Contributed by Daniel Azarkman
If you’re anything like us, you fancy yourself an informed street food consumer. You Insta-stalk your tacos on the way to the market. You check what brand of hot sauce is available before you make eye contact with the cashier.
But it takes a special nose to sniff out the creamiest of the street food crop, and we’ve got a feeling there are some important things at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center you have yet to try — including a few you can only get at the Bay Area’s beloved weekly mobile food meet-up.
Taiwanese Beef Brisket Noodle Soup at Sip n Slurp
Sip n Slurp’s default menu consists of five noodle bowls each inspired by a different East Asian country, from Japan to Malaysia. Until recently, Taiwan wasn’t represented—but the sub-65 temperatures and foggy nights at Fort Mason Center begged for this soul-warming addition. Tinged with five-spice and a funky black garlic oil, the broth leaves you with that freshly-applied-ChapStick feeling you only get from gently extracted collagen (if we lost you there, let’s just say it’s bone broth).
In a departure from the classic version of the dish, Sip n Slurp cooks their meat sous vide, which gives it the uniform tenderness you might expect from chashu in a bowl of ramen, and also lets your teeth focus on the wheat-based broad noodles. An added bonus for FOMO-driven foodies: Sip n Slurp’s Taiwanese beef noodles are only available at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center.
Tuna Rousong Crepe at Tai Chi Jianbing
Those familiar with actual jianbing will know that “crepe” is a bit of an unfortunate term here — but it’s probably the closest reference point for Western appetites.
It starts with a mildly sweet batter cooked on a circular griddle. That batter includes mung bean flour and calls decidedly for savory fillings. While cooking it gets coated on one side with egg, and just when you think you’ve figured this thing out, the folks at Tai Chi Jianbing fold it so the thin omelet ends up being the outer layer.
The inside is then filled with crispy shards of fried wonton, plus your choice of protein. We suggest going with the tuna rousong, a dehydrated “floss” resembling shredded jerky, but there are pork and vegetarian options for less adventurous patrons.
Dungeness Crab Pupusa at Beyond the Border
The stuffed masa cakes known as pupusas are ubiquitous in El Salvador, but as the authenticity police will be quick to point out, Dungeness crab is not. And yes, we’re all aware of how some cultures feel about seafood-and-cheese relationships. But Beyond the Border owner Feida Oweis has been challenging boundaries ever since he was born to Salvadoran and Palestinian parents.
Leave your cynicism at home for one evening and dive in — we promise you’ll enjoy this oozey, crispy, border-transcending treat so much you’ll forget that you wanted to hate it. Plus, it’s another item only available to Off the Grid’s Friday night market-goers.
Anything at Manjé
One of several businesses emerging from Off the Grid’s 24-month mobile food incubator Instrucktional, Manjé is serving its Haitian-inspired dishes to the public for the first time ever at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center. After a life of cooking throughout the Caribbean and Florida, chef-entrepreneur Dimitri Lilavois is introducing the Bay Area to his unapologetically spicy and hearty cuisine without diluting it.
While everything on the menu is a feat of flavor — like his taco trio and Caribbean rice bowl (pictured) — his bridge is the “nacho” plate: fresh plantain chips topped with crispy pork griyo, pickled slaw, and mango-pineapple salsa. The flavors are all true to Haiti, just repackaged into a format that the uninitiated won’t be afraid to try.
Earl Grey Macarons at Oui Oui! Macaron
From the owners of the dearly departed truck Kung Fu Tacos and the dessert lounge Candy Bar, Oui Oui! Macaron is a new pop-up concept dedicated to the swanky, Parisian version of Oreos.
While everything they serve is sandwiched between diminutive discs of meringue, that’s the only constraint — the flavors and colors are whimsical, distinctive and sometimes even bordering on theatrical. While traditionalists waver between vanilla and vanilla with sprinkles, we’ll be cleansing our palates from all the foods above with the just-bitter-enough and citrusy Earl Grey.
Sample these items and more exclusively at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center every Friday night from 5-10 pm. Learn more >