked chicken, herbed lamb kabobs, fried shrimp balls, and pungent noodle soup.
Hollywood Sites & Bites Food Tour
While LA is home to an incredible array of international cuisine, the city can also stake claim to a few creations of its own. Embark on a tasty adventure through Tinseltown with TOURific Escapes—an outing that combines some of the city’s best bites with its best sites. In a comfortable van, cruise by iconic landmarks like the Chinese Theatre, the Chateau Marmont, and the luxury boutiques on Melrose Avenue. As you drive, gain insight into the area’s culinary culture and the popular recipes that were invented here. Learn of the unresolved origin story of the French dip sandwich, the Cobb salad created for ladies who lunch at the famous Brown Derby, and the pizza at Spago made California-style with house-cured smoked salmon. Throughout your sightseeing loop, make stops to tuck into some of the city’s most mouthwatering eats, from sandwiches and tacos to chocolate and ice cream.
East Los Angeles Food & Culture Tour
If there are 2 cuisines that have truly defined the culinary landscape of Los Angeles, they’re Mexican and Central American—and there’s no better place to find these delights than East LA. Join Melting Pot for a tour into the dynamic district, visiting some of the area’s most beloved eateries with generations of history behind their success. Your tour begins with a stop a family bakery for a cup of rich coffee and the fluffiest tres leches cake in the neighborhood. Next, pay a visit to the shop run by the city’s first tortilla factory to savor a spectrum of flavors from tangy salsa to bright guacamole. From here, a short train ride takes you to Mariachi Plaza for a scrumptious lunch of Salvadoran pupusa, a dish of thick corn tortilla stuffed with fillings such as cheese, pork, and refried beans. Cap off your day in a sweet way with an iced Mexican chocolate and a whimsical pan dulce pastry.
Street Eats Walking Tour
While there are plenty of places to eat and things to do in Los Angeles, the surrounding cities are also home to a plethora of dining options. Head west to Santa Monica to discover the seaside town’s selection of trendy eateries and quaint cafes. With a foodie from Santa Monica Bike Center leading the way, embark on a walking tour of the picturesque city, nibbling your way through the Main Street spots that are leaving their mark on the region. Much like Los Angeles, the area has an eclectic array of international influences, from Asian and Australian to South American and Caribbean. As you stroll the palm tree-line streets, dig into unforgettable creations such as savory meat pie, spicy jerk chicken, and omusubi rice balls. If time allows, enjoy a walk through the stalls of the farmers’ market, brimming with fresh flowers and colorful fruit.
Where are your favorite places to eat in the LA area?
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