Friday, June 3, 2011

51st State - Mochiko Chicken

There was quite a crowd when I arrived at Off the Grid, and I had no idea which truck I wanted to try. I scanned quickly with my eyes and started to walk around when I ended up in front of the 51st State truck, a new one for me. There was a crispy chicken dish on the menu and no line, so I decided that was fate and stepped up to place my order for Mochiko Chicken.

51st State offers up American regional cuisine, and their menu rotates to showcase dishes from around our great nation. Next to each menu item on their board is a drawing of the state it represents. I learned that the Mochiko Chicken is a popular dish from Hawaii. I am pretty much a sucker for anything even closely resembling fried chicken, so when I saw a menu offering of crispy chicken in a sweet sauce, the deal was sealed!

Mochiko is Japanese rice flour, and it makes up the base for the chicken coating, along with some other spices. My serving had mostly dark meat pieces that were then tossed in a shoyu marinade and fried until golden brown. The result is a mildly sweet concoction that was served up piping hot over white rice and green onions. Accompanying my chicken was a macaroni salad and some kimchee.

Before I even got my order I knew it would be good (it was fate, after all). When I tasted it I was in love. I really enjoy a sweet crispy chicken, but often I find the sauces of lemon or orange chicken dishes to be too sweet. 51st State's chicken had just the right amount of glaze without making it sticky. It was subtly sweet without being overpowering. The chicken itself was moist and juicy, and it was perfectly crisped and adequately salted.

I liked the dressing on the macaroni salad because it wasn't too thick. It coated the pasta with a nice garlicky flavor, and the noodles were individual pieces instead of one gloppy mass. The salad is served cold along with kimchee. The creaminess of the salad and the spiciness of the kimchee were a nice contrast to the crispy sweet chicken. I thought the entire meal worked well together, and for $8.00 it's a huge portion. I can't say that I could find any faults at all in this dish; it was probably one of the best I've had. I even recommended it to two friends who joined us later in the evening, and they too agreed that it was fantastic.

If all of 51st State's offerings are as good as the Mochiko Chicken then I may have a new lunchtime truck to follow.

  • Tasty food: check!
  • In Financial District at least once a week: check!
  • Hot guy who took my order: check!

Seems like they've got it all.

Rating: 4.5/5 (ratings guide)

51st State (@51statesf) $8.00 per serving

Does reading this make you want to try this vendor? Tell them that you saw them at I Left My Cart in San Francisco and support San Francisco street cuisine!

1 comment:

  1. The pasta salad was the giveaway. It's gotta be Hawaiian!


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