What Were People Really Eating at Coachella?

We talked to strangers to find out

The food at Coachella gets more ambitious every year. And, as someone whose job it is to document the exact ambitiousness of that food, I get a skewed perception of what a typical festival diet might be.

If my Coachella eating habits were indicative of the average, everyone would have had Ramen Hood’s cold smoky ramen for breakfast, a red-bunned, bacon-topped GD Bro Burger for brunch, some of Lasa’s kinilaw (aka Filipino ceviche) as an intermezzo, crab fries for first lunch, a banh mi-inspired Sumo Dog for second lunch, and then a four-course family style feast cooked by Kris Morningstar, Chris Oh, and Michael Hung for dinner, all washed down by a slice of Spicy Pie and an alcoholic snow cone for dessert.

Admittedly, all the food and drink sloshing around in your stomach on a hundred-degree day does limit dancing/fist-pumping mobility, not to mention that you risk missing music in the time it takes you to walk from food stall to food stall. Plus, there’s a certain kind of shameful foodie decadence in ditching a headlining act to go eat a bowl of Starry Kitchen’s garlic noodles.

To get an accurate sense of what people were eating during the festival—and to see whether or not the gourmet aspects trickled down to those without VIP tickets—we talked to a bunch of strangers standing near music.

After Kanye’s mic malfunctioned during his guest spot with ASAP Rocky, Taylor, a 24 year-old from Azusa, said her favorite food was, “Definitely the vegan bowl—I don’t know, it had beans or something in it. There was also cabbage and a really dope sauce.” Though she couldn’t recall the name at the time, we worked together to figure out that it was from Plant Food for People.

Afters Ice Cream—they’re good—Spicy Pie, Top Round Roast Beef is very essential. Oh and Free Range, I’m all about Free Range,” says a West Hollywood native who declined to be named and also couldn’t think of a clever pseudonym before Disclosure dropped into their set.

Patty, who left LCD Soundsystem early to seek out a silent disco, was impressed by Sumo Dog, though it was the only thing she had eaten that day. “It was a really good wiener,” she said. “Like, the toppings were really good, but that doesn’t matter unless it starts with a good, plump wiener.” (We see what you did there, Patty.)

Some, like Kayla, opted to save money by only eating at their campsite. “I got a big-ass thing of peanut butter and some crackers, so that’s like all I’ve been eating,” she said. “People say the pizza is good though. I might get that later.”

While listening to Sufjan Stevens from the beer garden, Riley from Newport Beach said she enjoyed the crab fries—a Coachella tradition from a stand labeled Crab Fries & Corn Dogs—though, “the crab to sauce ratio could have been a little higher.” Boyfriend Mark said the Thousand Island-dressed Coachella Burger from a stall that donned a Hamburgers & Fries sign was better than expected. “I thought it was going to be like a County Fair burger, but it was way better than that,” he said.

Julia and Monica—two Seattle natives who, along with myself, had just hopped a 10-foot fence while lost at 3:30 a.m. trying to make our way to the Uber Lounge—said they had only eaten pizza from Spicy Pie, but were excited to try more offerings the next day.

Bobby from Orange County said he had eaten “A lot of fucking popsicles” on account of the heat. Not a bad call, Bobby. Not a bad call at all.