À LA CART
San Francisco's Best Street Food
Bay Area foodies are sidling up to trucks, carts, and tables serving everything from authentic Neapolitan pizza to dark-chocolate creme brulee.
Note: The location of these trucks and carts varies from day to day. We've listed where you are most likely to spot the delicious grub, but if you want more-specific locations, sign up for each establishment's Twitter feed.
Magic Curry Kart
'Hood: Mission District
Pulled together from the spare parts of three bicycles and equipped with a checkered tabletop, two burners, and a Buddha statue for good luck, Brian Kimball's Magic Curry Kart is a roving, oddball kitchen serving up the former psychotherapist's Thai curry. Kimball learned to make the dish while traveling in Southeast Asia, and he limits his menu to chicken or tofu simmered with veggies in a homemade red, green, or yellow pumpkin curry paste, all heaped atop a bed of steaming white rice. Once a month, a Vietnamese rice porridge (or chao) covered with chicken, fried shallots, green onions, and mung beans makes it into the rotation. The best part: Kimball will deduct $1 from the meal if you bring your own food container. Twitter feed. From $6.
Crème Brûlée Cart
'Hood: Mission District
A carpenter by trade, Curtis Kimball was busy remodeling San Francisco's iconic Edwardian houses before he turned his attention to building the Crème Brûlée Cart over a year ago (inspired by his brother Brian's cart, which debuted one week earlier). Dressed in chef whites and armed with a butane torch, Curtis adds unusual flavors to the basic crème brulee recipe with splendid results: Try the orange creamsicle, the dark-chocolate peppermint, or the Baileys Irish Cream, all of which are listed on a bistro-style chalkboard on the front of his cart. Served in a three-inch tin, the creamy dessert has a caramelized top that cracks delightfully with a spoon. Fabric8 courtyard, 3318 22nd St., between Guerrero and Valencia Sts. 6 p.m–8 p.m. Fridays. Twitter feed. From $4.
Liba Falafel Truck
'Hood: The base of Potrero Hill
Amsterdam's falafel stands were the inspiration for chef Gail Lillian's 7-month-old Liba-mobile. Decorated with bright flowers and lime-green signage, the truck has a self-serve condiment bar with 15 different toppings made from scratch, like an olive-orange relish with thyme and a dill-and-cardamom pickle. For her own favorite falafel, Lillian uses a wheat pita and layers the organic chickpea fritters with hummus and a kicky harissa; then she adds pickled onions and homemade tomato ginger chutney before tossing in rosemary peanuts for extra crunch. A side of hand-cut sweet-potato fries with cilantro, garlic, and lime makes for a satisfying meal. 155 De Haro St. at Alameda St., 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Fridays. Twitter feed. (Also call 415/806-5422). Falafel sandwich from $5, sweet-potato fries $2.
Thomas Odermatt grew up working at his dad's butcher shop in the Swiss Alps. He now operates the RoliRoti rotisserie truck, with its 26 smoothly rotating skewers that can roast up to 80 free-range chickens at a time. Odermatt cooks his meat selections (including seasonal choices like lamb in the spring and duck in the winter) at the same low, even temperature for up to two hours, and the meat bastes itself with the drippings from higher racks. But it's the porchetta sandwich—roasted pork loin wrapped in crisp pork belly and doused in pinot grigio—that has tourists lining up at 8:30 a.m. on Saturdays at his Ferry Building Marketplace location. He can sell about 350 of the juicy sandwiches on a good day. Ferry Building Marketplace, 1 Ferry Building, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Thursdays, 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturdays. Twitter feed. $6–$12.
Kung Fu Tacos
'Hood: Financial District
Traditional taquerias are plentiful in San Francisco, so when drinking buddies Jonathan Ward and Tan Truong decided to launch a taco truck last August, they went with a Chinese twist and dubbed it Kung Fu Tacos. Their weekly lunchtime spot (in an unassuming parking lot around the corner from the Transamerica building) draws hungry office workers who favor the tortilla packed with lean and juicy roast duck and topped with mango salsa, hoisin sauce, and green onions. Steak and chicken tacos come dressed in a spicy Asian salsa made with ginger and carrot; other taco options are char siu (barbecue pork), mu shu veggies, and the unlisted menu item "dork"—a duck-and-pork combo. Three tacos washed down with a Coca-Cola from Mexico—sweetened with real cane sugar—generally get the job done. Sacramento St. between Montgomery and Kearny Sts., 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Twitter feed. From $2.
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