What is San Diego's signature food?

San Diego is influenced heavily by American and Mexican cultures due to its position as a border town, its large Hispanic population, and its history as part of Spanish America and Mexico.

San Diego's warm, dry climate and access to the ocean have made it a center for fishing and for growing fruits and vegetables. San Diego benefits from an abundant supply of fresh seafood all year around. 

With the city's location on the U.S.-Mexico border, San Diego sits at the flavorful intersection of two delicious culinary styles: farm-fresh California cuisine (California is undeniably the largest agricultural producer in the country) and traditional Mexican cooking.


Mexican Influence

When I first landed in San Diego couple of years ago, I was shocked to see the number of Mexican restaurants everywhere. There is evidently an abundance of taco shops lining the streets of San Diego, making it the apparent food staple on this side of the border.

For many years and still today, San Diego is most associated with fish tacos which consist of traditionally battered fish fillets, deep fried and served in a fresh corn tortilla with white sauce, cabbage, & salsa.

Note: Did you know that San Diego County has a vibrant craft brewing community featuring more than 100 active local brewpubs and/or microbreweries. The city and county of San Diego are sometimes referred to as "America's craft beer capital".

Baja Med Cuisine

During these last few years, the term "Baja-Med" has slowly worked its way into the San Diego food culture.

Baja-Med is a fusion food from Tijuana and other places in Baja California, Mexico, that combines the typical Mexican cuisine ingredients like 'chicharrĂ³n' (pork rinds) and Cotija cheese, with Mediterranean ones like olive oil and even a little bit of Asian flavors that are added through soy sauce and lemongrass.

Example of Baja Med dishes

·         Tempura fish tacos
·         Deep sea shrimp served with fried marlin, baby farm tomatoes, scallions and a sauce made with local cheeses
·         Beet carpaccio with blue cheese and mint vinaigrette.
·         Duck skewered with licorice and sprinkled with guava dust
·         Risotto topped with salt-cured nopalitos (prickly pear cactus) and charred octopus
·         Slow-cooked short ribs bathed in a mission fig syrup on top of a black mole sauce


Cali-Baja cuisine is the name used to describe San Diego’s distinct food culture which unites the fresh, local ingredients that are hallmarks of California cooking with Mexico's Baja-Med cuisine. 

Cali-Baja has taken these two cuisines and blended them into something new and uniquely San Diegan.

San Diego's signature food

Believe it or not, San Diego's (Cali-Baja) signature food is still the fish taco but San Diego's chefs have transformed this delightful street food into food art by mixing and playing with flavors, fusions and refinement. We’re talking market fresh mahi-mahi on homemade soft tacos topped with locally grown ingredients, and without a doubt, an artisanally delicious crafted sauce.

This is what San Diego is about! 

If you are looking for the best spots to enjoy a real Cali-Baja fish taco, head over to Galaxy Taco, The Taco stand, El Pescador Fish Market, PuestoGeorge's At The Cove or South Beach Bar & Grille.


  1. I'm personally a big fan of lysianneaudetjones blog. Thanks for sharing this post.
    clipping path service


Post a Comment

Popular Posts