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Dec 17, 2010 08:09 AM

Closest equivalent to NyC's 53th and 6th [San Francisco]

.... Please tell me there's something similar in SF?

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  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. what exactly are you looking for? I dont find that area of Manhatten particularly interesting. Are you looking for a theater district? Sf has less then a million people , much smaller then NYC by a magnitude so your not going to find something with the same atmosphere here. Im very familiar with the area as I frequently stay ar the Marquis

      1. So this is a halal food cart famous for a dish of chicken and rice. One discussion on the Manhattan board says it's traditional Afghan food, but it doesn't name the dish. If that's true, there might be something like it at Helmand Palace.

        Helmand Palace
        2424 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

        7 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Aside from Robert no one even knows what I'm talking about.

          More opinions are welcome. BTW I'm not looking for actual food carts, but rather a place that sells food similar to that found on 53rd/6th (Hala Cart)

          1. re: KARLLL

            Since you know it's Afghani food and chicken on rice with kebob, have you considered doing a search for that or asking about Afghani food and that dish? Or is it all about the cart experience? NYC geographics mean little in SF, just like if I posted a question on the Manhattan board about 16th and Valencia. You know, WTF.

            Any way, the Bay Area has one of the largest, if not the largest, Afghan population in the U.S., so there are Afghani restaurant. Perhaps you should describe the dish or give other references to what it's like.

            1. re: ML8000

              I've had this item at the cart in question, and at several other carts. It is basically grilled meat over rice smothered in a mysterious white sauce. (I would say yogurt, but definitely adulterated with something because it really isn't tangy enough to be just yogurt.) The guys cooking appear to be Pakistani/Indian rather than Afghan. Most of the appeal is that it is a cheap greasy meal and people seem to be really really into the sauce (not my favorite). The 53rd cart stood out b/c the meat was fresher and better cooked than some other places. (There was a place in Queens frequented by a horde of South Asian cabbies that was better IMO.)

              I don't know of a place in the SF Bay Area that does that dish with that price point and that sauce. However, if you want to try something better (but more expensive), go to Salang Pass in Fremont, order the lamb kebabs and ask them to give you a side of the garlic yogurt sauce that goes with the aushak. (Or just order the aushak as well).

              Or you could go to de afghanan kabob across the street, which is cheaper and does a better chicken than Salang Pass. (Although I can't remember if they provide yogurt sauce--in any case, it will probably not be enough in comparison to those street carts). Don't miss the bolani at de afghanan.

              Salang Pass
              37462 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA 94536

              1. re: sfbing

                That's helpful, so it's really inexpensive Halal chicken and rice (seasoned I assume) with a white sauce. Total guess but I betcha that sauce is yogurt sauce cut with cheap mayo. Probably right you won't find it here given the price and the fact that the cart probably turns over food very no sitting on a steam table, etc.

                re: Afghan food, I've had home cooked meals. Some restaurants/dishes get close or surpass it (pumpkin and yogurt sauce) but most do not. Tilts your expectations and palette.

                1. re: sfbing

                  The white sauce tastes like it's been cut with a little mayo or something of the sort.

                  I know you're asking for Halal and Afghani, but I went to A La Turca the other day for turkish food and they have a great yogurt sauce and their shish kebabs look amazing. The doner meats are similar to the ones found on 53rd and 6th.

                  A La Turca
                  869 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                  1. re: jessijessi

                    I freakin' ADORE A La Turca, and I am not supposed to, being Armenian and all. It's amazing.

                  2. re: sfbing

                    Seconding sfbing's assessment. I didn't find the chicken and rice particularly compelling, even with the vaunted white sauce (which tasted like mayo + yogurt to me - good call, ML8000) and spicy sauce. Honestly, I think it's more about the experience of standing on line with a bunch of other people and scarfing down an aluminum takeout container of food on a street corner with 50 other people doing the same thing. If you got it at a restaurant you'd feel ripped off.

                    Soon after I came back from my last NYC trip, a Pakistani patient of mine gave me a giant container of homemade biryani that reminded me of the chicken and rice, except it was a thousand times better - aside from the excellent Afghan recs in this thread, I'd recommend the OP also look into Pakistani restaurants for chicken biryani.

            2. The original comment has been removed

                And, since you said a location, at 16th and Valencia is Simply Med, which does a killer schwarma, which can be had on a plate, but it seems no one is importing this strange white sauce they invented.

                8 Replies
                1. re: bbulkow

                  Pamir Afghan in the Emery Bay Market did come to mind but I don't know how it compares, esp. on on price and the famous white sauce but it's worth a try. The menu calls it Chelow Barg, rice pilaf or saffron rice with chicken kebob. I was in there yesterday and walked by and remember a plate goes for $7.95 now. It's good/okay but the rice is also steam table so it can get dull. I also don't recall much grease...which of course is what people probably really dig.

                  1. re: ML8000

                    There is always Wally's in Emeryville. Cash only, in an alleyway behind a bar past some dumpsters but the schwarma is very good.

                    1. re: JonDough

                      Sorry didn't realize this was an old thread.

                      1. re: JonDough

                        Look below..."Three years later" by Melanie Wong. The news is an Afghan cart opened in the Financial District.

                        1. re: ML8000

                          I saw that but the portion that I replied to was old.

                          As a side note, this tread inspired me to eat lunch at Wally's in Emeryville today. I really like the place.

                          1. re: JonDough

                            My what do you order at Wally's and what's good?

                            1. re: ML8000

                              I like their beef schwarma, the chicken is good too. I order with the yogurt sauce and the garlic (usually it comes with one or the other). I know some people that like the falafel, I would like it more if it came with more sauce. I like their baklava, which you get a small free one at the end of the meal. You get a small free soup at the beginning of the meal too. It is a hole in the wall place so don't expect too much if you go.

                  2. re: bbulkow

                    That's Truly Mediterranean at 16th and Valencia.