8 California Food Trends to Add to Your Grocery List This Spring and Summer

When people outside of California think of Californian cuisine, their minds may turn to avocado toast, sushi and fusion dishes. The Golden State has enjoyed a reputation as a gourmet health food leader. Additionally, the foods created by California chefs are known for their creativity.

Get a taste of California noms by taking inspiration from the latest 2019 culinary trends in the Golden State. From engaging foreign flavors and adding innovative twists on old favorites, mixing the ingredients for these hot new foodie delights makes diners dream of sand, sun and surf.

Mainland Poke
Mainland Poke Bowl

1. Going Gastro

Gastropubs are popping up everywhere these days, but what does this trend entail? The word “gastropub” comes from the English pub, or public gathering place, and gastronomy, the study of food.

Rather than embracing traditional bar snacks, gastropubs focus on producing quality food made from fresh, seasonal ingredients. To mimic this style, find out when produce items come into season, and experiment with recipes like fresh ricotta and radish crostini.

2. Souped Up Ramen

Most people think of ramen as nothing more than cheap, undergrad dorm-room fare. However, in Japan, chefs whip up gourmet versions of this staple, and like many Asian food trends, this one crossed the Pacific to the shores of Cali. Dishes such as garlicky shrimp ramen are fancy enough to pair with a lovely white wine.

3. Farm-to-Table

Farm-to-table restaurants create their culinary masterpieces using foods grown from one or several local farms directly. Because the food doesn’t pass through a grocery store middle man, the dishes taste like the ingredients were just picked from a backyard garden (and some farm-to-table restaurants really DO grow their own vegetable patches).

To get such freshness, make hitting the local farmers’ market as important as the weekly trip to the grocers. With spring in the air, vendors will soon have ample fresh veggies ripe from the ground or the vine. Those fortunate enough to live in an area with markets run by the Amish may find beef and other meats from animals raised in a truly cruelty-free way.

Persimmon at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market

4. Caveman Eats

The Paleo craze has swept across the nation, though many California restaurants embraced this diet before those in other areas. Paleo eating focuses on slashing carbohydrates, especially grains, in favor of fresh meat and low-glycemic vegetables. Those on such diets for weight loss or health reasons will adore snacks like chia seed pudding that offer creamy goodness without all the carbs.

Ombu Grill in Koreatown

5. Ayurvedic Dining

Ayurvedic eating focus upon consuming foods specially designed to work with a person’s dosha, or set of dominant personality and physical traits. The diet also has rules for how to eat. The idea is eating mindfully, slowing down to savor every bite. This improves digestion, and as an added bonus, teaches diners how to listen to their bodies to determine when they are full. As those who eat more quickly consume more calories overall, this diet may help in shedding those extra pounds.

6. Cannabis-Infused Noms

California led the way in legalizing medical cannabis use and more recently approved a measure making the herb legal for recreational purposes as well. This led many chefs to design dishes that incorporate the flavors and physiological effects of the plant. Many dishes serve up a bit of a kick, so dine with a sober friend or call an Uber for the ride home.

7. Luau-Style Bites

Similar to sushi, poke (pronounced po-keh), consists of raw fish like tuna marinated in spices and served in a bowl. Poke is traditionally served with a rice base and added vegetables along with the fish then covered in hot sauce. Those who have mastered the art of homemade sushi will find making homemade poke even easier, and the heat factor can be adjusted for taste.

8. Cuisine from Asia

Given CA’s location along the Pacific ocean means the state forms a natural landing place for Asian tourists, and they bring the tastes of home with them. Dishes like kimchi and galbi (ribs) highlight the menus of many Korean restaurants. Meat lovers will adore Korean barbecue, but those following vegetarian or vegan diets will find a wealth of menu items without meat or milk.

Enjoying Fun, New Flavors

California is well-known for its innovative flavors and swank restaurants. But you don’t even have to head to the restaurants to enjoy a taste of all that the third-largest state has to offer. By visiting farmers markets and ethnic markets, you can find ingredients to recreate fun dishes in the privacy of your own home. Dig in!


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