San Francisco Street Food

In recent years, street food has taken on a whole new perspective as it has exploded in popularity in the Bay Area and across the country. While you can still find them near the touristy areas, hot dog carts are just the amuse bouche of an astonishing buffet of authentic ethnic cuisines, unlikely but devastatingly good combinations of fusion foods and comfort foods available through food trucks these days. As restaurateurs and other foodservice pros realized the freedom, creativity and lower operating costs of running their own truck instead of brick-and-mortar joints, the popularity of these trucks has soared.

Some say that foodies looking for the Next Big Thing and regular folks who like the convenience, relatively low cost and ease of finding these trucks are the driving factors behind this surging popularity. Smartphones and social media are also important factors. However, the cognoscenti know that beneath it all are good ingredients made with care at reasonable prices, the foundation of any successful food business.

Taking a cue from other major cities, San Francisco has designated areas where food trucks park on a regular basis, ensuring that their customers have easy access without taking business away from brick-and-mortar establishments. One of the first was SOMA StrEat Food Park at Harrison and 11th Streets. This food park is home to 10 or so alternating food trucks that are open for lunch, dinner and late night meals seven days a week. You can also often find food trucks and great street food all over the waterfront, near popular tourist destinations, some parks, sports venues, cultural institutions and other places where people gather.

Your best bet for tracking, finding and eating the best San Francisco street foods are websites, such as, and others. These sites, as well as Twitter, the food trucks’ own websites and their social media pages are the best sources for gaining real-time access to where the trucks are now, where they will be tonight or tomorrow, today’s menu and other pertinent information. With their bright paint jobs and propensity to be close to crowds, you can also happen upon them simply walking around the Bay Area. These mobile restaurants have come a very long way from the unsavory “roach coaches” of the past and are not to be missed. So the next time you get a jones for a Szechuan quesadilla or bánh mì made with mortadella, let your browser do the walking and find it online before you find it on the street! Bon appétit!