|Suvir Saran with Azalina Eusope at the SF Street Food Night Market, 2012|
There are some chefs who cook with their whole being, with their blood, sweat and tears, with their heart and with their soul. Azalina Eusope is one of those chefs and you can taste her passion in every bite. I am not alone in feeling honored to eat her food.
Azalina’s specialty is Malaysian street food, and it should come as no surprise because she’s a fifth generation street food vendor. Fifth generation. I have no idea what my great grandparents did, let alone my great great grandparents. I know they didn’t eat food nearly as vibrant and textured and layered with flavors as what Azalina cooks. Malaysian street food is not subtle or elegant, it’s in your face, big, bold, exciting, and comforting all at once. It demands your attention and you will be happy to give it.
I could tell you that Azalina is an inspiring role model, a success story, an immigrant, a member of the Mamak tribe renowned for their cooking abilities. But I’d rather just encourage you to eat her food. While she makes regular appearances at Off The Grid Fort Mason (a street food event) most of the year, and her prepared food is showing up in places like Bi-Rite and Whole Foods, there is another way you can enjoy it. There is one more pop-up dinner she will be doing at Wise Sons Deli next Sunday night, March 10th. But I must warn you, it’s a small restaurant and it gets very crowded so...
Come early and prepare to stand in line
Come with a very small group (2-4 people max)
Come prepared to eat!
The a la carte menu changes every week, so you can check Azalina's website if you’d like to know what she’ll be serving. This is what I had this past Sunday night:
This sour and tangy tamarind based noodle soup with a healthy dose of spice has mackerel and was topped with slices of cucumber, chile, red onion and pineapple. Asam laksa is very delicious, but don’t just take my word for it, CNN listed it as the #7 most delicious dish in the world in 2011.
This is another popular street food dish, with yam, potatoes, tomato and spices, hand made noodles, fritters, drenched in a very rich and sweet curry like gravy and garnished with peanuts and herbs and a hard boiled egg. Pure comfort.
Sweet potato dumplings
These chewy dumplings had a dash of coconut cream and some fresh sprouts.
Azalina’s Pop up
Wise Sons Deli
3150 24th St
March 10, 6-9 pm.