Los Angeles has a long history of street vendors offering a plethora of scrumptious dishes for those too busy to sit down at a restaurant to enjoy a leisurely meal. It was not until 2018 that LA actually legalized street food vendors so they could openly set up shop and widen their market.
The street food industry offers fare as diverse as the city itself and you can munch on some churros and then grab an order of fried rice or teriyaki kababs. Whatever you are craving whether sweet or savory, you will find it with one of the many street vendors throughout Los Angeles.
So, where do you actually find the best street food in Los Angeles? Keep reading to find some of the best vendors and the best places within LA to find even more. You may never want to step foot inside a restaurant again after sampling the dishes offered by many of the street food merchants. But while you decide what to eat, don't wander from vendor to vendor with your bags in tow. Book your bag into a Los Angeles luggage storage facility and free up your hands to hold your food instead.
The Best Street Food Vendors in Los Angeles
Working your way through the best places to shop in LA? As you make your way through the streets of Los Angeles, you cannot help but see several street food vendors. The delicious smells that waft from their carts and trucks will leave your mouth watering and your tummy grumbling. But, how do you know which vendor is the best?
Check out the suggestions below; each one offers scrumptious eats at modest prices. If you have your kids with you, there is something even your pickiest eater will want to try. Find the best street food vendors in Los Angeles here.
- Address: 2338 Workman Street, Lincoln Heights
Also known as Timoteo Flor De Nopal, the Corn Man is as iconic as Hollywood Boulevard. Look for him and his pushcart in Lincoln Heights from 11:00 p.m. until around 1:00 a.m. every night. You will know you found him by the line of customers waiting patiently for one of his creations.
The Corn Man has been around for over 30 years and provides some of the best Mexican food in Los Angeles, especially his elote, yellow corn on the cob that is steamed and covered in mayo, margarine, lime, chili powder, and crumbled cheese.
- Address: 350 E. 1st Street, Little Tokyo
For those not familiar with Japanese cuisine, Takoyaki is a fried dumpling stuffed with octopus and drizzled with various toppings and sauces such as dried seaweed and bonito flakes. It is a favorite snack among the Japanese and has become a popular treat when you visit Little Tokyo.
Hot Motha Clucker
- Address: 4625 Woodman Avenue, Sherman Oaks
You do not want to miss the cayenne sprinkled fried chicken, which is very similar to the iconic Nashville Hot chicken that has swept the nation. Look for Hot Motha Clucker in front of a car wash in the Valley from 7:00 p.m. until midnight.
Order the spicy chicken with a side of French fries, slaw, toast, and pickles. A drizzle of honey will help put out the fire if you are not super fond of spicy food. A slice of cheese can also be added if you like.
- Address: 2422 W. Temple Street, Historic Filipinotown
For just a dollar you can get a grilled skewer filled with delicious barbecue when you head to historic Filipinotown. Dollar Hits is based on the isaw stalls in the Philippines offering simple but delicious food, probably the best Filipino food in Los Angeles.
Fill your plate with isaw or pork intestines, kwek-kwek or fried quail eggs, adidas or chicken feet, balunbalunan or gizzards, tenga or pork ears, atay or chicken liver, hot dogs, and fish balls. Once you have picked your skewers, you then roast them over the grill, grab some dipping sauces and enjoy a delicious feast that you cooked yourself. People love this experience and come back time and again.
- Address: 3040 E. Olympic Boulevard, Boyle Heights
One of the most famous food trucks in LA is Mariscos Jalisco, serving the best authentic Mexican cuisine of any food truck in the city. The fried shrimp taco is one of the best things you will ever eat; it is a crisp shell filled with minced shrimp, salsa, and avocado. You will want to order more than just one.
Mae Ting’s Coconut Cakes
- Address: 1200 N. Main Street, Chinatown
Visiting street food vendors in Chinatown is truly an experience you do not want to miss. The street food scene here is mind-boggling and you can find pretty much any treat as you stroll through Chinatown.
Located just outside Chinatown in front of a supermarket, Mae Ting is a small tin-roofed food stall set up during the weekends only. Order barbecue pork skewers or pounded papaya salad and don’t forget to order one or two of the coconut cakes, the signature dish of Mae Ting’s.
There are several locations for Bartz BBQ throughout Los Angeles, you can check out their locations online. Los Angeles pitmasters have honed their skills and can easily rival any Texan pitmaster for mouth-watering, finger-licking good smoked brisket.
Southern California is home to one of the best barbecue street food vendors around. Usually found in the greater South Bay area, Bartz offers amazing smoked meats and a wide selection of side dishes such as barbecued beans, mac and cheese, apple coleslaw, and jalapeno creamed corn.
Me + Crepe
- Address: 89 E. Green St., Pasadena
When you are on the go and looking for a filling, yet interesting breakfast, look no further than Me + Crepe. It is one of only a handful of places in Los Angeles you can get Jian Bing, a popular Chinese breakfast street food.
The Jian Bing is a crepe covered with toppings such as sweet and salty bean sauce, pickled mustard eggs, green onions, red chili oil, and dried pork floss. Add a couple of boiled eggs marinated in a special soy sauce for a delicious meal.
