2010 was the pivotal year in the world of Bay Area mobile dining, as the second tech boom was still waiting to happen and the economy was still trying to rebound from the Great Recession. It was a crossroads time for the Bay Area and so lots of local food entrepreneurs hit the road — literally — with mobile food concepts that year. Off the Grid started in 2010 and so did Señor Sisig, one of the longtime stalwarts of Off the Grid gatherings. When high school pals Evan Kidera and Gil Payumo founded Señor Sisig, the Bay Area Filipino dining scene was relatively quiet and largely centered on local favorites in the city and in the East Bay and the upper Peninsula.
Fast forward a decade and the Bay Area has learned a lot more about traditional Filipino cuisine from those longtime classics and from contemporary Filipino cooking by influential newcomers like Abacá (from the team that created the oh so tremendous Pinoy Heritage pop-up) and FOB Kitchen in Oakland. And, of course, local diners have also enjoyed a decade of Filipino sisig with a modern edge from the street food concept-turned-mobile food sensation that Kidera and Payumo originally launched from a truck that Kidera found on Craigslist.
As Señor Sisig’s name suggests, Filipino-inspired tacos and burritos are the core of the menu for the trucks and its brick-and-mortar locations in Oakland and the Mission. Then there are nachos, fries, a salad and more that follow a similar template with sisig-style pork, chicken or tofu. In 2020, Señor Sisig launched an all-vegan “Señor Sisig Vegano” truck to its roster and includes that vegan menu at the Oakland restaurant as well. All together, it’s abundantly clear that Señor Sisig is one of the most influential dining concepts in the Bay Area of the past decade and continues to be a marquee dining name as we navigate the pandemic times.
Kidera grew up in San Francisco, graduated from SF State as an undergraduate and later with an MBA, and now he’s the CEO for one of the city’s most popular dining concepts. In short: the guy knows and loves San Francisco. So who better to ask for some advice on where to find excellent versions of one of the city’s favorite dishes?
And, let’s give credit where credit is due — most restaurant owners would be too shy to nominate their own dish in an article like this. But it’s true that no “best” taco or burrito list in the Bay Area would be complete without including one from the Señor Sisig trucks and restaurants.
Here’s Where Kidera Gets Burritos (When Not Eating a Sisig Burrito)
1) La Taqueria
Super popular spot in the city. No rice in these burritos, just the meat, cheese, crema, guacamole, beans and salsa. Ask them to crisp it on the plancha (flat grill) to give it that brown color and melt everything together with a crunch. You can’t go wrong.
Where to find it: 2889 Mission St, San Francisco
2) El Faro
Their Acapulco burrito is fire! Grilled shrimp and crab, with grilled onion/peppers, rice, salsa and a special sauce. I grab this when I’m feeling like a treat.
Where to find it: 2399 Folsom St, San Francisco
3) Taquería El Farolito
This is the go-to late night taqueria (especially the Mission Street location) after a long night of drinking and partying. We come here to grab burritos to soak up liquor and add to the guilt the next morning lol. Classic burritos, and they are always on point.
Where to find it: 2779 Mission St, San Francisco
4) Gordo Taqueria
I grew up on these burritos and there’s a nostalgia I get everytime I eat one. They steam their tortillas/cheese which gives it a different texture and experience than most burritos, but they are so good. Just cause I’m writing this my stomach/heart is telling me I have to go get one for lunch today.
Where to find it: 1239 9th Ave., San Francisco (Kidera notes that all locations are good, though!)
5) Señor Sisig
Not to float our boat but I think we have some of the most unique and flavorful burritos out [there]. 11 years after opening I still crave our burritos. One of my absolute favorites is our Tosilog burrito which has Filipino sweet pork, garlic rice, tomatoes and a fried egg, served with a recommended side of peppered vinegar. There’s nothing that compares to this burrito. You just have to experience it for yourself to understand.
Where to find it: 990 Valencia St., San Francisco (plus several trucks around the Bay Area including at Off the Grid gatherings, and a second brick-and-mortar Oakland location!)