SF is one of the most diverse food cities in the US. Whether you’re looking for clam chowder, Dungeness crab, or even the best Chinese dim sum, San Francisco has it all!
The city’s cuisine is so varied that it’s easy to get lost in the city’s endless options. If you’re planning a trip to SF and aren’t sure where to start, here are the 8 best foods you can try while you’re there.
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1.Enchilada Con Mole
Enchiladas con mole, a fried tortilla filled with chile sauce and onion, is a common dish all over Mexico. It’s a simple dish to prepare, but with the right ingredients it can be extremely satisfying.
The best version is made with a mole poblano, a thick, rich, and spicy sauce, which can be adapted to include any number of ingredients — like chilies, chocolate, nuts, or exotic seeds — depending on your preference. Mole isn’t just a flavor, it’s a cultural symbol of Mexican cuisine.
For a taste of this famous Oaxacan recipe, head to Donaji in the Mission District, where the pink and teal walls instantly transport you to a beachside town. Order a glass of sangria, a bowl of richly spiced mole, and tamales with chicken filling.
Empanadas are a popular pastry that is eaten in many countries around the world. They are made from dough that is stuffed with a variety of fillings and can be either baked or fried.
In Latin America, the crescent-shaped pastries are a staple snack and are usually served hot. They’re typically topped with a meat or vegetable filling and are seasoned with vibrant spices.
There are many variations of empanadas, but they all feature a homemade dough on the outside and a filling with a variety of ingredients on the inside. These can include beef, chicken, pork, fish, cheese and vegetables.
The type of meat used can make a huge difference in the flavor and consistency of the empanadas. Some people like to use ground meat while others prefer chunks of meat for a more robust taste.
Cheesecake is one of the most popular desserts in San Francisco, and for good reason. The creamy and rich dessert can come in a variety of flavors, from fruity to boozy. It’s also an excellent option for those who are trying to cut back on sugar and carbs.
For the best results, make sure to use fresh ingredients. You’ll need cream cheese, granulated sugar, sour cream or plain full fat yogurt, and lemon zest and juice.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, consider a no-bake cheesecake. These are easier to assemble and will stay stable for longer.
A classic graham cracker crust is combined with a light, smooth filling of cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, and sugar. This makes for a sweet and rich treat that you’ll love to serve for family meals or get-togethers.
Mochi is a popular Japanese rice cake that can be eaten all year round. It’s an essential part of the Japanese New Year celebration and is associated with many other important events throughout the year, such as Children’s Day and Mid-Autumn Festival.
It’s also the basis of a variety of savory dishes. It’s often used as a topping on udon noodles, and it can be glazed with savory soy sauce. It can even be filled with ice cream and strawberries.
There are several different types of mochi, each with its own unique flavor and appearance. One of the most common varieties is Daifuku mochi, which has a sweet filling of anko (red bean paste).
Another type is Kusa mochi, or grass mochi. This is made from yomogi (mugwort) and is typically green in color.
The texture of this cake is quite unique, mainly because it’s made from short-grain glutinous rice. This gives it a chewy, stretchy feel that is addictive.
5.Xiao Long Bao
One of the most classic Chinese dim sum dishes, xiao long bao are a feat of culinary engineering. The skin of this dumpling encases a meat filling and a gelatinized broth that is poached during steaming.
You can find these steamed dumplings in Chinese food markets and yum cha restaurants all over the world. The pork filling is traditionally minced pork, but other meats are popular. It is usually seasoned with ginger and scallion.
This is a great appetizer to order with tea. You can also enjoy it with a good beer, wine or liqueur.
The main problem with xiao long bao is that they need to be eaten quickly because the broth inside hardens during cooling. This makes them a bit difficult to eat if you eat them too slowly.
The best way to eat xiao long bao is by using a soup spoon, which will be provided with each dumpling. This will help to dunk the dumpling in the dark vinegar and scallion sauce without getting any on your chopsticks.
6.The Rebel Within Cupcake
San Francisco is a foodie paradise, but there’s no place quite like the city’s bakeries. From buttery croissants and challah at Noe Valley Bakery to sugar-coated Berliner doughnuts at Mariposa Baking Company, there’s something for everyone.
Craftsman and Wolves is a Mission bakery that’s built its reputation on the Rebel Within, a sausage-inflected savory muffin with a hidden soft-boiled egg that’s quickly become one of Instagram’s favorite foods. Owner William Werner originally served the savory breakfast pastry at his farmers market stand before he opened his chef-driven “modern patisserie” in 2012.
He explains that the cheesy, cake-like Rebel is stuffed with sausage and Asiago and green onions, then baked to perfection. But it’s the surprise of a runny egg nestled inside that keeps visitors flocking to Craftsman and Wolves, where it’s sold out every morning.
Besides The Rebel Within, this pastry shop also offers kouign amann with raspberry peanut butter ganache and delicate Japanese milk bread. Its pastries are as beautiful as they are delicious, making this one of the best bakeries in SF.
If you’re looking for a classic and hearty meal, prime rib is sure to please. It can be prepared in many different ways, but most of them are centered around roasting it at low temperatures for a long time to achieve tender and flavorful results.
The pros of this cut include its rich beefy flavors and a deliciously juicy texture. It’s also one of the few cuts that doesn’t require a lot of prep work, so it makes for an easy weeknight dinner.
But you have to make sure that you buy the right kind of meat to get the best results. If you’re unsure, look for the USDA mark of approval.
It also helps if the roast has a good amount of color and streaky white marbling, which is small patches of fat that run through the meat. The marbling is what helps the meat retain its flavor and tenderness during cooking.
Cioppino is a classic San Francisco dish that originated with Italian immigrants. It combines a variety of seafood, like clams, mussels, scallops and Dungeness crab, in a tomato and wine broth seasoned with Italian herbs and spices.
It’s delicious and easy to make at home. You can even freeze it for later use!
If you want a more authentic cioppino experience, head to one of the restaurants on Fisherman’s Wharf. Alioto’s, for example, still serves Nonna Rose’s Famous Cioppino — a heaping bowl of local Dungeness crab and mussels in a perfectly seasoned broth.
A sunny terrace is the perfect place to enjoy this hearty meal. The restaurant also has a wide selection of seafood, pastas and pizzas.
It’s a popular choice for lunch or dinner, and is sure to please both seafood and meat lovers alike. There are plenty of options, from raw oysters to a shrimp cocktail and even a bloody Mary. And if you’re looking for something more hearty, the fried red snapper with lobster pho broth is worth checking out.