The West Coast may have a reputation for being laid-back. But in reality, modern San Francisco is a city that's always on the go. Bolstered by the innovative culture of nearby Silicon Valley, San Francisco has become one of the most desirable places to live, work, and play in the world.
Combine entrepreneurs and engineers with plenty of disposable income with the state that produces an incredible selection of meats, seafood, fruits and vegetables, and you're well on your way to a foolproof recipe for a vibrant food culture. Put all that in a city that has been a hub for immigration for centuries, and it starts to seem inevitable that San Francisco is one of the best places to eat in the entire United States.
And in a bustling city like San Francisco, street food remains enduringly popular. Whether you're on your way to a meeting at your startup company or are heading out to one of the best hikes in San Francisco, being able to eat something on the go is a tempting proposition. Luckily, in San Francisco, street food doesn't mean bad food. In fact, thanks to the incredible range and popularity of San Francisco food trucks, some of the best food in the city is street food.
But before you hit the streets in search of the best things to eat in Northern California, don't forget to drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in San Francisco. Nothing ruins a trip faster than being way down with heavy bags, so travel light and enjoy the best San Francisco food trucks and street food outlets unencumbered.
The best street food vendors in San Francisco
As a gateway to the Pacific, San Francisco has always been the kind of place where different cultures and cuisines mix and merge to create something entirely new. Go for a meal at JapaCurry, and you'll be experiencing a great example of that cultural exchange while enjoying some delicious street food. Recognized as one of the best food trucks not just in San Francisco but in the entire country, JapaCurry combines classic Japanese cuisine like bento boxes and Ramen noodles with curry-inspired flavors to create something entirely new. Try the spicy Katsu Curry or the Kurobuta Sausage Curry, and you'll be served some of the best street food in the entire Bay Area.
On the subject of fusion food, we can't fail to talk about Señor Sisig. This legendary San Francisco food truck combines the ever-popular California Mexican cuisine with the warming flavors of the Philippines. The California sisig burrito, served with pico de Gallo, shredded cheese, sour cream, and French fries, is a particular favorite and comes with your choice of meat or tofu. They also serve a sweet pork Tosilog burrito, nachos, and other Mexican–Filipino style items that will make your lunch more than memorable.
With the Pacific Ocean at its doorstep, San Francisco is unquestionably a great location for seafood. And although it's a long way from the lobster fisheries of New England, that doesn't mean you can't get a little taste of the East Coast in San Francisco. The Lobsta Truck is one of the most popular food trucks in the Bay Area, and they make it their business to serve authentic fresh lobster rolls just like the ones you'd get back east.
The Lobster Roll is the unquestioned star here, but this creative food truck also serves a crab roll, clam chowder, lobster bisque, and that classic New England sweet treat, the Whoopie pie. However, given the limited menu of this food truck, vegetarians will probably have to go elsewhere. The only thing they'll find to eat at the Lobsta Truck is some Cape Cod potato chips.
Founded by famed San Francisco restauranteur Brandon Jew, Mamahuhu has quickly become one of the city's favorite food trucks. And in a city with all the options for Chinese food that San Francisco has, that's no small achievement. Serving classics of Chinese cuisine like sweet-and-sour chicken and beef and broccoli with rice, Mamahuhu puts a fresh spin on these classics of Chinese American cuisine. Located in the Inner Richmond District, Mamahuhu provides counter service from a fixed location. They offer reusable take-out containers, making it easy to grab a delicious lunch or dinner before heading out to explore the best neighborhoods in San Francisco. For the ultimate grab-and-go Chinese-inspired treat, pick up the Sweet and Spicy Chicken Sandwich and get a taste of what this restaurant has to offer while on the go.
Adam's Grub Truck
If you have high-end tastes, you'll find no shortage of luxurious restaurants ready to serve you in the Bay Area. But sometimes, you just want something simple, classic, and tasty. At least, that's the guiding ethos behind Adam's Grub Truck.
The menu here is inspired by American pop culture as much as it is by Asian cuisine. Try delicious sandwiches like the John Wick, the Lara Croft, and the Falkor, or go for a full-on carb-loaded gut bomb like the Ultimate Warrior Fries, which come smothered in Asian pulled pork, bacon, and jalapenos. While Adams undoubtedly offers a feast for carnivores, they also provide several vegetarian sandwiches, meaning everyone can get a taste of what this food truck has to offer.
Del Popolo Pizza Truck
In many ways, pizza is the original street food. You'll find no shortage of pizza joints in just about every area of San Francisco, especially around the Italian community of North Beach. But for something a little special, track down Del Popolo Pizza Truck and see what makes this business stand out.
