Young dudes Kan Hasegawa and Koji Kanematsu noted Americans' bottomless appetite for the rainbow roll, but wondered why onigiri ― seaweed-wrapped rice balls fused with fillings ― were hard to find. So the Japanese expats gave birth to onigiri business Onigilly, nursing it to health through La Cocina's incubator program.
Onigilly graduated to toddler steps yesterday, as Hasegawa and Kanematsu soft-launched their six-day-a-week pushcart in Justin Herman Plaza, part of Rec and Park's initiative to site food vendors on city commons.On offer Wednesday were Onigilly's three signature rice balls ($2.75 each, or two for $5), configured in the Lunch Set ($7): one with delicious slips of hijiki soaked in sweet soy, another with mashy-textured eggplant, and a third with bits of chicken thigh turned nicely vivid from grated ginger. Also in the box: quarter-wheels of pickled daikon and firm, small-bean edamame.
Tasty. And if anyone needs convincing that mobile food has the power to enhance public spaces while giving small entrepreneurs a wheel up? Just about the best argument the city could make now sets up daily (Sundays excepted) just across the Embarcadero from the Ferry Building.
Onigilly: Justin Herman Plaza, Market and Embarcadero, Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.