There is not much I can actually claim to know anything about, but given my Southeast Asian heritage—and the fact that I spent the majority of my 20s traveling the backpacker circuit through that part of the world—I feel confident about my knowledge and familiarity with the cuisines of the region. So when Michelin-starred chef James Syhabout recently opened the second outpost of his Thai street-food eatery Hawker Fare in the Valencia Street corridor, we summoned a First World tuk-tuk (aka an Uber) to whisk us there, stat. No reason to keep nostalgia waiting.
SF-based Top Chef alum Preeti Mistry recently stepped away from her most recent post as the chef of Charlie's Cafe, Google's biggest restaurant and took some time to get herself to Mumbai. Though her mother grew up there, Mistry hasn't been back for 20 years, and found herself in the Juhu Beach area soaking up the street food snacks, readying herself to bring the ideas home and tweak them to suit San Francisco.
The street food scene has exploded in the last two years, with a new food truck being born every day. But just how far this trend can go? Is it sustainable? Are we witnessing gridlock? If there's one person who would have some thoughts on the matter, it's Matt Cohen, the 31-year old founder of the SF Cart Project and Off the Grid, the mobile street food market. We caught up with Cohen after listening to him speak on the future of food trucks at last week's Commonwealth Club event "SF Street Food Update."
The word is starting to trickle in that Parks & Rec have begun calling applicants who made a bid for an ongoing, permanent street food space in one of the 219 parks in San Francisco. Though nothing is final yet (applications still have to be approved by the commission and a public hearing will be held for each new addition), chances are good that come spring you'll be seeing Let's Be Frank carts near the Conservancy of Flowers in Golden Gate Park and at Justin Hermann Plaza.
Tickets for this coming weekend’s SF Food Wars sold out in one hour and 3 minute.
And that's not just because this month’s food war is called the “The Mini Cupcake Clash" and the 170 ticket-holders are the designated eaters. Last month, tickets for Mac and Cheese competition sold out in 20 hours.
And that’s not just because Mac and Cheese is the savory comfort food equivalent to the cup cake.
Food warfare is just plain fun -- whether it’s a high school cafeteria food fight with edible projectiles or an Iron Chef culinary show-down.
For the last many, many months (you know, when I wasn't eating burgers), I've been working tirelessly with La Cocina to organize the city's first ever San Francisco Street Food Festival. Now, with the big day less than 48 hours away I'm thrilled to be able to tell you all that we're ready. Bring on the pupusas, the barbequed oysters, the agua fresca the...well, here are my top seven picks for things you really, really shouldn't miss when you come and join me and fellow food-lovers at the festival (THIS Saturday, August 22, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Folsom Street between 25th and 26th).
A central tension is emerging as street food carts take to the city in droves. What, exactly, constitutes proper street food? Can you serve fancy food and pedigreed ingredients from a cart? Do people want frogs legs and bagna cauda from a mobile vendor? When is a cart actually a carte?
Now that street food mania has reached a fevered pitch, we thought it time to offer this comprehensive guide to the city’s best street eats—a map shows you where to find it, our Twitter-feed guide gives your the tools to track the vendors, our Flickr group allows you to upload your own pictures of street food, taken anywhere in the world and our Resource Guide gives all the hard-core street food enthusiasts some more ways to geek out. Plus, a guide to the best bars in the closest proximity to the best mobile food vendors.
Drink here: One of the city's best-loved wine bars, SOMA's Terroir specializes in unique and interesting organic vintages, served in a warm, rustic setting.
Eat this: For a perfect pairing with that glass of Côtes du Rhone, Chez Spencer's Spencer on the Go! truck offers French food—ranging from frogs legs to vol-au-vents—right across the street from Terroir. It's open Thursday-Saturday, 6 p.m. to close, and you can bring your food into Terroir (provided you're drinking wine).
Drink here: The hip hop-heavy nightclub 330 Ritch has a more sedate feel on Friday afternoons, when a live jazz combo plays and numerous $6 drink specials are on offer.
The Magic Curry Kart, the Sexy Soup Lady, Bike Basket Pies, the creme brulee guy, the French taco truck. Boccalone's Salumi Cycle is delivering sandwiches. The economy seems to be turning San Francisco into one big Twitter-fueled, "nonrestaurant" bake sale (with elements of Burning Man thrown in)—all under the guise of street food, "authentic" or not.