Monday, October 7, 2013
We've seen Korean food trucks on the streets of San Francisco. Chinese food trucks. Japanese food trucks. Filipino Food trucks. Vietnamese food trucks. Thai food trucks. Until now we've not had a Burmese food truck (not counting a rogue Burmese food purveyor that operated briefly a couple of years back from a borrowed truck at a borrowed location). Now comes Lil Burma, a fully permitted food truck with a Rangoon chef and a menu of authentic Burmese specialties. The founder of Lil Burma, which also does catering, is Lewis Eng who, according to the company's website, is originally from Rangoon, with parents from Meiktila and Mandalay, and a chef since 1985.
Lil Burma debuted at SoMa StrEat Food Park just last Friday and I caught up with it there today while on a Costco run. It was featuring a menu of signature Burmese dishes, inclucding Burma's "National dish" (by most accounts), mohinga, and local food fan favorite, tea leaf salad:
1) Catfish Soup with Rice Noodle (Moh Hinga)
2) Coconut Chicken Noodle (Ohn No Khauk Swe')
3) Tea Leaf Salad (Lap Pat Thouk)
4) Noodle Salad with Chicken (Kyat Tha Khauk Swe' Thouk)
5) Burmese Curry Prawn (Pa Zune Se Pyan Chet)
6) Burmese Curry Chicken with Lemon Grass (Kya Tha Zapalin)
7) Indian Style Curry Chicken (Kalar Kyat Tha Se Pyan)
Given the City's reputation among gastro-tourists as a place to try out Burmese food, It's only right that SF now has Burmese in it's food truck mix.
*The heavier the bowl, the tastier the noodles
Monday, August 26, 2013
I fell in love with many of the foods of Xi'an more than five years ago at David Shih's Xi'an Famous Foods in Flushing, NY's now legendary Golden Mall and have been lamenting the near total absence of this cuisine from San Francisco ever since. I am happy to report that it is now possible to get my Xi'an food "fix" in San Francisco, thanks to Xi'an Gourmet Restaurant at Geary Boulevard and 2nd Avenue.
A couple of weeks ago, San Dong House restaurant, looking for a way to distinguish itself from the growing number of local hand-pulled noodle joints (with and without "Shandong/Sandong" in their names), morphed into Xi'an Gourmet. It was not a gratuitous makeover: the chef at San Dong House was from Xi'an and, it appears, has an assertive grasp of his hometown cuisine, at least judging from to two items I had today.
I consider Xi'an Famous Foods' lamb roujiamo a benchmark, simply because I've eaten so many of them, and Xi'an Gourmet's stacks up well to them. Overall, XG's version was about the same size and as full of meat as XFF's version. XG's lamb seemed slightly less fatty, but at least as aggressively spiced with cumin, jalapenos and chili oil as XFF's. Xi'an Gourmet's buns were a bit denser and more impermeable than Xi'an Famous Foods', which gave them a nice crunchiness but made XG's roujamo messier, as the buns didn't absorb the chile oil and juices as well. XG's lamb roujiamo are also more expensive, at $5.95, though they also serve a pork version for $3.95.
I'll be returning within the week to vet the yang rou pao mo (a hearty lamb soup that uses torn up flatbread instead of noodles) and will have a further report once I've analyzed and cherry-picked the menu.
Xi'an Gourmet, 3741 Geary Blvd. at 2nd Ave., San Francisco
Friday, August 2, 2013
|Guangzhou King & King (L) becomes iCafe (R)|
Guangzhou King & King was one of the last two places in San Francisco Chinatown offering house-made Chinese sausage for retail sale, so I was somewhat dismayed when it appeared to have morphed into a coffee shop, iCafe, even though it was serving "the best coffee in Chinatown." To tell the truth I'd not often been in the market for lap cheong (Chinese sausage), but it was comforting to walk by and see the strings of various types of Lap Cheong hanging at the back of the store. It would be sad to see it go. Fortunately, it was not so. A Twitter follower who saw the Instagram I posted pointed out that the Chinese sign on iCafe mentioned BBQ, so I decided further research was in order.
Sure enough, I discovered when I returned early enough in the day to tolerate some caffeine, several varieties of house-made lap cheong were on display, laid out horizontally in glass cases behind the counter, which was adorned with pastry cases. It was just a "remodel," said the owner with a grin.
|Lap cheong can be see laid out behind the coiunter|
|A menu that would look at home in Hong Kong|
To complete the transformation of a Chinese charcuterie into a Western cafe a la Hong Kong, where is artwork on the wall for sale by an artist named Nate1, a friend of the owners. Fittingly, the art work even included a bit of lap cheong art.
|Lap cheong art.|
|Butcher, baker and latte maker Nobo of iCafe|
iCafe is at 57 Walter U. Lum Place, jsut off Washington, on the backside of Portsmouth Square
Thursday, June 20, 2013
If you know me, or even if you only read my blogs, you know I'm not a Frenchy food kind of guy. But when Carlos Muela told me a new French street food truck would be slangin' sausage sandwiches, I decided to check out the debut of France Délices at Muela's SoMa StrEat Food Park.
They had me at merguez.
I love the spicy Mediterranean sausage known as merguez. It's my favorite of all sausages, especially when made from my favorite of all meats, lamb. On my trips to Montreal, a well-dressed grilled merguez sausage sandwich on a french roll from An-Nasr at the Jean-Talon market trumps a medium fat from Shwartz's at the top of my must-eat list. A Montreal merguez sandwich, especially with its Lebanese twist, is probably not replicated anywhere else in North America, but I'm always ready to applaud a good stand-in, and here was a credible candidate staring me in the face.
France Délices' menu is simplicity itself. There are four choices of grilled sausage sandwiches: lamb merguez, chicken merguez, wild boar with apple and cranberries and one with -- wait for it -- my second favorite animal flesh, duck, somehow combined with figs. (The cunning bastards, they know I'll be back to try that one.) A sausage sandwich on a soft French roll with your choice of two toppings is $7.00. The truck also offers hand-cut frites (Freedom fries to you) served Euro-style in a large paper cone, with your choice of dips for $4.00. But wait! There's the "meal deal," which gets you a sandwich, fries and a drink (soda or bottled water) for a flat $10.00. That would be me, see?
I ordered my merguez sandwich with sauerkraut and sweet peppers as toppings. It did not disappoint. There were two decent-sized links of merguez sausage, and the spicing and texture seemed right on, compared to what I have become accustomed to. With a slightly firmer bun and some chopped green olives as a topping option, it would have been a pretty good facsimile of my beloved Montreal merguez sando. As it is, it was a winner of a sandwich on its own, and the fries went down well too, especially with the ailoi dressing I selected.
And by the way, France Délices folks, if you are listening, let me put a bug in your ear. Since you've already got the sauerkraut and four kinds of sausage going, how about putting together a nice robust choucroute garni platter for dinner service at SoMa? That, some cold beer and a Giants game on the telly would be a great way to while away a couple of hours on a not-too-chilly evening.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Notable Nosh: Frikadelle Slap Chip Roll at Amawele's South African Kitchen Leaves Me Frikkin' Slap-happy
Where noshed: Amewele's South African Kitchen, Rincon Center, 101 Spear St., San Francisco