$5 Street Food Treats
Rocky Yazzie still makes traditional Navajo frybread the way his grandmother used to. Except instead of a fully-stocked kitchen or a head of gray hair, all he has is a portable cooking stove, the back patio of a dive bar and some of the freshest frybread we’ve had this side of Santa Fe.
San Francisco’s $5 Street Food Treats
Track down Rocky’s Frybread to enjoy pillowy puffs of fresh fried dough, topped with either sweet or savory toppings, for a pay-what-you-can price.
- By Sandra Song, FuncheapSF’s brand new bargain hunter & street food detective
Yazzie’s D.I.Y. mini kitchen is usually found behind El Rio in the Mission District on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays after 8 p.m. Regular patrons know to get there early, as the New Mexico native typically sells out well before the last call.
And why wouldn’t he? His frybread is comforting, homestyle food at its best, with each round of dough hand-stretched on site, and fried into a beautiful, golden puff best enjoyed fresh out of the skillet.
Turning Funnel Cake up to 11
Being served immediately also means that these morsels of pillowy perfection have the perfect amount of chew and enough nooks and crannies to put your stale, supermarket English muffins to shame. Think carnival funnel cake minus the sogginess and made with a whole lot of love from the very genuine and amicable Yazzie, who will tell you stories about his experiences growing up on a Navajo reservation while whipping up your order.
And although funnel cake is usually served with just powdered sugar (and maybe chocolate if you’re lucky), Rocky lets you get creative with your options.
Not only does he have a sweet version – with sprinkled powered sugar and drizzled with locally-sourced honey, but he also offers up a savory version topped with organic lettuce, tomatoes and onions, cheese and vegetarian beans.
And by omitting the cheese and replacing the honey with agave syrup, he can even make both completely vegan upon request.
Name your own price…
The best part though is that he uses a pay-what-you-can system, with the typical donation being around $5. Those who can pay subsidize those who can’t, all playing into the communal aspect of his business, where half the fun is congregating around his cart with a sticky shirt and honey dripping down your hands.
Pillowy puffs of fresh fried dough, topped with either sweet or savory toppings, for a pay-what-you-can price - http://www.twitter.com/rockysfrybread
- Where & When: It’s street food, so locations & times vary. Typically he can be found outside of El Rio (3158 Mission St., SF) on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays after 8 pm. Follow Rocky on Twitter for the updates.
- Cost: It’s pay-what-you-can but a typical donation is $5.
- Bring A Bib: Regulars will also tell you that the frybread becomes your utensil and napkin, so for messy eaters or those adverse to the idea of sugar all over their shirtfront, bring your own napkins or a change of clothes.
City Guide - Ongoing, Eating & Drinking, San Francisco
Submitted by Sandra Song