I've spent my fair share of time traveling, but two cities are unmatched: LA and NYC. If you've ever considered "living the dream," you've probably immediately thought of either. I mean, who hasn't? It's not difficult to realize that both cities offer more variety than you ever thought was possible, especially in the culinary sense.

But, despite their similarities, each city varies drastically in the lifestyle that they foster. NYC is thought to be more fast-paced, whereas LA is laid-back. So, I have to ask, does each city influence eating habits differently? I mean, as a tourist, I view food euphorically and largely base my choices on aesthetics and popularity. However, I imagine that residents eat with respect to their lifestyles, as these options are always available to them. So, is there a correlation between living in these cities and their residents' preferences for food?

Stereotypes of NYC and LA Residents

The east coast and the west coast have always battled for dominance. The high tensions between the two coasts are best reflected through the rivalry between NYC and LA. Residents of each city view their own as more dominant and influential than the other.

Additionally, they wrongly believe misconceptions regarding the food preferences of the residents in the opposing city. Jimmy Kimmel further develops this idea in his skit, the "Stereotypical Impression Contest". The skit revealed that, on one hand, New Yorkers generally believe that residents of LA eat only healthy foods, such as kale and avocados. On the other hand, LA residents believe that New Yorkers live solely off of pizza, coffee, and bagels. 

How Do These Stereotypes Compare to Reality?

The stereotypes are drastically different than the reality. Although each city is known for these food preferences, in actuality, it is a case of confirmation bias. This concept argues that people have a tendency to accept information that they want to be true, and when information that supports their claims are found, they will cease to look for any further evidence. Thus, if an LA resident believes that New Yorkers predominantly eat pizza, and they see a New Yorker eating pizza, they will likely believe that this is representative of all New Yorkers, and therefore, support the stereotype. 

Then, What Do They Eat?

Residents of NYC and LA eat according to their lifestyles, just as we all do. Yes, they do stereotypically eat the foods that characterize their cities, but their preferences for food are heavily influenced by their lifestyles. The fast-paced lifestyle of New York, and the more laid-back lifestyle of Los Angeles allow for different food preferences to be fostered.

The chef behind Egg Slut, Alvin Cailan, has experienced a significant switch in his dietary habits due to his recent move from LA to NYC. In his recent interview with Eater, Cailain expressed that he must eat the way he lives. Instead of sitting in traffic in LA, Cailan now walks and takes the Subway in NYC, which requires him to consumer more "power food" to fuel his energetic lifestyle. He now focuses on how to build energy from food, and noted that his newest restaurant, Paper Planes, will be influenced by his changing food preferences.

Can You Believe It?

Well, can you? There's definitely a correlation behind living in these cities and the food preferences that you acquire. Food preferences depend on a variety of factors, but location can be particularly influential.

So, if you were to be living the dream, where do you see yourself? I don't know about you, but I'll roll the dice. NYC or LA? You've got to be kidding me. You really cant go wrong with either.