Antojitos San Miguel: Guatemalan Snacks Wagon in the Mission
Normally parked at 16th and Mission by the BART station, I caught it at 21st and Mission on a Sunday evening when its mango/elote cart took the night off. (Both usually have Thursdays off.)
When I approached the window, I started to ask my question about the tamal chuchito, $2, in Spanish, but then looked closer through the glass to see two young Asian women staring back at me in confusion. At first I thought I might have chanced upon an extra night of the Mission Street Food truck, which had been subletting this truck on Thursdays and creating a lot of buzz.* However, the young man taking a break on the sidewalk soon introduced himself as the operator of the truck. These ladies were just his friends helping him out and getting their first OJT.
This wagon is operated by San Miguel restaurant. The chuchitos were already sold out, so I ordered a tamal Guatemalteco, $2.95. The young man said that his mother makes them herself.
Wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf, the tamal’s strained masa was soft and silky smooth and well-infused with chicken-y goodness. Inside it was filled with chicken, olives and a strip of sweet red pepper, and unlike other examples I’ve had, the chicken was skinless and off the bone and the olive, pitted. The orange-colored sauce napped on top looks like carrots but tastes like a mild tomato puree. This was a delicious snack and I’d buy it again.
When I was done, the young ladies asked if I’d liked my food and recommended the tacos dorados for next time. This evening, the cart was selling fruit as well, so I also bought a cut mango in a baggie, $2, and dressed it myself with lemon juice, hot sauce and chili powder for later.
Mission Murals and Antojitos Walk -
I had planned to return last Thursday to check out the wagon’s other personality as the Mission Street Food truck, but didn’t make it back to the City. Alas, that was its last gig and the Thursday night alter ego is no more, as detailed below.
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Here are a few links that chart the beginning and end of this catering wagon’s alter ego, the Mission Street Food truck. Personally, as I read the accounts of the harassment, parking territory issues, plans to close during inclement weather, etc., I became even more grateful for the hard work of all the other street vendors out there. They don’t generate this level of buzz, yet I imagine that their daily dramas are no less, and they manage them without full command of the English language in many cases.
MSF Truck Recap
Mission Street Food — Drama!
Jen Maiser on the Thursday night Mission Street Food truck in “Serious Eats”
Mission Street Food Truck blog –
Antojitos San Miguel
16th St and Mission St, San Francisco, CA
i spied this tonight as i sped down mission st. on the bus, but this time it was parked in front of the san miguel restaurant. i couldn't tell if it was still open for business, but i could see lights shining from inside the cart. it was nearly 11 PM. i'm wondering what the regular rotation is, if there is one. anyone else seen it parked in front of the mothership (which i still have yet to eat it, bad neighbor that i am)? at that hour, it could be a nice alternative to the bacon dog stands.
Just thought I'd add a quick two cents on my beloved late night dinner option. The beans here are the best I've tried in the Mission. And since I care more about beans than about any other single foodstuff, this truck has quickly become one of my favorite objects in San Francisco. (I should add that I'm biased in general in the direction of Guatemalan bean production.) They're black, cooked into nearly pureed submission, and have a meaty depth that allows them to stand on their own as a perfectly legitimate meal. (Ask for rice or tortillas, or both, and add some of the fixings from the mini salsa bar on the counter.) I also like the Guatemalan tamal, an overstuffed chicken/pepper/olive affair, though in that category I think I'd give the edge to the delicious chicken tamales at Panchita #2.
re: Melanie Wong
All I know is that it's pretty much always at the 16th St. BART station on the nights when I'm coming back late from Stanford, which would mean Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Closing hours vary, since sometimes the lady who seems to run it is closing just as I get to her (betweeen 10 and 11) and sometimes she's not. I've always made it, though.