Taking A Secret Food Tour Around San Francisco

posted in: Food, Tours, USA | 24

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USAOne of my new favourite things to do when visiting a new destinations is to take a food tour. Travel has really expanded my sense of adventure when it comes to food. It’s hard to believe a few years ago I was a nightmare eater! Now I’ll happily eat crickets in Thailand or just eat everything a culture has to offer without thinking about what’s in it like i did in Morocco.

I used to be fussy and could never take a food tour, now I'll try anything when I travel!

I had heard about Secret Food Tours from a friend who had done one of their Secret Food Tour in New York and loved it. They have many tours in Europe, several in USA and now they have their first Asian food tours in Hong Kong and Bangkok. Our trip to San Francisco was the perfect opportunity to finally try one of their food tours.

Hiking, San Francisco, California

Now usually I would give you all the details when I do a food tour but since this is the secret food tour, for this one occasion I will be keeping some of the details secret. I know, I know, you want me to reveal the secrets but on this occasion I would be spoiling the fun of the tour for you if I did. What I can reveal to you is where the tour took place. We were sampling the foods of The Mission District, commonly referred to by locals as “The Mission”. This was the perfect place for a food tour in San Francisco. This neighbourhood is rich in cultural heritage and all these cultures have left their imprint on The Mission.

Taking a secret food tour around San Francisco

Some of the restaurants in The Mission have gained national attention and five of them have gained Michelin stars. You can see why we were excited for the tour once we found out where it would be. We were given a meeting location and our local tour guide was easy to spot thanks to his giant orange umbrella. Once we were all together it was time to begin the tour. Our meeting point was chosen because of how close it was to our first stop. This was where our delightful journey was to begin.

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA
You know a place is good when there’s a queue before it’s 11am opening!

San Francisco is home to the Mission burrito so it was only fitting that we started the tour with one of these. What’s different about the Mission burrito? It’s distinguished from other burritos by its size and the inclusion of extra rice. The tortilla is also steamed to increase it’s flexibility.

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

We knew we were in for a treat straight away as there was a queue forming outside before the place even opened! We took our seats inside while our guide went up to get the burritos. This was a great chance for us to get to know the others who were on the tour with us.

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

When our tour guide came back with our burritos I just looked at it and thought “wow”. It looked amazing. I took one juicy, flavourful bite and felt like I was in heaven. This burrito was delicious. I could see why people had been queuing outside for it! This is what I love about food tours. We just wouldn’t have come here if it wasn’t for this tour.Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

Our next stop was very close to our first but this stop was a bit of a tease. You see, every Secret Food Tour ends with a secret dish. For our tour this secret dish was a dessert and as your mom has been telling you since you were a kid, no desserts before your dinner.

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

While our tour guide was busy buying our secret dessert, we were distracted by a shop full of delicious looking sweets. This was our chance to buy some to take home for later. I really wish we had got a couple of treats because they look so pretty!

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

Once we were done here it was time for a short walk to stop number three. While walking around you could really see the cultural influences. This really is a great part of San Francisco to check out!

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

Our third stop could have easily been missed if you weren’t looking out for it. Next up it was time for some filipino food. As this place was a little small we stood outside admiring the area while our guide went inside to order our next treat.

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

When he returned he was carrying several brown bags so we were left in suspense that little bit longer. We were each handed a bag and told that they contained egg rolls. I was super happy about this! They were crispy and full of flavour and definitely the best egg rolls I have ever tasted! To make them even better, we had a pot of sweet chilli sauce to go with them. You may not know this about me but I am OBSESSED with sweet chilli sauce!

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA
Is it just me or do I look weird eating egg rolls?

I was happily munching away on my egg rolls as we made our way around Mission for more delicious food. Next on the menu we had some Japanese food. We were asked if we had ever tried potstickers before. I thought hard but couldn’t think of a time I’d ever had something called a potsticker before. Once they were placed in front of me I realised I had indeed had them before. It was on this tour that I found out that sometimes these dumplings are referred to as potstickers for the simple reason that they slightly stick to the pot while cooking.

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

During this stop we were able to enjoy both meat and vegetable potstickers. These delicate potstickers were so delicious I could have quite happily stayed here and eaten a huge plate of them by myself. It was a tempting thought but I was keen to visit the next place.

