Must Eat Foods In San Francisco And Where To Eat Them

By Linda Lee, who was born and raised in San Francisco and loves its quirks, Burmese tea leaf salads and inclusivity.
Edited by Holly Stark

From hidden pop up food trucks serving fusion food to the array of cool restaurants we have in the city, choosing where to eat in San Francisco is an endless and ever-growing task. San Francisco is hard to distill into just one thing or place. It’s diverse and multicultural; home to an array of different people and lots of different types of enticing cuisines. Seperated into neighbourhoods like Chinatown, Japantown, the Mission, which has a strong Latin American culture, and Bayview, which is more known for its African American culture - the city has the ability to draw people in from all walks of life with enticing aromas on every corner. For those who want to experience the best of the city’s culinary world without confusion, check out this roundup of top places to eat in San Francisco to embrace the very best food in San Francisco, which includes San Francisco specialties like the Señor Sisig fusion food truck, some of the best restaurants in San Francisco like Peruvian Ramones and cheerful yet cheap eats San Francisco style.

Burritos At Senor Sisig

Kickstart your San Francisco food experience with one of my favourite must eat places in San Francisco; Señor Sisig. A hidden gem of cuisine, disguised behind a food truck halo, Señor Sisig serve up a mouth-watering fusion of Mexican and Filipino cuisine. Try burritos, bowls, tacos, or my all time favourite; the California burrito; which is packed with your choice of meat or tofu, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo - and they even put french fries in there. One of their pop ups can be found at Off the Grid at Fort Mason; a gathering of food trucks and other local vendors. The food truck scene offers that same variety, with accessible options in multiple neighborhoods.

Tea Leaf Salad At Mandalay

Seeking what to eat in San Francisco that is delicious and unique? Mandalay is a great Burmese restaurant. There are lots of Burmese people in the Bay area and their restaurants and tea leaf salad are not to be missed for foodies in San Francisco. It seems unusual to other cuisines since it is made with dried tea leaves, beans and lemon. Mandalay’s salad most closely resembles what’s served in Burma: lahpet, seeds, peanuts and dried pulses; fried garlic, a few tomatoes; and a squeeze of lemon to bring everything together. It has a bitter, earthy character which is well worth a try.

Dim Sum At Lai Hong Lounge

Try one of the culinary world’s greatest treasures: dim sum. Dim sum literally means “to touch your heart” and refers to an assortment of Chinese delicacies - everything from steamed dumplings to buns. Try it at Lai Hong Lounge where you can get yummy large plates of Chinese fare and dim sum in a quaint eatery. The largely Chinese crowd attests to the authenticity of the food, which ranges from steamed pork buns and taro dumplings to crispy, golden pan-fried tofu. If you’re seeking things to do in San Francisco at night, head to the restaurant or order a takeout and tuck into some delicious food.

Crab Beignet At Brenda’s

Head to Brenda’s for breakfast. Looking for hearty, delicious soul food cooked with lots of different spices? This is the spot for you. The crawfish beignets are my favorite thing here. The dish has a rich cheesy flavor with stuffed crawfish and covered in a Cajun spice. The fried chicken is also delicious, very flavourful and cooked to perfection. If meat isn’t your thing, try a yummy Brenda’s vegan sloppy joe; a must eat San Francisco for veggie lovers and vegans.

Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken At Limón Rotisserie

Limón Peruvian Rotisserie is a South American Restaurant in the Mission District specialising in Peruvian cuisine. Try the juicy ½ chicken with some yummy sweet potato fries. But you can also feast on Peruvian ceviche, paella and sip a tasty cocktail like a pisco sour or margarita. One of the best restaurants in San Francisco for rotisserie chicken, Limón Peruvian Rotisserie is worth a try if chicken slow roasted over an open flame with delicious sauce and yummy Peruvian sides like tacu tacu (rice and beans) is your thing.

Green Tea Ramen At Mensho Tokyo

Noodle lovers will want to head to Mensho Tokyo. Bringing in customers from everywhere, all day long, the spot is one of the most loved, best places to eat in San Francisco. Located in Japantown, and with another location downtown, their speciality is a green tea ramen bowl in which they sprinkle matcha powder on top of their ramen. The Japanese noodles are ever evolving and see a different adaptation with many chefs adding some extra tasty features in order to really make it their own. Typically a steaming oily or creamy broth, the dish can be made with fresh mizuna, green onions, bamboo shoots, garlic, pepper and ginger, melt-in-your-mouth soft chashu or sliced, roasted pork, oil and juicy noodles. Mensho Tokyo have really put a twist on the dish so don’t miss it.

Coffee And Pastries In The Mission

I’m well into my coffee shops, and luckily coffee shops are huge here; I’d say people go out to cafes, restaurants and bars more than clubs, and with so many people working remotely these days it’s not much of a surprise that there are new coffee shops popping up all the time. San Francisco is known for great coffee, and the Mission district is a hub for some of the best local spots to get it. Close to the intersection of Mission and 22nd Street is Revolution Cafe; a vibrant, economically friendly place with a goal to support the San Francisco music scene. The cafe offers sandwiches, salads, and sweets, along with wine, beer, and coffee. Sit inside or outside and know that you are sipping a delicious, affordable coffee while supporting the community with live music seven nights a week in a variety of genres.

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