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Mar 11, 2006 11:55 PM

SF – Yucatasia - that roast chicken bahn mi ... & baked tamal

  • r

Yeah, this is the best sandwich I’ve had in 2006.

Elsie H in the post linked at the end describes it perfectly … it’s about the ‘succulent chicken’.

There’s a whole chicken leg in there, only the bones are missing. The wife brings this hot chicken leg, the steam still rising from it and starts tearing the meat off with her hands … I think plastic gloves were involved … but I’m focusing on the chicken.

Then she walks over to the table while the bun is toasting and hands me a piece of the meat to enjoy as I’m waiting.

For some reason, they remember me and I’m told they’ll make the bahn mi extra spicy for me (well, neat), but then they forget. Actually, they forgot I ordered chicken on the first go around.

I’m watching the sandwich being made and on goes a layer of pate (? It was warm and spread on like peanut butter), a piece of that red headcheese, some ham, and bologna … and I’m getting real impressed because I think … wow … all this and chicken too?

When they start to wrap it … I think … wait … it isn’t supposed to be sliced deli chicken … that doesn’t sound succulent … so I ask “Is that the chicken bahn mi?”

Nope, they are sorry, they forgot I said chicken. I decide to throw $2.50 to the wind and get both. I agree with CH Addict, the cold cut one isn’t the best … but that chicken is just great. Really, if you stop here, you must get the chicken bahn mi.

Also got the tamale today … largest darn tamale I’ve ever seen in my life … about the size of a Marie Calander’s frozen chicken dinner box … big and square. I bought a 10 pound bag of oranges at the farmers market and the tamale seemed heavier … and I’m really not exaggerating.

Yucatasia heated the tamale and it remained oven hot all the way from San Francisco to San Pablo, the car fragrant with banana leaves, chicken and corn.

From the few things I’ve found on the web, the Yucatan is one of the few places that bakes large tamales either in the ground or in a bread oven rather than being steamed.

It might be either a zacahuil or a muchipollo. Since zacahuil can weigh about 150 pounds … this was heavy, but not THAT heavy … I’m thinking it could be a muchipollo because it was stuffed with lots of pollo … muchi … mucho, that is. There was probably the meat from a whole chicken in there.

Very interesting crust like a sourdough bread.. The masa actually reminded me in texture and density of Louisiana Fried Chicken’s hot water cornbread.

It was filling and interesting, but probably won’t order it again. Very fragrant though. I still have a certain ‘eau de tamal’ about me. Maybe it was papatla leaves and not banana. For $5 there is at minimum four VERY filling servings.

Also on the menu Saturday

Mondongo (tripe soup … be sure to ask what it is … it involved a lot of pantomime … pretty darn creative when describing tripe)

Puchero de Pollo (Chicken Stew
)Pozole (it looked good)
Pollo Pibil – Marinated chicken wrapped in banana leaves and baked.
Panuchos, salbutes (the Latinos at Yucatasia always seem to order these)

Have no clue …

chocolomo de res – only thing I could find was it appears to deal with beef and tripe? (cocido de res con menudencias)

Enta matado de costilla (ribs … warthog ribs? No, that acuna matata)

And there are always things off the menu. There was mac and cheese wrapped on white Styrofoam trays and a large pan of what appeared to be spaghetti in the window that was cut into squares.

I would certainly have fun trying out the food in Yucatasia if I lived in the neighborhood. I’m glad a parking place opened up as I was cruising up Mission around lunch time. I always take it as a sign to stop.

Sad to say there have been decorating ‘improvements’. There is now a folding screen blocking the view of the formerly open kitchen.


Open seven days 8:30 am – 8 pm

2164 Mission
SF, Ca

(between 17th and 18th on the side Mission street that is closer to Valencia. Near the Foot Locker).

and really, it doesn't matter if they forget stuff in the chicken bahn mi ... as long as there's the chicken and bun ... everything else is just a bonus.


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  1. Yay! I am so glad you went back and liked it. That chicken sandwich DOES rock and I love these people. Thanks for the great report!

    7 Replies
    1. re: CH Addict

      So, have you tried any new and good things? Have you ever tried the pizza?

      Anything to avoid? Have you tried the pho yet? They have so many soups and stews on the menu, even though my first soup wasn't a success, I am thinking it was more a nature of the type of soup it was.

      It was the last place I imagined eating yesterday, but like I said, the parking place opened up and I remembered Elsie's post about the bahn mi and I don't know all that much about food from the Yucatan so it is interesting from that perspective.