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

For our final savoury stop we headed to a Michelin star oyster bar. I was very excited by this stop! But before we headed there we headed down a little alley filled with street art. This could have easily been missed if we didn’t know about it so we were so happy our guide took us this way. It was great to see a community project that supports local artists.

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

After taking the delightful detour we arrived at the oyster bar. We were coming here to try the San Francisco clam chowder. Sourdough is a big thing in San Francisco so the clam chowder is usually served in a sourdough bread bowl. However, as ours was a sampling we had our clam chowder in normal bowls.

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

Our clam chowder was accompanied by a glass of chardonnay and a portion of homemade garlic bread. These were the perfect accompaniments for our clam chowder. Because sourdough bread is so popular in San Francisco I found myself ordering garlic bread a lot more than usual and I can easily say this was the best garlic bread I had in San Francisco!

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

We did come to this oyster bar to try the clam chowder but it would have been an absolute shame to eat at a michelin star oyster bar and not have any oysters. So while we were here we were given the option to order oysters. These were not included in our tour but at $2 for an oyster or $3 for a premium oyster it was hard to say no. If you’ve never had oysters before you will definitely not want to miss this opportunity. I went for one of the premium oysters and it was well worth the $3. Plus, watching the expression on Danik’s face when I ate my oyster was priceless!

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

Sadly all good things must come to an end so off we went to our final stop of the day for some handmade ice cream. As I said before, all secret food tours include a secret food item and ours was to be served with the ice cream. As it’s a secret I’m going to be mean and not tell you what it is. After all it would ruin the surprise for those of you that want to take this tour! Just know that it was delicious and well worth the wait.

Taking a Secret Food Tour around the Mission District in San Francisco, USA

Key Information

  • Secret Food Tours around San Francisco are available all year
  • Each tour is small and intimate to ensure guests receive a personal experience
  • Your guide will be a passionate local who can answer any food questions you have about the area
  • Price of the tour is $69
  • Tours last around 3.5 hours
  • The tour includes quite a bit of walking so make sure to wear sensible shoes
  • Tours can be booked online
  • All tours include with a secret dish
  • If you have any special dietary requirements or foods you prefer not to eat, SFT are happy to accommodate this. Either let them know in advance or inform your guide at the meeting point.

*All information correct as of January 2018


Like this post? Don’t forget to pin the below image

Any foodie in San Francisco will want to take this Secret Food Tour around the Mission District. It's a great way to explore the local area and learn about the cultural history by the food

Please note that while we were guests of Secret Food Tours, the reviews and experiences written about in this post are 100% genuine. We value our readers too much to lie to you. Our blog would be nothing without you and your continued support!

24 Responses

  1. Wow how I haven’t heard about food tours yet!! That something I would definitely enjoy!! I have to check those out especially those in Europe! That one in San Francisco seems lush! I would love to try that good looking burrito and that crispy spring roll! Thanks for sharing! I am glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  2. Nice tour! I’m trying to understand the difference between the mission burrito and a Chipolte one. They both look pretty similar!

  3. I haven’t heard of the Secret Food Tour before! I also love trying new items of food in new places I visit, so this is right up my alley. I’ve been to San Francisco multiple times and will add this to the list for my next visit. I also looked on the main Secret Food Tours website and saw that they also offer a tour in Chicago, which is to be my next big US trip. I’m definitely going to try it out! I can’t wait!

  4. I was just yesterday talking about Mission with a relative who stays in SF . He said its a must visit due to its amazing architecture esp Spanish inspired. But this post makes me add one more reason to visit and that is amazing food options, Totally sharing this guide and visiting here soon.

  5. Food tours are always a great way to not only experience new cuisines but glimpse local culture at close quarters. The secret food tours by its very name add an aura of mystery to the tours. Would love to experience it, the surprise element does make it more interesting.

  6. Love a good food tour and it’s good to see their food tours can be taken in SO many cities (including ours – Boston!). Your post certainly made SFO seem much more tempting from a foodie’s perspective 🙂 Until we visit 😀

  7. Wow – a mouth-watering article – I particularly loved the chocolates, you definitely should have indulged!

  8. I love food tours, but what about a secret one? 🙂 So interesting! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience!

  9. oooh those treats do look delicious! I probably would’ve bought one of each, haha! This looks like a really great tour! So much that I actually am on the website now and see there’s one in Chicago—a quick train ride for me! Might have to put it on my list for this year!

