Essential Cookbooks to Recreate Your SF Favorites at Home

Tired of baking bread? Yea. Us too.

Sourdough might be fun to bake the first time. But after all that proofing and kneading, the average aspiring chef might be bored churning out the same loaves (and your Facebook friends might be tired of seeing them).

But cooking can be exciting, and culinary creativity doesn’t have to be limited to the number of ways you can score the top of each sourdough dome. We suggest you put all that newfound energy towards diversifying your meals with the help of the following cookbooks, written and inspired by some of our city’s favorite restaurateurs and kitchen icons. With a little help, you can conjure many of our city’s tastiest dishes at home. 

The Boba Book
$22 on Indiebound

Trade in your morning coffee for these inventive recipes by Boba Guys, the San Francisco milk tea pioneers. Ranging from classics like thai tea or Boba Guys’ signature strawberry matcha latte, The Boba Book is perfect for all your sugary caffeine cravings.

We Are La Cocina
$29.95 from La Cocina

We can’t stop recommending La Cocina’s cookbook. Written by women of color chefs in the Bay Area, featuring recipes from dozens of regional cuisines, and compiled by the restaurant incubator that’s bringing equity into San Francisco’s food scene, La Cocina is a blessing for every home chef. 

Plant Based Filipino Comfort Classics: A Recipe Ebook Teaser
$9.99 on Amazon

Written by the same chef who founded San Francisco’s first vegan Filipino restaurant, Reina Montenegro, this cookbook is still in the works. Before its print edition drops, you can get access to a few recipes through Kindle: lumpia gulay (vegetable lumpia), laing (taro leaves cooked in coconut milk), palabok (or pancit — rice stick noodles). 

Burma Superstar
$29.99 on Indiebound

Burma Superstar is a household name — one that amateur chefs can actually take home thanks to this cookbook. Learn how to make Burma’s infamous take on tea leaf salads, or whip up something hearty and warm, like a coconut chicken curry.

Essential Vegetable Fermentation
$16.99 on Indiebound

Fermentation is poised to join bread and dalgona coffee on the list of pandemic cooking obsessions. With this guide, deli pickle or kimchi recipes might be the saving grace for any refrigerated vegetables that are growing a little too ripe for comfort.

The Slanted Door
$40 on Indiebound

Charles Phan opened his Mission-based Vietnamese restaurant, The Slanted Door, back in 1995. Since then, Phan has risen to fame, winning the James Beard Award for Best Chef California in 2004, opening a slew of restaurants including its iconic Ferry Building location, and publishing a cookbook, where he shares recipes inspired by the place that started it all.  

Grace Z. Li covers arts, culture, and food for SF Weekly. Email her at gli@sfweekly.com or follow her on Twitter @gracezhali

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