      1. re: rworange

        Malik and I ended up at Yucatasia yesterday after finding Inka's closed. What a trip! I haven't read the various posts closely enough to keep track of the cast of characters, but I'll say that the young woman is highly entertaining to watch the way she interacts with the customers and running back to the kitchen to yell at the legions of staff back there. The place wasn't that busy --- I can't imagine how she'd cope if it were!

        We went with Elise's rec for the roast chicken banh mi and enjoyed that quite a bit to start. I pulled out the jalapeño slices and gave them to Malik. It is a plain version, but the chicken is so good, nothing more is needed.

        We eyed the container of orangish salsa, and I pronounced it habanero. Malik put spoonfuls of it on most of his food, but when I started to do the same, he said, "hot!" I just used a couple drops on my portions and that was plenty.

        We also had the mondongo, a beef and tripe soup, that was seasoned much like menudo. The shredded beef is the salpicon de res which has some radishes and cilantro mixed in. We folded that up in thick, handmade corn tortillas slathered with black beans. We also had some plain rice that was nice with the mondongo.

        My favorite part was dessert, a tall glass of hot arroz con leche. Barely sweetened and just a whisper of cinnamon, this was one of the best versions I've had in a restaurant.

        With two aguas frescas (sandia and tamarindo), our tab was $25, including a couple bucks for a tip.

        Has anyone else noticed that the daily menu posted on opposite walls list slightly different things? (vbg)


        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I know it's been a while, but how did the mondango compare with the version you had at Mi Linda Yucatan version? Could you get a feeling how they compared in general from the Latin side of the menu?

          I guess desserts might be another strong point of this restuarant. On my first visit I really liked that green Vietnamese dessert.

          Yeah, I noticed menu on one wall is different from the other wall ... and the sign board on the side walk ... and kind of has nothing to do with what else you can order if you know what to ask.

          You know that business about right brain-left brain thinking? Whatever side of the brain I use, Yukatasia uses the other. I wind up in total confusion. It's a totally entertaining experience.

          1. re: rworange

            I had absolutely no recollection of the mondongo at Mi Lindo Yucatan . . . but from the post below, I guess I did eat it. I suppose that means that Yucatasia's is better. (g)


          2. re: Melanie Wong

            Here's an update,

            No more banh mi . . . unless it's just been renamed "torta". Still as nutty a place as ever!

            1. re: uoha

              Note that my post is more than 2 years old and many things have changed at Yucatasia since then. The banh mi and other Asian dishes are no longer offered, for example.

              2164 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            2. re: rworange

              Sorry, I just saw this while reading Melanie's post. No, I haven't tried anything other than the chicken banh mi since my second visit. I keep waiting for a lunch to go since at dinner, the dueling chalkboards tend to be less full. It would be fun to hear how the pho is but it will be one of the last things I try there.

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                1. Went for lunch today since Mission Chinese Food was unexpectedly closed, and outside of maybe the shape of the bread for the tortas and rice noodles in the puchero, I couldn't find a hint of Vietnamese influence on the menu.

                  Pretty good Yucatecan food but I prefer Poc-Chuc. Saw the puchero go by and it looked really good.

                  Mission Chinese Food
                  2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    yeah, i wish they'd change there name/sign because it always makes me halt for a moment. per Melanie's 2008 post, there's been nothing Vietnamese there in forever.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      mission chinese is always closed on wednesday

                      1. re: vulber

                        It is now. It used to be open seven days. The sign in the window just has "closed Wednesdays" written in with marker.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          it's been like that since january "in an effort to maintain quality and consistency"


                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                        This is still high on the Cheap Eats list; we had a dinner for two for $16+tax+tip with chuleta, two tacos of cabeza de res and poc chuc; salbute de pollo and a bottle of sangria. Good, tasty, generous portions. The guys next to us both ordered the Comida del dia - Sopa de Mariscos - looked good, too.

                        2164 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Have you been to Haltun? We tried Poc Chuc again and I still think Haltun is far superior.

                          Poc Chuc
                          2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                          1. re: Atomica

                            thanks for the reminder - I'll return to Haltun

                            Haltun Mayan Cuisine
                            2948 21st Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                            1. re: Atomica

                              We've tried Poc Chuc three times on our visits to SF and if you order right you can get a fine meal. Would like to try another Yucatecan place on our next trip (previously tried the now-defunct Mi Lindo Yucatan on Valencia and preferred Poc Chuc). Can you expand on why you like Haltun the best of the three Yucatecan restaurants mentioned here, Atomica?

                            2. re: Robert Lauriston

                              When I went there a year or so ago, I was really, really impressed with their cochinita pibil taco... that's all I tried. I liked their cochinita pibil better than poc chuc's, but I always return to poc chuc because I like everything else there so much...