Curbside Cuisine

When great street food is mentioned, you might think of Singapore or Marrakech, but not San Francisco. Until now that is. The latest craze to hit the city by the bay is the street cart food scene.

Food offerings from street vendors in San Francisco were once limited to hot pretzels, homemade tamales and the infamous heart attack in a bun, the bacon wrapped hot dog, but that has all begun to change. Today the variety of offerings are vast, and whether its delicious desserts or homemade soup you crave, there is probably a cart out there in the City somewhere selling it.

Excessive licensing fees and mazes of bureaucracy has given rise to a strong underground street cart movement and numerous cart owners have decided to sneak around, rather than weave their way through, the system. Many keep the authorities off their trail by regularly changing their location and relying on Twitter to inform their followers as to where they will be at any given time. This helps to keep the authorities at bay, although rumor has it the police have begun to crack down.

For a sweet tooth check out:

  • The Creme Brulee Cart where $3 buys you a freshly fired creme brulee. The line has been known to take more than an hour to get through, but the unique flavors like orange-creamsicle and dark chocolate raspberry keep them coming back for more.
  • Gobba Gobba Hey sells an east coast delight called a ‘gob’. Huge cookie-like cake sandwiches with different flavored buttercream fillings. The carrot cake gobs with orange-lemon buttercream and the black cherry-chocolate with lime buttercream are two of the cult favorites here.
  • Bike-Basket Pies sells delicious, individual, hand held fruit pies, some of which are made with a vegan crust. Some of their popular flavors are strawberry-rhubarb and nectarine-raspberry and run $4.00 each.
  • The Amuse Bouche Cart sells mini muffins and a dixie cup of sweet, warm chai tea in the mornings for $1.00 as well as delicious tarts for $3.00.

There are also a number of vendors selling savory fare:

  • The Sexy Soup Cart features soups like carrot-ginger-coconut and fresh asparagus, many of which are vegan.
  • The Magic Curry Kart features made to order red and green curries with meat and/or tofu for $5.00 each.
  • The Left Coast Smoke Cart sells $6.00 pulled pork sandwiches with crunchy slaw and a variety of tasty sauces.

If you want to keep up on the thriving street vendor movement (both licensed and covert,) check out VendrTV for reports from different locations across the country.

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