By Tamara Palmer
I've been kicking myself every Thursday for the past month for missing the Mission Street Food truck. Between covering the SF Weekly Music Awards and being out of town the following two weeks, I could only salivate at the photos my friend was sending me from her phone each week.
Burrito Justice describes the circumstances (drama) that led them to retire the truck after a few largely successful weeks and take operations indoors to Chinese restaurant Lung Shan. Launched last night, the plan is to include guest chefs each week (and they're accepting proposals), but for the inauguration they stuck with their own menu.
There was a short wait, but nothing like the hour-long lines that greeted the truck. We got in quicker by agreeing to sit at a communal table, which turned out to be the ideal choice anyway, both for the company of strangers and the proximity to the kitchen. British crooner Morrissey and Atlanta rapper T.I. played on the computer speakers, and if you know anything about me as a musical obsessive, you know that put me right in my own unique element right away.
The evening began with traditional service, but that apparently overwhelmed the staff and caused long waits. By the time we were seated they had switched to "dim sum style," wherein platters of the dishes would hustle out of the kitchen and be delivered to those lively enough to wail for them. This proved to be a better strategy for them, and generally good for the people, who likely wanted to try several of the items anyway. But with that came a lack of control over how much of something one could get, or what order in which to eat the dishes. And it took us a while to figure the whole thing out.
But it was a great joy to watch my gentleman, a self-proclaimed "anti-foodie" and proponent of a meal-replacement pill to eliminate the hassle of eating, morph from hungry and questioning his need to be there to buzzed and happy from tasting new flavors throughout the meal.
The VSF (Vegan Smoked Fried Rice) had vibrant breaded tofu, shitake mushroom, scallions and cauliflower fried in olive oil; simple but power-packed with taste.
Turns out that good flavors come in small packages with this crew, and the highlight was the PB & J (Kurobuta Berkshire Pork Belly and Jicama) sandwich, served with pickled jalapeno and cilantro aioli on homemade flatbread. The champion of the previous truck menu, this will hopefully remain a staple of the menu even if most of the rest of it changes each week.
The Ono Kauswe (Burmese Coconut Curry Soup with noodles, spicy chicken, egg, cilantro, lime, chili flake and fried shallots) and MSF (Meated Smoked Fried Rice), the latter of which replaced the breaded tofu with Liberty duck confit, duck fat and cracklins, came out after we jumped at the ice cream, so we didn't get a chance to taste them. However, after three non-menu items involving spicy chicken then came out in quick succession, my companion opted to return to the land of savory for one with egg, cilantro and fried noodles.
The homemade ginger ice cream and "fortune" "cookie" were refreshing, although I'm not quite sure why those are in quotes on the menu because we got fortunes and it sure tasted like a cookie. Maybe it wasn't?
His fortune: "Orcs eat all manner of flesh, including human."
Mine: "If your dream is a lady, make sure you let it walk down the stairs behind you, so you can catch it if it falls down."
Oh yeah, and our total bill, including two Tiger beers, was $20.
Mission Street Food takes place on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to midnight at Lung Shan, 2234 Mission (at 19th).
Update: MSF is closed for the rest of November. Check their blog for more info.