Taking a Bite of the Annual L.A. Street Food Fest

Foodies convened at The Rose Bowl Saturday for the L.A. Street Food Fest to try the best street food that Los Angeles (and Baja California) has to offer. There were over 100 street food vendors, including gourmet food trucks, old school street carts and celebrity chef stands.

Eaters braved the blazing hot heat to gobble up samples showcasing a variety of cuisines and flavors. Keeping things (relatively) cool were all kinds of refreshments, like tequila sips, Singha beer, and cocktails crafted with L.A.-made spirits for the 21-and-over set, caffeinated options like Secret Squirrel's cold brews and Short Cake's iced coffee, and plenty of flavorful non-alcoholic choices, too. The "cool" factor was upped by the chance to picnic on the lawn of the under-renovation Rose Bowl, cool tunes by a DJ in the central court and JACK FM in one food section, a live artist making Street Food Fest-themed art, beautiful bouquets of fresh flowers at the tables, and a chance to eat to your fill and enjoy the summer day with your fellow Angelenos.

Having skipped the VIP sesh, we came in with the general crowds at around 5 p.m., and suffered few lines and, fortunately no shortages—we managed to stuff ourselves on all sorts of standard street food fare, like our favorite shrimp tacos from Mariscos Jalisco, to the "nouveau" generation, like Kogi BBQ's delicious taco. There were some brave and bold flavors, like cricket empanadas, cow brains, sea snail tostadas, and sweet and tangy pig ears, as well as all sorts of fun inventions, like Seoul Sausage's pork and kimchee fried ball. Sweet tooths found their salve in the Ice Cream Social section, with cool scoops, sandwiches, and even warm treats, like Mother Moo's always-lovely ice creams and sorbets, to a melt-in-your-mouth gluten-free churro and the beignet from Sweet Wheels.

Though we maxed out after just a couple of hours of steady chowing on small bites, the fest went on into the evening and past sundown, as the best of the fest were honored with awards bestowed by the judges and the crowd.

Here are the winners:
Best Original Showmanship... Fred Eric at Tiara Cafe (pork belly & sweet potato balls)
Best Old School Street Food... Mariscos Jalisco's Taco Dorado de Camaron
Best Nouveau Street Food... Seoul Sausage's fiery balls and Kogi BBQ
The Sweet Tooth... Sweet Wheel's pillowy light beignets
Best of the Chefs... Bryant Ng of The Spice Table and his incredible wings
Best in Show... Baja's "La Guerrerense" for her sea snail tostada
Judge's Honorable Mention... Baja's El Mazateño and his Taco de Camaron Enchilado
People's Choice Award.... The Dog Haus

We've got a visual sampling of some of what we tried, meshed with some tasty shots culled from the interwebs. Now pardon us while we work up our appetite for next year's event.

Here are the highlights from last year's fest.

LAist Associate Editor Emma Gallegos contributed to this post