Can't-miss treats at the upcoming SF Street Food Fest

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The smells of deliciousness were overwhelming. Where do we start?!

As Sam Love and I wandered around the La Cocina media preview for August 17's San Francisco Street Food Festival, everywhere we looked there were delightful taste treats, colorful, fresh and also deep fried. I'll take four of each, thank you.

We made the rounds, chatting with fantastic chefs who are living their dreams, whipping up flavors from around the world. We tried everything and, while we enjoyed it all, becoming clean plate champions many times over, there were three highlights that made our short list. If you don't have the stomach to make it to all the vendors at the Street Food Festival, we'd recommend trying these first:

Chiefo's Kitchen
Chiefo served plantain and chocolate bread pudding that was soft and heavenly, but also punched back with a sinful slap of rum. Chiefo's Kitchen West African flavors are not to miss. Check her out at the Night Market!

Azalina's Malaysian
I live for Azalina's smile. She could hand me a slice of cold leftover pizza, and with that smile, it would taste like the most exquisite dish. The fact is, Azalina cooks with tremendous love and care, and eating her food is therapy for the soul. She is an amazing chef, from a long family line of street vendors from Penang, and her food explodes with the island's spices, but also takes advantage of our freshest local California produce. She prepared sweet potato dumplings, decorated with colorful fruit and veggie bonnets. So yum!

Hella Vegan Eats
Two words: doughnut burger. Wait -- it's not what you're thinking! It's a doughnut sandwich stuffed with a beet and kamut patty, topped with kale, pickled red onions and dill weed, and squirted with secret sauce. It's pretty much the cutest thing ever, perfectly balancing the most unhealthy and healthy food items in a few giant bites, and worth unhinging your jaw for. Vegan can definitely be bad-ass.

Photos by Bowerbird Photography