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10 Must-Try Atypical Tacos in San Francisco

By Tamara Palmer
April 29, 2014
Photo by: Flickr/gnaihc

Tacos have exploded beyond their Mexican origins into a worldly palette of influences. From jicama taco shells to ice cream-stuffed feats of deliciousness, here are the 10 most unusual tacos you can wrap your hands around in San Francisco.

  • The Real Korean Taco at Namu Gaji

    Why We Love It: This is a brilliant ethnic repurpose of the taco concept, using nori as the tortilla. Filling options include tofu and chicken, but it's all about the interplay of galbi BBQ-marinated pork short ribs, kimchi salsa and spicy aïoli.
    Insider Tip: Try one at the restaurant's happy hour from 5-6:30 PM, Tuesday through Sunday, or at the Namu Street Food booth at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
    Price: $3-$5.50

    499 Dolores St.; 415-431-6268

  • Photo by: Curry Up Now

    Aloo gobi taco at Curry Up Now

    Why We Love It: The Indian dish of cauliflower and potatoes is good for more than naan, making for a smooth taco transition onto a corn tortilla. Also available in chicken and beef.
    Insider Tip: Find these on the four Curry Up Now trucks as well; follow on Twitter for route info. There are also brick-and-mortar locations in San Mateo and Palo Alto.
    Price: $6-$10

    659 Valencia St.; 415-735-3667

  • Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum Pork Tacos at Tango & Stache

    Why We Love It: Furthering the T&S ethos of spirit-driven cuisine, tender pork shoulder is braised in rum and served on two handmade buttermilk tortillas with smoked strawberries and cabbage slaw.
    Insider Tip: Find this every Friday from 11 AM to 6 PM during chef Joshua Wilder Oakley's weekly pop-up at Mélange Market.
    Price: $11

    3153 17th St.; 415-549-8549

  • Photo by: Flickr/gnaihc

    Tacos tropical at Loló

    Why We Love It: The most ingenious tortilla in town is actually made of thinly sliced jicama. It's a crisp bed for the irresistibly crunchy panko-battered shrimp and mango relish.
    Insider Tip: Get two orders right away; it's an exercise in futility to just have one or two of these.
    Price: $9

    974 Valencia St.; 415-643-5656

  • Photo by: Flickr/ttkgeek

    Dungeness crab sourdough tacos at Bistro Boudin

    Why We Love It: Crab tacos are a rarity, but add the distinct tang of Boudin's 19th-century sourdough starter to the tortilla and it's an irresistible combo worth braving the tourist masses. Other options are rock cod and spicy rock shrimp.
    Insider Tip: The neighboring museum is also pretty cool: a quick trip through Bay Area bread innovation.
    Price: $16.95

    160 Jefferson St.; 415-351-5561

  • Photo by: Flickr/arndog

    BBQ Korean taco at Seoul on Wheels

    Why We Love It: For those who might be squeamish about sushi, this food truck takes a concept similar to Namu's but keeps the familiar flour tortilla intact. Seoul's protein of choice is bulgogi, a grilled and marinated beef.
    Insider Tip: Order some kimchi fried rice on the side and sprinkle it in your tacos.
    Price: Two for $4

    Roaming locations; 415-336-0387

  • Photo by: Flickr/elainey

    Sisig tacos by Señor Sisig

    Why We Love It: Sisig is a Filipino food staple, a stir-fry dish that shows off the tart flavor of calamansi or other citrus and some mild heat from chiles. It's like the squeeze of lime is built into the marinade.
    Insider Tip: The best way to try it is with the most common protein, pork head, but you can also get it in chicken or tofu if you're feeling less adventurous.
    Price: $3

    Roaming locations; 855-747-4455

  • Photo by: Michelle Edmunds

    Wax moth-larvae tacos by Don Bugito

    Why We Love It: Okay, it's admittedly not for everyone, but the self-described "pre-Hispanic snackeria" uses locally sourced insects for a filling taco that provides one answer to the high-protein shortages of the future.
    Insider Tip: The hardest part about trying these is getting over the knot in your brain; they actually have a fairly neutral, earthy taste.
    Price: $6

    Roaming locations and available for catering; 415-370-8292

  • Photo by: Rocko's Tacos

    Ice cream taco by Rocko's Tacos

    Why We Love It: No longer do we have to guiltily purchase a Choco Taco at the 7-11. Now you can get one with locally made organic ice cream and toppings. Choose your own flavor and dipping option; we like mint chip ice cream dipped in dark chocolate.
    Insider Tip: Previously a cart, Rocko's has recently gone mobile in a shiny new truck that's hitting SF events like Off The Grid Fort Mason and the greater Bay Area; follow on Twitter to find it.
    Price: $3.50

    Roaming locations; 650-762-5608

  • Photo by: C.R.E.A.M.

    Ice cream taco at C.R.E.A.M.

    Why We Love It: Choose your own ice cream, sauces and toppings, including cut-up cookies. We suggest loading up on turtle cookies or snickerdoodles.
    Insider Tip: We frequent the original Berkeley location due to its proximity to SF, but there are also franchised locations in Walnut Creek, San Mateo and Palo Alto.
    Price: $3 and up; $1 off on Taco Tuesdays

    2399 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley; 510-649-1000

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Places Mentioned

Namu Gaji

Asian • The Mission

Food24 Decor22 Service21 Cost$33
 
 
 
Namu Street Food

Asian • Embarcadero

Food24 Decor22 Service21 Cost$33
 
 
 
Bistro Boudin

Bistro • Fisherman's Wharf

Food22 Decor20 Service19 Cost$20
 
 
 
Loló

Mexican • The Mission

Food25 Decor23 Service23 Cost$34
 
 
 
Curry Up Now

Indian • Palo Alto

Food21 Decor12 Service16 Cost$14
 
 
 
Curry Up Now Indian Street Food

Indian • San Mateo

Food21 Decor12 Service16 Cost$14
 
 
 
Curry Up Now-Indian Street Food

Indian • The Mission

Food21 Decor12 Service16 Cost$14
 
 
 
 
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