My cousin came to visit me a few weeks back during my late lunch break and we decided to head out to the mission where it’s sunny and has loads of small places to eat at that are open past 2pm. One place that I’ve heard rave reviews about is the Korean Joint, Namu Gaji. It started as a Korean Taco Food Truck and then moved into an actual location in the Mission, straight across from Dolores Park. Great location, might I add in that it’s right next to Bi-Rite Creamery (uhhh YUM!!!) and a few feet away from Bi-Rite Market and of course down the block from the amazing Tartine Bakery.
And since my cousin rarely visits me these days given we all have crazy busy schedules, I wanted to treat him to the ultimate Mission Street Delight by going on an eating spree. We had to stop at all 3 spots OF COURSE.
First up was Namu Gaji! I’ve heard this place draws long lines/waits so I guess coming at 3 in the afternoon is the best time as there was no one there other than us two. Sweet, no wait! However I’m assuming their dinner menu is going to be way more extensive and broad than the “street food/truck” fare they had on the menu. So for the true Namu Gaji experience, I would go there for dinner. The late afternoon menu offered more fried foods which is beer food essentially. Not exactly the healthiest stuff but heck, it’s a rare occasion right?
Here are the following items we had at Namu.
1. BIBIM – Cold Soba Noodle Salad with tofu, romaine, kimchee sesame dressing, fried walnuts and cucumber (Not one of my fav dishes. I was expecting light and super refreshing with bright flavors. The kimchee dressing was a bit blander than I expected and too watery for it to flavor every bite of the soba noodles. I didn’t really taste the fried walnuts at all. But I was happy that there was something in our mix of dishes that was relatively healthy)
2. SP NOODLE – noodles, cabbage, mushrooms, green onions, soy, sesame (I was really curious about this dish in that there are noodles in between a bun. Concept is a bit strange, carb sandwiched between more carbs but then again, I’ve had this incredible Shanghainese Street dish called Sao Bing Yu Tao where baked flakey bread is sliced open and stuffed with a fried savory chinese donut and it’s absolutely divine. It sounds so strange but taste amazing so I thought I would give this Sando a try. My verdict is that the flavors were surprisingly good but texture in this case was not. The bun was soft and the noodles were soft so it didn’t have any contrasting textures)
3. Korean Tacos – seasoned rice with kimchi salsa, kimchi remoulade, and nori (Beef and Tofu versions)
5. Gamji Fries – “poutine like stoner food” is how it’s described – handcut fries, kimchi relish, gochujang, kewpie mayo, green onions, teriyaki, and bulgogi (Save the best for last right? This was definitely the highlight of the meal. The fries were super crispy and oily which I love and the combination of the fries with the spicy tangy kimchi and sweetness of the teriyaki definitely makes for amazing bar food. I can see myself throwing some icy cold cocktails or beer with this “poutine” like wonder.)
NEXT STOP: Bi-Rite Creamery
Since We had a big meal already, we picked up some ice cream to go and shared one small banana soft serve. My fav is the Ricanelas, Cinnamon Ice Cream with Snickerdoodle. HEAVENLY
The other one I love is their Coconut Cream Pie. If you want something that isn’t sweet, their freshly baked breads, amazing quiches and sandwiches are also to die for.
I”m getting hungry again just thinking about these places:)