World Dinner Club

World Dinner Club
World Dinner Club

Friday, June 22, 2012

Azalina’s Malaysian and Off the Grid

I’ve been going to Food Trucks across San Francisco for about a year now. I had known good and mediocre food trucks in DC, but the game is more serious here. The range is astonishing. They are diverse with food from French to Filipino and with many fusion as well as traditional offerings; not to mention beer and cocktail vendors. Because of my frequent visits to Truck Stop SF near 1st and Market and Hayes Valley Proxy, I figured I wasn’t missing anything at Off the Grid. I was wrong.

I bumped into Azalina Eusope, the inspiring entrepreneur behind Azalina’s Malaysian.  I knew her packaged products well and [spoiler alert] we can’t wait to get her products into our subscription boxes soon. She asked me why I hadn’t been to visit her at Off the Grid.  I promised I would.

Off the Grid is a gathering of food trucks, organized in different venues around San Francisco.  The biggest of their venues is at Fort Mason Park.  Here, over 30 food trucks churn out food to hungry San Franciscans standing in line.  If there’s one thing people here know how to do, it’s standing in line. San Franciscans will wait and wait and wait for not just any food.  I think it’s a sign that people care about quality. When committed to the notion that there’s something good to be had, they just queue up without a concern and without fuss.

I was familiar with the delicious pork belly bao buns from the Chairman, chicken tikka masala burritos from Curry Up Now, roast pork tacos from Senor Sisig and others, but I was here for Malaysian food. (Fun fact: I was born in Malaysia, near Kuala Lumpur). So I was relieved to find that there was momentarily no line at Azalina’s.  Deciding on what to eat was not hard: the Penang Chicken Curry bomb looked amazing.  This tasty, tangy combination of spicy chicken curry mixed with shredded chicken was on a fluffy onion bun.  Fresh cucumbers on top made it a perfect reminder of so many Malaysian flavor combinations I've learned to crave. We thanked Azalina and made our way around.

After some Trinidadian doubles (puri-like fried flat bread with chickpeas), Korean spicy pork tacos and Vietnamese garlic noodles, I still wanted more Malaysian. We went back to Azalina’s and had pumpkin fritters with peanut sauce. We were lucky, because we got the last ones. The crunchy fritters were matched by the slightly crunchy peanuts in this rich, dark sauce, which is a staple of Malaysian cuisine. We went home happy and full and I’m still dreaming of that curry bomb! I can't wait to go back for the banana fritters!

Off the grid will be in Fort Mason tonight.  We suggest going early, bringing friends to share things, dressing warmly, and not being intimidated by long lines.  Oh and do visit Azalina’s Malaysian!

Want a fun Malaysian recipe and the great story behind this food? Check out Azalina's interview:

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