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Off The Grid street food photoblog, San Francisco

Regular readers of the blog may know off my penchant for street food, so whilst researching for my little jaunt around San Francisco, one thing on my food radar was seeking out the best street food I could find. I’ve watched many a street food programme on the Food Network channel and followed how street food has exploded in America over the last few years. Meanwhile, street food has emerged as part of the zeitgeist across the UK; London has a number of well known street food markets, such as Street Feast London and Brixton Market, Manchester with events such as B.Eat Street MCR, and Leeds has the Belgrave Street Feast and Amazing Graze….I could go on.

One of my guide books highlighted a weekly event called Off The Grid, with the aim of about gathering different food communities together they have 35 weekly public markets across the San Francisco Bay Area!! On reading this you can imagine my thoughts…..alarm bells, fanfares, party poppers going off absolutely everywhere!! A quick nosey on the website just reaffirmed my excitement and it was one of the first things I noted down as a FOODIE MUST DO on our trip.


So as part of the itinerary I’d planned, we rocked up Friday 5pm (if that’s possible after walking 20+ miles in 35°C heat) to Off The Grid at the Fort Mason Centre. We anticipated seeing up to 32 different traders serving their wares from trucks, carts or tents…ahhhh STREET FOOD HEAVEN!!! There were so many different cuisines on offer; from Malaysian, Nepalese and Filipino to Koreon, Mexican, Asian and many others besides!

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After a quick scoot round to get my eye in and awaken my taste buds, we both ended up with what could be classed as four courses.

Pork belly Gua Bao, Maui Fish Taco, Sangria, Pork and Chive Dumplings, Strawberry and Lemonade Popsicle
Pork belly Gua Bao, Maui Fish Taco, Sangria, Pork and Chive Dumplings, Strawberry and Lemonade Popsicle

I love a Gua Bao and one of the best around are served up by The Chairman who offer a steamed or baked bao, I went for the steamed belly pork bao ($3.75) and it was so good!!! Soft, pillowy bao filled with uber soft pork, topped with pickled daikon and shiso leaf, with the addition of some chilli sauce made for a very tasty intro to Off The Grid. At just over £2 sterling, a bargain too!!

My second course was a Fish Taco from The Taco Guys, I think this was my favourite out of everything I ate that evening!!! Every ingredient was evident from the first mouthful and it was so full of fresh flavours, but also textures from the panko breadcrumb coating, creamy mayo, pickled onion and slaw. I found it hard to resist going for seconds and well worth $6, as it was a decent size too!

Our third savoury course came in the form of dumplings from Happy Dumplings, my friend and I are both dumpling fans so ordered a portion of pork and chive. Three large dumplings ($4 I think) had quite a thick casing filled with lots of pork; they were tasty, but weren’t my favourite. 

My last course had to be something cold and refreshing, especially as it had been a scorcher of a day, so an ice lolly or popsicle as they call them from Fat Face was in order. From a selection of unusual flavour combinations, including apricot/curry and thai tea/sweet potato I chose one of the safer picks of strawberry and lemonade ($3.50). Exactly what the doctor ordered!! 

Such a great atmosphere and it was rammed with people all enjoying great food and drink!

Hey street food fans, wouldn’t it be great to have something like this in Leeds every week? 
Off The Grid
2 Marina Blvd
Fort Mason Centre
San Francisco
CA 94123