The newest trucks I made it to, both one month old, are still working out their concept and their food. IZ-IT Fresh Grill hasn't yet figured out how to focus its Hawaiian beef and chicken tacos ($2), but the owners sell a Chinese fried chicken ($4 for two legs) whose fragrant juices bead up the moment you bite through the delicate crust. The recipe was perfected decades ago — by the owners' grandparents, who sold it at the Richmond's Kwong Shing Market. And at 51st State (, Francesca Salcido, Nathan Smith, and Daniel Gutierrez are doing high-low versions of regional American dishes, with sputtering success (and, as a former Seattleite, I have to take issue with the Great Lakes wild rice in their "Northwestern" wild-rice pancake). The promise of the truck comes through in its strongest dish: The Brunswick stew ($8) is dense with tomatoes and braised, smoked pork, and lightened up with creamy coins of fingerling potatoes and corn kernels that pop sweetly in the mouth.

Akash and Rana Kapoor's Curry Up Now is the first of the new-generation trucks to clone itself. The Kapoors' original truck has been circling around the Peninsula since last September, and in early April a second truck began traveling to San Francisco. Curry Up Now's chicken tikka masala burritos ($6.75) and aloo-parantha quesadillas filled with cheese and ground, spiced beef ($7.75) can be a hot grease-slicked mess. But not the beef kathi roll ($6), a thin, wheat-flour chapati tightly rolled around shredded beef, pickled onions, and chutney. Order it spicy, ignoring the barrage of disclaimers you must undergo before the cashier hands it to you, and the fervidly spiced roll vibrates in your clutches. Is it a chemical reaction, produced by the conflagration of cumin, coriander, hot peppers, and mint, or just the jangling of your overstimulated olfactory nerves? It takes just a bite of the kathi roll to get its layered, flashy flavors, and get the Kapoors' taco-truck take on Indian street food. Heck, you might get it again.


Buns on the run: Chairman Bao's convergence of communism and psychedelia.
Jen Siska
Buns on the run: Chairman Bao's convergence of communism and psychedelia.
The Chairman's pork sits between baked buns.
Jen Siska
The Chairman's pork sits between baked buns.

Chairman Bao
Twitter: @chairmantruck
Locations: Off the Grid; locations around San Francisco, Emeryville, and Brisbane

Hapa SF
Web:, search for "Hapa SF" (no, really)
Twitter: @hapasf
Locations: Off the Grid;8000 Marina Blvd., Brisbane

Primo's Parrilla
Twitter: @vamosprimos
Locations: Various locations in Oakland, Berkeley, and Emeryville

SF Crispy Tacos
Web: SF Crispy Tacos
Locations: Townsend at Fourth Street,noon-2 p.m. weekdays; Valencia at Duboce, some evenings

IZ-IT Fresh Grill
Twitter: @izitfreshgrill
Locations: Off the Grid; various locations inSan Francisco and Brisbane

51st State
Twitter: @51ststatesf
Locations: Multiple locations around downtown San Francisco

Curry Up Now
Twitter: @curryupnow
Locations: 225 Bush (at Sansome) and Off the Grid, plus additional locations in Redwood City, Brisbane, and San Mateo

Two more trucks too new to review: Señor Sisig ( and The Southern Sandwich ( A third truck, The Taco Guys (, appears in Marin County and San Francisco, but conflict of interest (i.e., I've known the chef for years) prevents me from reviewing it.

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