I do have a bit of a soft spot for any sort of Asian food, and Asian “street” food is becoming incredibly popular (and tasty) all over the world. So when I was spending a day with a friend in the Marina, we decided to walk over and give Saiwalks a try. Saiwalks is Vietnamese street food, and I imagine gets its name from a pun involving sidewalks on the side of the street and Saigon. It definitely had some interesting stuff on the menu, so I was eager to head over and try it out.
It wasn’t too busy at lunchtime — the Marina is definitely not Soma or Fidi, is it? So we got a table right away and decided to order two of the “beer bites” to start: sweet potato fries and chicken skewers. We both decided on a coconut crepe because it sounded really interesting. I went for the “famous” shrimp and pork crepe. I also got some Thai Iced Tea because I’m a huge fan.
The fries arrived first, and while I felt they were slightly undercooked (which seems to be a common theme with fries in the US for me), the dipping sauce that came with them was phenomenal. Both of us were really impressed by it, and it gave us high hopes for the rest of our dishes. The chicken skewers followed, and they were just presented really strangely. They were served on skewers. On toast. And there wasn’t really any sort of sauce, so it was just some dry chicken on some dry toast. They were screaming for a peanut sauce, or even that sauce that came with the fries. They were just sad and disappointing.
I enjoyed my tea, although it was served in a hipster mason jar with a handle. I thought those were last decade? Apparently they are still popular. When the crepe arrived, it did look pretty fantastic. Sadly, that’s where it ends. The crepe itself was crispy and had an interesting flavor, but the filling was pretty bland and boring, and not at all what I would relate to any sort of Asian food. They do provide a selection of sauces at the table, so after adding a significant amount of soy sauce (for the salt, because why do people in the bar area insist on not using salt?) and some sriracha for some heat, it really helped quite a bit. We both said if they had just put some of that sauce that came with the fries on it, it would have improved things considerably.
I left really disappointed honestly. I love the concept of the place, and the atmosphere and service were fine, but the food itself needs a whole lot of work before it’s a place I’m going to want to come back to.
3348 Steiner Street,
San Francisco, CA 94123