True pizza aficionados know that nothing compares to pizza baked in a woodfired oven the way it's supposed to be. Del Popolo features an authentic Italian wood-burning pizza oven installed in a shipping container that's been converted into a unique food truck. The superheated oven can cook a pizza in only a couple of minutes, making sure the cheese melts completely and the crust gets a delicious charring for that true Italian pizza taste. They serve classic Margarita pizzas that are vegetarian friendly as well as other styles with more toppings, including a selection of meat. All in all, it's a food truck that's bound to please just about everyone.
Why can't ice cream be considered street food? After all, is one of the best things to eat on the go, and the perfect end to any meal as well as the quintessential cold treat on a hot California day. Humphry Slocombe, located in the Ferry Building has become a San Francisco icon since they first opened in 2008. Try the unique Secret Breakfast flavor, based on bourbon and cornflakes, or any of the innovative and constantly evolving flavors they make from local ingredients. Taking a stroll down the Embarcadero with an ice cream flavor you've never tried before is one of the best ways to spend a sunny evening in San Francisco.
Where to find the best San Francisco street food spots
SoMa StrEat Food Park
If you really want to sample the cutting edge of San Francisco's street food scene, this is the place to come. The SoMa StrEat Food Park is, as the name suggests, the premier destination for street food in the city. Recently rebranded as District Six, the park continues to provide some of the best and most innovative options for street food and outdoor dining in the entire Bay Area. Try gourmet corndogs from Batter Up, great seafood from Moonraker, or traditional farmhouse cooking from Meadowlark Cafe. You'll also find the Lobsta Truck here. Plus, if you overindulge, there are fitness classes offered by trained instructors so you can work off the extra calories you've consumed.
Yes, it's a classic tourist trap. But Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco is also home to some of the best restaurants in the city. And if you're willing to look beyond the big chains, you can find some interesting places to eat even in the tourist heart of the city. The Fishermen's Wharf chowder stands are great places to visit for pescetarians, and nearby Good Mong Kok Bakery offers tasty dim sum, fried noodles, and excellent egg tarts. Plus, you're only a short distance away from the Ferry Building Marketplace, one of San Francisco's best farmers markets that offers a culinary journey through the incredible produce of California.
North Beach has been the heart of San Francisco's Italian community for generations. And where there are Italians, you're bound to find exceptional food. Pizza and pasta are just about everywhere here, and you'll be able to find plenty to enjoy. But you'll also find some great Mexican and Chinese places serving up irresistible small plates that you can eat on the go.
The San Francisco Financial District is a haven for both great dining restaurants and exceptional street food. Eateries like the Halal Cart and Dosa Brothers bring food from around the world to this downtown area, keeping the high-flying bankers and venture capitalists as happy and well-fed as the programmers and students who are also frequent the area.
There's nothing quite like a mission-style burrito, sometimes known as a San Francisco burrito. And there's no better place to get it than where this unique Mexican dish was created, San Francisco's famous Mission district. A mission-style burrito is absolutely massive, and comes wrapped in foil to keep the ingredients from bursting out. Depending on your appetite, you may need a friend to help you finish one of these gigantic treats.
No prizes for guessing that San Francisco's Chinatown is a haven for great restaurants. You'll find plenty of classical Chinese and dim sum restaurants in this vibrant area, but in recent decades, it's also become a great place for street food. Grab some pork dumplings or fried rice to eat on the go, and you'll be getting a taste of the oldest Chinese community in the United States while you explore San Francisco.
Street food festivals in San Francisco
Thanks in part to the great weather, San Francisco is a city with no shortage of excellent outdoor festivals. And the street food festivals are a particular highlight in this exceptional culinary city. Check out the annual Oysterfest in Golden Gate Park for exceptional seafood, or the Taste of Potrero at Pier 70 to try some of the best local food. Japantown's Soy and Tofu Festival is likely to be hit with vegetarians and fans of Asian food, while the SF Street Food Festival celebrates the best food trucks in the city. And those with a sweet tooth shouldn't miss the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival, which takes place in Ghirardelli Square every September.
No matter how long you plan to stay in San Francisco, there's so much delicious street food to eat that you could probably sustain yourself doing nothing else. With cuisines from around the world and a wealth of different options to suit everyone's dietary needs, there's really no excuse not to try at least some of the city's food trucks and lunch counters. So drop your bags off at a Bounce luggage storage in San Francisco and get ready to dive into one of the most vibrant and exciting street food scenes in the entire United States.