If there's one thing that the food truck scene has cultivated, it is an expanded menu of global cuisine. Regional Mexican, Mamak Malaysian, Nepalese, and food from other countries around the world mingle comfortably with the burgers and pizzas at places where food trucks gather. Here are eight Off the Grid Fort Mason specialty items that will have you globetrotting and back home in a single night.
Azalina's Malaysian: Malaysian Crab Tamale ($8)
One of the most colorful and layered dishes at Off the Grid, this tamale is topped with a mesh of pickled vegetables, pineapple, sauces, nuts, and herbs. It's made with a special variety of tiny crab with very sweet meat that gets weaved into the polenta and given a nice steam. Each bite is unique and delicious, the flavors and textures never get dull, each one priming you for the next. This is something we hope ends up on the menu of Azalina Eusope's upcoming brick and mortar location.
Bini's Kitchen: Quati—aka Nepali Chili ($6)
Hailing from Kathmandu, Nepal, chef Binita Pradhan knows how to wrangle a larder of spices into one of the most interesting dishes around. A mix of sprouted and cooked beans in a fragrant and fiery broth is the best talisman you can carry around with you to ward off the fog and sea breeze on those days when they make their way past the Golden Gate and into Fort Mason.
Burr-Eatery: Frijoles Charros ($6)
Even though Burr-Eatery specializes in the flavors of the northern Mexican state of Sonora, best known for flour tortillas and beef, some of the most impressive dishes at this truck are vegetarian, like the Frijoles Charros. Rancho Gordo pinquito beans come brothy and tender, lightly spiced and thickened with cactus paddle. They're great on their own, but even better when paired with one of the burritos.
El Pipila: Quesadilla Guanajuato ($4)
Quite possibly the best deal at the market, this quesadilla is built around a large and thick handmade corn tortilla filled with roasted poblano peppers and Oaxaca cheese then placed on the griddle until the cheese oozes out. The whole thing gets topped with crisp lettuce and even more cheese. This new vendor to Off the Grid is also interesting because it specializes in Mexican cooking from the central Mexican state of Guanajuato.
France Delices: Savory Pies ($11)
This longtime-farmers-market- charcuterie-vendor-turned-food-truck-operator serves up some impressively tasty pies that are a cross between pot pie and empanada. Nestled in a balsamic-dressed bed of greens, the pie bursts with creamy veggies and meat without being too soupy. The star here is the cream cheese crust that provides structural stability, dairy richness, and a tender, flaky crust.
Nora: Patatas Bravas ($4)
Patatas Bravas may be a Spanish dish, but the joy of eating cubed chunks of crisp fried potatoes translates into any language. At Nora, the tapas bar staple gets the usual pimenton spice coating, but also two sauces, a kicky romesco and an intense garlic aioli. You'll buy these thinking you'll just have a couple and share with your friends, but let me save you some trouble and another wait in line: You need your own.
Raj + Singh: Samosa Party ($5)
Who doesn't love a great party, and samosas? These are a rendition of a traditional samosa chaat, where crisp pastry diamonds filled with spiced potatoes and peas get doused in chana masala (spiced garbanzo bean stew), sweet and spicy chutneys, yogurt, and cilantro. They're bold with enough heat to eventually make your mouth pulsate, but mild enough that it will make you warm without the sweat. The wonderful chutneys elevate this version to raging house party every time.