Myungrang Hot Dog
- Address: 450 S. Western Ave., Koreatown
Located in the California Market complex in Koreatown, Myungrang is one of the best Korean street foods in Los Angeles. You do not want to miss the opportunity to try one of these rather unique but totally tasty treats that are big enough to be a meal.
The corn dogs are colossal, stuffed with mozzarella and sausage and then deep-fried. Be sure to order it with the right condiments such as mustard cheese, sweet chili sauce, sugar, honey butter, or cheese powder. Order one of their special rice cakes to complete your treat.
- Address: 12514 Burbank Blvd., Valley Village
You can find Hummus Yummy in a strip mall in the San Fernando Valley where you can get authentic handmade Israeli-style hummus served with fluffy, thick pita that is brought in from an Israeli bakery, green olives, and pickles.
You can get several different toppings on your bowl of hummus or even a combination including fava beans, stewed chickpeas, sauteed mushrooms, boiled eggs, or shakshouka sauce, a spicy or peppery Israeli sauce.
Where to Find the Best Los Angeles Street Food Spots
While there are street food vendors scattered throughout Los Angeles, there are certain areas that seem to have a higher concentration of delicious street food. Your nose should lead you right to these particular spots but if you are not sure where to look, check out these best Los Angeles street food spots.
This bustling neighborhood easily rivals Chinatown in terms of shops, festivals, restaurants, and monuments. It is also becoming a very trendy spot to find the best street food in Los Angeles including Korean BBQ, banchan, kimchee, and bibimbap.
Koreatown gets very crowded and many of the restaurants have long waits. Rather than wait for a table, hit the streets and find a vendor that has just as tasty food. You can even go from vendor to vendor and create your own scrumptious meal.
Best known for Grand Central Market, which is over 100 years old, Downtown LA’s street food scene is centered on this market and it is the best place to begin a delicious tour of some of the best street food in Los Angeles.
Dozens of different vendors offer every type of food imaginable from savory to sweet and everything in between. Many of these Downtown LA street food vendors use locally sourced ingredients ensuring their dishes are fresh. Tip: while you're downtown, you should definitely check out the fun things to do at night in LA, too!
Guatemalan Street Market
Centered at the intersection of 6th and Bonnie Brae Streets, this nightly market is vibrant, exciting, and filled with fantastic tastes and smells. This is possibly the best Central American street food in Los Angeles. The collection of vendors is mind-boggling.
During the weekend, it is a veritable party where live music, pop-up shops, and delicious food are abundant. The party can last all night long under rainbow canopies from the various vendors. The garnaches are delicious; these small fried corn tortillas are topped with chicken or beef with tomato sauce and cheese.
Street Food Festivals in Los Angeles
Since street food became legalized in Los Angeles, street food festivals have become one of the best ways for vendors to introduce themselves to the locals. There is almost always a street food festival happening somewhere in southern California.
Held every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Smorgasburg has free admission. Check out the beer garden and then start making your way through the vendors sampling scrumptious food from around the world.
This is the biggest weekly street food festival in the United States with over 100 vendors and 50,000 visitors. It is a great way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon, sampling wonderful food and listening to up-and-coming artists.
Street Food Cinema
This rather unique experience was started in 2012 and has evolved into more than just a community outdoor movie. It is an absolute experience of fantastic pop culture movies, live music, and delicious street food.
There are three locations for Street Food Cinemas including North Spring St., Los Angeles, E. Colorado St., Glendale, and W. Huntington Dr., Arcadia. You will want to keep coming back for a great evening of music, movies, and street food.
Street Food Fights at Border Grill Downtown LA
Street Food Fights sounds like the ideal way to spend an exciting evening in Los Angeles. Border Grill Downtown LA on South Figueroa Street has set up fantastic battles between street food vendors throughout LA.
Watch as vendors showcase their skills and battle for bragging rights. Many of the vendors offer samples of their dishes once their battle is completed so you can sample several great dishes all in one convenient location.
The Valley Food Truck Festival
While people have debated for years whether or not food trucks are really street food vendors, most places do categorize them as street food. The Valley Food Truck Festival is an amazing experience filled with food trucks of every shape and size.
Food trucks from up and down the coast converge on the San Fernando Valley for this unbelievable festival. Come sample food from around the globe and be amazed that some of the most delicious dishes you have ever had were made inside a food truck.
Listen to live music, kick back and eat until you are about to burst, and take part in games and activities hosted by the festival. Admission is free, but each food truck has a set menu and prices, and many even have daily specials that you absolutely have to try.
If you're looking for more free activities, check out our guide to the best free things to do in LA.
With the fantastic weather that Los Angeles has most of the time, it seems a shame to have to go into a restaurant and sit down for a meal. Instead, drop by one or more of the street food vendors that can be found at almost every corner.
Finding the best street food in Los Angeles can be a bit daunting, so check out some of the vendors listed for amazing food that's fresh, delicious, and quick. You can even take a trip around the world by visiting different street food vendors offering international cuisine.