Off the Grid at Fort Mason – San Francisco

Off the Grid is a a food truck experience more so than anything. I first stumbled on this event on Yelp, essentially a food truck market held once at a week at Fort Mason Center, which was once a military port.

Now I must admit, I’ve never been too fond of food trucks (especially those of the bourgeois sort), and Off the Grid didn’t really change my general opinion of them. Granted, there were a lot of interesting dishes I ended up having, given the sheer volume of trucks present on site.

At Off the Grid at Fort Mason. Like the idea, hate the prices.
Senor Sisig’s Sisig Taco

We walked around scouting for any interesting trucks to try and stumbled up on Senor Sisig (senorsisig.com), a Filipino-Mexican fusion food truck. Ended up getting a Sisig taco, described as a 6″ corn tortilla, served with onions, lettuce, a cilantro cream sauce, and some grilled pork. Pretty delish, I must say.

Azalina’s – a “Southeast Asian” truck that caught my eye.

Azalina’s (azalinas.com) serves a handful of Southeast Asian-inspired dishes (typically of insular origin, as opposed to the mainland), using a bunch of an eclectic ingredients. Laksa with seeds and beets? I’ll pass…

We gave Azalina’s crab tamale a try, made with crab meat, slathered in a peanut sauce. Interesting enough, but way too confusing for my palette.
The Chairman explains the gua bao.

The Chairman (thechairmantruck.com) was doubtless one of the most popular of the trucks there, serving up gua bao (刈包), a popular Taiwanese street snack akin to its Mexican cousin, the taco.

So the buns come from Clement Restaurant (金陵), a Cantonese dim sum joint in Inner Richmond.
Gua bao #1: Coca-Cola braised pork with Savoy cabbage, yellow mustard seeds, and Kewpie mayonnaise.

The traditional gua bao is pork belly along with mustard greens, wedged in between a fluffy steamed white bun, smeared with a grainy sweet peanut sauce. The Chairman has toyed (or tampered, depending on how you put it) with this long-venerated recipe, introducing a number of unfamiliar variations.

Gua baos #2: tender pork belly with tumeric pickled daikon and #3: green shiso, spicy chicken with toasted sesame puree, pickled carrots, cilantro, and cucumber).

The popularity of this food truck wasn’t commensurate with the actual taste. The portions were skimpy and the white buns were unsurprisingly small. A gua bao is meant to be hearty and filling. Or perhaps I just wasn’t open minded enough.

World’s driest chicken tamale right here.

Alicia’s Tamales (aliciatamaleslosmayas.com) mainly caught our eyes because its price range was well below those of its competitors. And we suffered because of it– there, I ate one of the driest tamales I’ve ever had, so dry, in fact, that it was ready to crack. Maybe it was lard-free?

Rice Burger

KoJa Kitchen (kojakitchen.com) sells Korean and Japanese fusion items, including an Asian-inspired version of poutine and rice burgers (which use compressed rice discs in lieu of hamburger buns). Now this was hearty and delicious! If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that caramelized pineapple pairs well with Korean-marinaded chicken. Please come to LA, KoJa!

Curry Up Now (curryupnow.com) serves Indian street snacks, off course, at obscene American prices. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good shot of the kathi roll I ordered because it was completely sealed in aluminum foil. It’s basically chicken curry rolled into a flatbread. They don’t kid about their spiciness. I made the mistake of ordering their highest spice level and my tongue paid the price.

Peace, Justin

Off the Grid at Fort Mason | website
2 Marina Blvd
San Francisco, California 94123

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