  10. There is so much great good in SFO. It can be hard to know where to go. You can read blogs, visit trip advisor or even navigate around google maps or foursquare. But those methods can be fraught with risk that you will just end up at the place owned by a marketing savvy SEO expert. You have made a great choice. By picking a tour company to take you to their favourite restaurants you are more likely to find great places. Because if people don’t like the restaurants word spreads fast and their tours don’t make money.

    Good job not revealing the secrets. I am sure they will be very happy about your considerate nature.

    Thanks for sharing. Keep travel blogging. Adventure is better shared with friends!

  11. I’m not really into Mexican food, but that burrito looks so yummy! And the cookies at the dessert place, mmm… I would bring some home, too. The clam chowder and garlic bread also looks delicious. But, do you think 3,5 hours is enough to enjoy all that? Aren’t you full?

  12. You guys are killing my diet over here! I will definitely have to research Secret Food Tours for the cities we are planning on travelling too!
    The food you guys experienced on your secret food tour in San Francisco looks amazing. Those Mission Burritos look off the hook yummy. As for the desserts, anything chocolate is my kryptonite!
    Then Egg Rolls? Talk about all the best cultural foods you associate with San Fran…what a great food experience!

  13. Those Christmas baked goods look so scrumptious! We visited San Fran on a layover in 2013 and the only food I got to try was a bagel in the hostel – not perhaps the most representative of the area’s cuisine! We’d love to return soon to see more (and taste more!) of the city.

  14. Not so much of a foodie but the sight of those desserts is making me one. They look absolutely yummy and maybe I might skip the other parts of the food just to fill my stomach with those goodies. I might have a sugar rush after that but will deal with it later ..ha ha!

  15. Megan Jerrard

    Super impressed that travel has helped you to expand what you’re willing to eat. I’m not a nightmare eater lol but even so I don’t think I would be able to take on crickets! 😀 Secret food tours sound great – I’ve heard amazing things about The Mission neighborhood in San Fran. It looks like the tour hits some amazing places, that burrito looks fabulous! And they are definitely some delicious looking sweets! I love that the tour groups are small so that it’s an intimate experience. Will definitely look them up when we hit up San Fran next 🙂

  16. Travelling has indeed broadened my knowledge but when it comes to food I am not sure if I can handle some of the South East Asian delicacies! SFO food tour seems to focus on the choicest dishes and that in itself is impressive. I have never tasted Oyster maybe I have been waiting to be in SFO 🙂

  17. I love how part of this tour is secret! That’s so intriguing. Those desserts look really yummy and I love how they had veggie potstickers. I wonder if part of this tour could be adapted for vegans like myself, as San Francisco is so vegan friendly?

  18. Those potstickers look delicious and right up my street! I love how unique a secret food tour sounds. Next time I am in San Fransico I will be sure to do one of these. It’s actually the first time I have heard about these sort of tours!

  19. I love taking food tours when we visit a new city. It’s such a fun way to experience the food culture of a new place and sample a variety of foods. I’ll eat most anything too, but not quite sure I’d go as far as the crickets/bugs, lol! A secret food tour is a fun concept, and The Mission would be a perfect neighborhood for it too! Sounds like the variety of your food was really good and everything looks delicious, especially the burrito. Would love to check this tour out sometime!

  20. Well that’s pretty cool! I have never heard of secret food tours before but I love getting a surprise at the end – especially if it’s a desert! (and served with homemade ice cream) The Mission would be a great place to go on a food tour. There is so much amazing international cuisine in that part of San Francisco. Many people says it has the best burritos in the USA!

  21. This sounds like a really fun tour! I actually had no idea that San Francisco is where the mission burrito came from. Those are my husband’s favorite things EVER! These tours sounds like a blast. I’ll have to check out where they offer them and take one the next time I can!

  22. Haha I like how you’re so hush hush about it because its a ‘secret’ tour 🙂 I love mission burritos too, and it seems like you were taken to some great places for some amazing food! I can’t believe I am such a foodie yet I have never actually been on a food tour! It’s something I must try on my next trip!

  23. I live in San Francisco and have never heard of this. Love it! Sign me up!

  24. Good blog Claire! All those mouthwatering specialities! Keep it up!

Leave a Reply