16 foods you need to try if you visit the West Coast

Business InsiderAvocado toast is popular in California.
  • The West Coast offers a wide range of fresh ingredients and international cuisines to enjoy.
  • You’ll find a lot of regional, flavorful seafood dishes along this coast.
  • There are also many specialty offerings in the area, from reindeer sausage to Spam musubi.
  • Visit INSIDER.com for more stories.

Located in the US, the West Coast is home to plenty of sunny days, breathtaking views, and, of course, delicious food.

California is a haven for food on its own, but add in the delicacies from fellow West-Coast states like Washington, Hawaii, Alaska, and Oregon, and you have plenty of celebrated treats to try.

Here are some popular foods in the region that you may want to try if you find yourself on the West Coast.

Avocado toast is popular in parts of California.

jenifoto/iStockAvocado toast is a popular breakfast choice for many.

In an area where avocados are abundant and brunch is popular, this simple food can be found at most Californian restaurants and food trucks.

Give in to the trend and grab a piece, whether it be outfitted with an egg and other fancy toppings or a simple avocado spread with a dash of sea salt.

Typically eaten raw, geoduck is a native of the Pacific Northwest.

iStockGeoduck is a mollusk.

A large mollusk celebrated around the world, the geoduck (pronounced “gooey-duck”) is a clam that happens to be found off the coasts of Washington. Because of this, it can be enjoyed fresh along the Pacific Northwest’s coast.

California cuisine has undoubtedly been influenced by Mexican staples, like tacos and elote.

Flickr/joyosity/(C.C. by 2.0)Elote originated in Mexico.

In many parts of California, especially the southern areas, Mexican fare is quite popular because of the area’s diversity, proximity to Mexico, and access to certain ingredients.

For example, although it has roots in Mexico, elote is a tasty street food that’s popularly enjoyed in California.

Elote typically consists of corn on the cob that’s been grilled on high heat and loaded with delicious toppings. Most commonly, the corn is slathered in a mixture of mayonnaise, crema (similar to sour cream), and chilli powder, then topped with Cotija cheese.

And, with fresh, premium seafood readily available, it is no wonder why fish tacos are so popular on the West Coast. With flavours like fresh cabbage, lime, cilantro, and even avocado, these Mexican-inspired tacos are elevated to a whole other level.

While in Oregon, you’ll want to try some local Tillamook Cheese.

Tillamook CheeseThe cheese is produced in Oregon.

Many Oregonians are loyal to this brand of cheese, which has been being produced in Oregon for over a century. This historic company produces a lot of varieties of cheese, including Swiss and sharp cheddar.

While in Hawaii, try some refreshing shave ice.

iStockShave ice is known for being sweet.

Made from soft, fluffy bits of ice, shave ice is a sweet Hawaiian dessert that’s served cold. Shave ice is typically sweetened with syrups and topped with sweetened condensed milk.

While in Washington, enjoy some local Rainer cherries.

Flickr/Kimberly Vardeman/(C.C. by 2.0)Rainer cherries are typically a golden-orange colour.

These super-sweet, golden-yellow cherries are named after Mount Rainer, which is located in Washington state. They were also created in the state decades ago when researcher Harold Fogel crossed Bing and Van cherries.

Alaska’s western coast is the spot for reindeer sausage.

Flickr/Christopher Craig/(C.C. by 2.0)There are a lot of ways to cook reindeer sausage.

When travelling along the West Coast, make the journey to Alaska to enjoy smoky, gourmet sausage made from local reindeer. It can be purchased in stores or ordered from restaurants around the state.

Cioppino is a traditional fish stew from San Francisco.

iStockThe stew has a tomato base.

Originating in San Francisco, cioppino is an Italian-American “fisherman’s stew” made with a tomato base and lots of shellfish.

The dish is said to have roots in the 1800s when fishermen would create a soup base out of tomatoes, garlic, onions, herbs, and wine. Then, they would mix in any leftover seafood from the day’s catch.

Korean barbecue is a hit in Los Angeles.

iStockKorean barbecue is popular along the West Coast.

Korean barbecue is popular on the West Coast, particularly in Los Angeles. Across the city, there are hundreds of restaurants serving up Korean barbecue, but Koreatown is especially known for its delightful, meat-centric cuisine.

In Hawaii, enjoy poke bowls topped with cubed pieces of raw fish.

iStockA poke bowl is typically topped with seaweed.

Originally served with pieces of raw, Hawaiian reef fish, poke bowls are typically packed with rice, green onions, seaweed, and cubes of raw fish, commonly tuna.

Versions of this traditional Hawaiian dish can be found in many markets, convenience stores, and restaurants around the state.

Tri-tip steak is beloved Santa Maria, California.

iStockTri-tip steak is commonly cooked over an open fire.

The tri-tip cut of meat is commonly associated with Santa Maria, California, and it has been for decades.

When cooked over an open fire and flavored with dry seasonings, this cut of meat becomes the delicious, tender focal point of any meal.

The cruffin isn’t just a California staple.

iStockA cruffin is a croissant and muffin hybrid.

In a world of mixed-up, mashed-up meals, the cruffin holds its own. Although it is said to have originated in Australia, this hybrid croissant-muffin was popularised by Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in San Francisco, California, where people still line up out the door to try one.

This doughy treat is oftentimes filled with a variety of jams, curds, or mousses.

Marionberry pie is a sweet and tart dessert from the northern part of the West Coast.

Shutterstock/Anna HoychukThe pie is made using berries.

Made from Oregon’s marionberries, this northwestern dessert is best enjoyed in the West-Coast state where the tart, sweet, and earthy hybrid berries first grew.

Now, the pie is famous across the country, but it’s extra special when enjoyed in its locale.

Açai bowls are a treat during West-Coast summers.

iStockThese bowls are usually topped with fruit.

Californians have access to fresh, flavorful fruit year-round and they tend to take advantage of it with dishes like açai bowls.

These vibrant, colourful smoothie bowls are best consumed for breakfast or as a special treat. And, when ordered on the West Coast, you might be extra impressed at how local the bowl’s ingredients can be.

While in Hawaii, give Spam a chance and try some Spam musubi.

Wikimedia Commons/Janine from Mililani, Hawaii, United States /(C.C by 2.0)Spam musubi is loaded with rice.

Spam is short for “spiced ham” and it became popular in Hawaii during and after World War II when there was a large military presence in Hawaii.

During that time, Hawaii faced difficult war conditions and food rations were scarce. Because it didn’t need to be refrigerated, was available in surplus, and had a long shelf-life, Spam became a food staple for many people in Hawaii.

The canned meat is now a Hawaiian staple that’s prepared in a variety of ways, including spam musubi. Consisting of just a few ingredients – Spam, cooked rice, nori sheets, sugar, and soy sauce – this dish has been popular in Hawaii for decades.

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