Best San Francisco food trucks
A Texas native, pitmaster John Capelo serves his version of Southern barbecue from a black, tricked-out food truck. For eight years he’s been pleasing the crowds with Kansas City-style ribs, Carolina pulled pork and Texas-style, coffee-rubbed brisket smoked over a custom blend of oak, pecan and applewood. Capelo uses locally sourced and organic prime meats, which are available on plates, in sandwiches or in flour tortilla tacos. Sides include barbecue baked beans, three kinds of slaw, corn salad, mac and cheese and potato salad.
Anthony Myint’s groundbreaking Mission Street Food, which spawned the Mission Street Food cookbook and was the precursor to Mission Chinese Food, closed up shop years ago, but comes to life again at street food events like Off The Grid Fort Mason. Mynt works with Off The Grid to execute some of the most popular dishes including his spicy noodle bowl with stir-fried egg noodles, spicy chili sauce, scallion peanuts and bean sprouts with the optional toppings of roasted pork belly or salt and pepper sichuan chicken wings.
Puerto Rican food via Miami native Phillip Quinones is what you'll find at the newly established Phill’s, part of BiteUnite’s presence at Off The Grid. The menu rotates but you’re likely to find crisp mariquitas (plantain chips), arepas, tostones, and what might just become their signature dish, pastelon, a layered Puerto Rican casserole with plantains, ground beef picadillo, and cheese. Phill’s pastelon is luscious, gooey, savory comfort food, and unlike anything else you’ll find around town.
Childhood friends and Bowl’d Acai co-founders Reza Morvari and Angel Serratos launched their first truck together in 2014. Their business has since grown into a fleet of four, selling smoothies, fresh juices, poke, and—the signature—acai bowls (or, as the duo refers to them, “parfaits on tropical, chilled steroids”). The tart, slushy base is made from organic frozen acai root, fruit, and coconut water. That’s topped with homemade One Planet granola, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, coconut shavings, honey, and bougie extras like bee pollen and hemp seed. The smoothies contain no added sugar or fillers and come in flavors like the Hella Green, a post-gym favorite (kale, spinach, mango, pineapple, banana, and housemade almond milk) and Rocket Fuel (coffee, banana, peanut butter, vanilla whey protein, chia seed, flaxseed, and housemade almond milk). Juices are hand-pressed to order, shaken over ice, and served chilled.
Husband and wife team Akash and Rana Kapoor founded their food truck business in 2009. Their vision: an inventive twist on Indian street food. Curry Up Now has since grown into a mini empire, with brick-and-mortar locations in the Mission, Oakland, Alameda, San Jose, Palo Alto, and San Mateo. Still, the original truck circulates throughout the Bay Area, serving a variety of Indian burritos, bowls, and thali platters. Each dish can be ordered with chicken tikka, kashiri lamb, saag paneer, or ghee makhni butter. Bowls are served alongside rice, chana garbanzo masala, and pico kachumber, while the platters include all those items, plus papadum. But Curry Up Now might be best known for its modernized takes on traditional dishes, like the Deconstructed Samosa, a chutney crowned garbanzo explosion, or the Sexy Fries, an Indian-inspired spin on poutine.
In the transient world of food trucks, a buzzy newcomer seems to roll up every other week. Meanwhile, Roti Roti, which was founded by a third generation Swiss butcher, has been a mainstay for more than 15 years. You’ll most often see the trucks at farmers markets, including every weekend at the Ferry Building. Roli Roti sources its meat and produce from local farmers: garlic from Gilroy, lettuce from Bolinas, and Mary’s free-range chickens from the Central Valley. Though the truck made a name for itself on its rotisserie chickens—you can watch them twirling on the back of the truck—they also offer bone broth, porchetta and organic fingerling potatoes cooked in pork and chicken drippings and sprinkled with housemade rosemary sea salt. Both the chicken and porchetta are available in sandwiches, served on an Acme Bakery roll.
In 2010, high school friends Evan Kidera and Gil Payumo bought a former Chinese food truck on Craigslist with the dream of transforming it into a mobile taco and burrito stand. They set themselves apart from the taco-slinging masses with their Filipino-inspired signature ingredient: sisig. Though the chopped meat dish it’s traditionally made with the head of a pig, Kidera and Payumo have tweaked their recipe to feature crowd-pleasing pork shoulder instead. The pork is infused in a spicy, rich marinade for 24 hours, grilled, and chopped. (In the ensuing years, they’ve also adapted a chicken and tofu option.) The sisig is wrapped in burritos, sprinkled on tacos, and ladled atop nachos. Try the California Sisig burrito, a gut-bomb of French fries, shredded cheese, sour cream, guac, and pico de gallo, or the Filipino-influenced Tosilog burrito, which incorporates sweet pork, garlic rice, tomatoes, and a fried egg.
JapaCurry claims to be the first Japanese food truck in the entire Bay Area, which—considering our city’s collective obsession with all things Japanese—seems long overdue. The truck keeps it simple, and their main offering is authentic curry dishes made from scratch. The curries span katsu (a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet), kurobuta sausage, pumpkin, kara-age (Japanese-style fried chicken), and fried or baked tofu katsu. For those not in the mood for curry, there are also bento boxes are similarly wide-ranging—from BBQ beef to salmon—and come with a side of seaweed salad or brown rice. They also offer daily specials such as agadashi tofu, takoyaki (octopus pancake balls) or yakisoba.
This Asian street food truck has an unexpected pedigree. It was founded by chef Hiroo Nagahara, formerly the executive chef at Bar Charlie in Las Vegas under Charlie Trotter. His truck’s baked and steamed baos are unfussy, but hint at Nagahara’s fine dining roots (you’ll see a red miso glaze here, toasted sesame puree there…). The menu features four types of boldly flavored buns: pork belly, Coca-Cola braised pork, spicy chicken, and miso cured tofu. Pair your bun with a side of wonton chips, generously seasoned with nori and citrus togarashi salt.
Owner Adam Lee is known for his metal-inspired food truck, from the heart-stopping menu to the attention-grabbing art. The flavors may be Asian inspired, but the effect is pure comfort food. Lee is best known for heaping sandwiches like the Drako (drunken pulled pork with Asian slaw on brioche) and the Falkor (panko-crusted fried chicken with pepper jack cheese, hickory smoked bacon, and a fried egg). The most popular sandwich in the line-up is the spicy Kraken, which heaps pickled ginger, Sriracha, avocado wasabi, roasted seaweed, Asian slaw, and bacon on top of two peppery, fried soft shell crabs. The fries here are giant and qualify as a meal, layered with toppings like pulled pork, chicken nuggets, bacon, cneese, jalapenos, and corned beef.