I gotta say, I am probably the more excited to write this post than I have been for any other post in the past. The reason is because last Saturday I had the opportunity, as a birthday present, to visit and chow down at the San Francisco Street Food festival.
Now I remember going to my local downtown Los Altos farmers market event during the summer, but that was nothing compared to what I experienced just a couple of days ago. My aunty Shelli and I saw everything from freshly baked cheesecakes to juicy pork sandwiches to fried oreos. There were probably about 30 total food stands, each with more individual options. There was a little bit of every cuisine there with products that blew my mind. For example, something that I impressed me greatly was that one tent serving, seafood Paella, added dark squid ink to give the food a breathtaking shady color. But let’s get real here. A food festival isn’t a food festival without actually eating the food, something I haven’t mentioned yet. So now I’m going to display a list of what me and aunty Shelli tried:
- Rosemary Fried Chicken with Hot Sauce: My first highlight for this food is that it’s got great marketing. When you walk through the gate with a growling stomach and the first thing that you see is a steaming hot fried chicken stand, your feet naturally wander that way. After a long wait in line, we sat down for our first bite. I observed that the pieces all had bones in them. Sometimes bones can be difficult to bite through, but on the upside, the fried chicken was perfectly tender. Every bite felt like chewing through a marshmallow. In addition, the crispy, golden batter was perfect. Not too hard, not too soft. When dipped in the hot sauce, the fried chicken I tasted felt like it came from a secret recipe or something. Rosemary has always been a great spice, especially for meats, but that day I felt a “special” connection between it and the chicken. Man it tasted so good on the golden batter, exploding inside my mouth. Simply put, it’s really good. Like something that I would eat over and over again for quite a while. I am pretty confident that if anyone of y’all were to take a bite out of the chicken, you would be feeling the exact way.
- Dried Pork Chips: I’m sorry that I let you down a little on the title. I forgot the name of what I was actually eating (cramplins, krumplins?). I know that dried pork chips doesn’t sound that appetizing, but after eating just one piece, I knew that these things were my match. I recall trying something similar to it in France (I loved it). Before I say anything, they aren’t healthy. Let’s call them DPC for now. DPCs are flavored pieces of pork fat (it’s not that disgusting actually), that are dried and make a crunchy noise in your mouth. The pieces are about as big as half your thumb (estimated), and I feel like they are the perfect snack. Just imagine a piece of pork, but turned into a chip. Wouldn’t that taste kind of good? I was a little freaked out when I saw it for the first time too, but hey, I sure am glad that I tried something new.
- Corn On a Cob with Cheese: We all love corn on the cob. Usually people eat it with butter, because after a while, corn by itself can get kind of boring. At the food festival, my aunty Shelli spotted a stand featuring corn on the cob. After going in for a closer look, I spotted the workers dipping the corn in a bucket full of cheese! What a genius idea! They would spread a little butter around the corn, and then stick the cob into the cheese, which would then stick to the food. I was like “I have to get this!”. I only ate half of the cob because I wanted to save my stomach, but if I wasn’t so full already, I would’ve devoured at least three of them. The salty cheese and sweet corn brought together by the butter was a nice combination. I could feel the cheese sort of dancing around my tongue each time I took a bite. Overall, I thought that the corn on a cob with cheese was amazing and I want to eat it everyday now!
- Shrimp and Grits Fries: I’ve never tried or heard of grits. Well not until the food festival. I mean, that’s kind of the point of it. The SanFrancisco Street Food Festival is a place of innovation and creativity. They’re trying to get you to eat new foods and see new products. The shrimp and grits fries were very tasty. They consisted of a shrimp and grits mixture shaped into a stick and then coated with bread crumbs. There was also a sweet mayonnaise sauce that again, went well with the fries. The cool thing about this food was that it represented a southern take on French fries. Grits are pretty healthy grains, but I thought that they tasted just as good as potatoes. This was probably the food I was least familiar with, but again, that’s the point of a food festival.
- Mango Flower with Salt and Lime Juice: Not going to lie, this was by far the best. It’s hard to describe the Mango Flower because it’s greatness lies not within the taste, but the visual. As we were walking through the front gate, I saw someone holding a yellow, cone shaped food. The weirdest thing was that it looked like a flower. As the day progressed, I saw that many people were eating this food. I later found out that the yellow food was actually a mango. Now I love mango, so I thought “I’m not leaving here without trying the mango flower”. It’s by far my favorite fruit, but it’s also really hard to find it. Eventually, my aunt and I found the tent selling the mango flowers. It probably had the longest line, but it did move fairly quick. I walked up to the front and was amazed with what I saw. The workers were taking these giant mangoes, and quickly carving/cutting it into a shape of a flower. The salt and lime juice addition was amazing as well. I’m always up for sweet/salty foods, but the fact that the mango flower also included a sour element was mind-blowing. It was pretty darn cool (just look at the thumbnail…)!
I didn’t have breakfast that morning, and yet after only 6 foods, I was stuffed. Obviously, everything was great. My one tip for future food festivals/fairs, is that you should bring a bigger group. It was just me and my aunt that day. We didn’t finish even half of the food we bought. The point of a food festival is to try the food, not eat an entire meal at one stand. Because the portions were so big, we unfortunately had to throw away some of the items.
So yeah! This was probably the best birthday gift ever, so I want to give a big shout out to my aunty Shelli for letting me experience this awesome day at a Fantastic Food Festival.