The First Bite: Culinary Trends That Originated in SF

San Francisco has always been a hotbed of trends, changes, and innovation. Food is no different. This culinary capital has fronted some of the largest food trends. Here, we share some San Francisco firsts on the food scene. Bon appetit.



Artisanal Toast

Artisanal toast proved that the simplest of things could be elevated with a gourmet twist. The concept was started in San Francisco by Giulietta Carrelli of Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club. Thick slices of toasted bread would be topped with everything from cinnamon, butter and sugar, to avocado and eggs. While some people thought this was genius, others scoffed at having to pay $4 for one piece of bread.

Photo/Modern FarmerPhoto/Modern Farmer

Photo/Modern Farmer


You could say that foraging started with the caveman, but many agree that, Daniel Patterson of Coi in San Francisco took it to another level. When speaking to NPR, Patterson admitted that the intersection of water and earth inspires his work, resulting in wondrous mixes of surf and turf and everything in between. This trend isn’t limited to restaurants, however. Places like forageSF have long been teaching the average Joe how to source their next dish. 

Inside the first Chinese fortune cookie factory in SF, photo courtesy of Jim Watkins/FlickrInside the first Chinese fortune cookie factory in SF, photo courtesy of Jim Watkins/Flickr

Inside the first Chinese fortune cookie factory in SF, photo courtesy of Jim Watkins/Flickr

Fortune Cookies With Your Meal

You probably don’t remember a time where a fortune cookie didn’t close out a dining experience at a Chinese restaurant. Ironically, something so tied to Chinese cuisine was created by a Japanese man right here in SF (there remains some debate regarding alternative theories). Makoto Hagiwara served a modern version the cookie, possibly derived from O-mikuji, written Japanese fortunes, and Kyoto cookies, at the Japanese Tea Garden, where he was landscape designer. Hagiwara made the first fortune cookies himself in 1914 as a thank you to supportive friends, before enlisting the help of confectioner Benkyodo. Suyeichi Okamura opened Benkyodo, still in operation today, in San Francisco in 1906.

Photo courtesy of Adam Jaime/UnsplashPhoto courtesy of Adam Jaime/Unsplash

Photo courtesy of Adam Jaime/Unsplash

Vegetables as More Than a Side

The Bay Area has a healthy relationship with health food. It is believed the concept came from the hippies in Berkeley in the 1960s, who focused on vegetarian eating, good-for-you-food, co-ops and the mind-body-soul connection. According to Telegraph, San Francisco is home to more vegetarian restaurants than any other city in the world, while groundbreaking restaurants like Chez Panisse made sourcing local, organic, and sustainable ingredients a thing. It’s no surprise then that The City is at the forefront of serving vegetables as the main course of a meal. Here, you can sip a hearty veggie juice or smoothie for breakfast, get your kale fix for lunch and continue the vegetable trend through dinner.

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The First Bite: Culinary Trends That Originated in SF
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