food truck quick bite: a traditional Hungarian holiday!
There's nothing like the holidays in San Francisco. Sure, the weather doesn't quite have that hot cider chill to it right now, but the decorations are everywhere to brighten your day. Plus, now through Christmas if you want to buy local or small business, there are innumerable pop-ups to while away some shopping time and spend your money.
With these little markets you can also find a handful of food vendors and usually, a food truck or two. One of my fave places to check out is the Treasure Island Flea Market which takes place the last weekend of each month. I was there recently wandering the stalls when hunger struck. Fortunately, TIFLM has a fair number of food trucks hanging out right in the middle of all the action so I made my way over to see if there was any new one to grab my appetite.
This must have been my luck day as I saw what appeared to be a Hungarian street food truck of all things. I mean, how often do you see one of those? They are called Rill's or more exactly Rill's Chimney Cakes and Langos.
Okay, they are more like food trailer than actual truck, but I was definitely interested in this idea of Hungarian street food. Now the chimney cake thing in their name I've actually had in the past. It is a piece of dough rolled on a stick, cooked over an open fire and then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. It's like a crispy, sweet and sometimes hollow or filled version of a croissant. Thus, I actually skipped trying it. I know, a surprise for a dessert fiend, but I was in a savory mood and intrigued by the langos since it was deep fried dough!! I ordered one up and went all in with the traditional Hungarian version. Forget California style! No seriously, forget it unless you are vegetarian and really into avocado or something.
A flat round of deep fried dough covered with chopped chicken apple sausage, garlic, olive oil paprika, dill, sauerkraut, sour cream and a slice of tomato. It is like a mini fried pizza just without the cheese. The dough is fluffy and poofy and kind of like what you'd get with a funnel cake, though maybe a little more bready in the middle. It also wasn't as greasy as I thought it might be from the deep frying which is good since you get a lot of moisture from the toppings. The sausage is nice and has a bit of a smoky taste, possibly because it is cooked with bacon, but the flavor comes from the other ingredients. The tang of the sour cream, the freshness of the dill (something I like) and the robust flavor from the abundance of paprika generously sprinkled all over it. Sounds like odd combinations but they all work as a single bite. A rich and heavy Eastern European dish for sure.
All together it falls somewhere in the region of warm comfort food, hearty street food and funky carnival food. The only thing missing was cheese, which comes on a basic traditional in place of the sausage. Or you could also go the sweet way and get with berries and powdered sugar, which would make it like a funnel cake. But you can get those at most any street food festival in this town. I'm gonna be partial to this savory take with the melange of toppings.
This is the first time I've seen Rill's around and it is great to have something different in food truck/trailers to choose from. There are plenty of Asian, Mexican and slider ones but offering up Hungarian really makes you stand out. While I'm not sure I could eat this every time since it is heavy and I wanted to lay down and nap afterward, if you are looking for a very tasty alternative, there is nothing like a little deep fried Hungarian to spice up your holiday market shopping.