Most museum food is overpriced, exceedingly mediocre, and something you order out of convenience. San Francisco’s museums are host to an array of exceptions to this old standard. Good food should complement the museum experience, which is why San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum just reimagined their café, hired a new chef, developed noteworthy food partnerships, and relaunched their museum café in April 2018.
Sunday at the Museum is the name of this reimagined concept, and contrary to the name’s suggestion, it’s open every day that the museum is open. The name represents time to relax and enjoy family-centered hospitality.
The new chef, Deuki Hong, author of Koreatown, left his Executive Chef position in New York and came to San Francisco with big ambitions. He opened Sunday Bird to serve up Korean-fried chicken, has plans to make a fermentation lab (think huge vats of kimchi), and a Korean BBQ spot. His San Francisco expansion is trying to build onto the Korean food scene and make Korean food as lovable and commonplace as a bowl of Ramen or a kale salad.
Deuki has also partnered with Andrew Chau and Bin Chen of Boba Guys. If you live in SF, you’ve most likely seen the insanely long lines filled with people excited to taste the very ’gramable boba tea. Not having to wait in line at this “hidden” outpost, I did indeed order the boba and am also guilty of taking a picture.
Boba, or bubble tea, is a Taiwanese tea drink with Tapioca balls. My first memory of drinking boba was in San Francisco’s Richmond district in high school. I loved the milky tea with the gelatinous balls that I slurped up all together through a jumbo straw. While delicious and whimsical, this drink filled with sugar made this a rare dessert rather than an afternoon snack for me.
The boba from Boba Guys has elevated boba to another level, however. My boba tea had matcha, whisked with a bamboo whisk right before me; oat milk by Oatley (my favorite Oat Milk brand from Sweden); and homemade tapioca balls. I could also adjust the level of sweetness. I picked 25% sweetness, and it truly did not need anymore sweeteners added to it. Perfectly balanced, delicious, and fun to eat, I am definitely hooked on this drink.
For our main dishes we shared the crunchy peanut chicken noodle. The cold egg noodles were adorned with shredded cucumbers, scallions, and carrots. We also shared the jasmine tea leaf salad. The bits of green had the added crunch of fried split peas, fresh radish, and cucumber.
This meal eased us into our museum visit, relaxed, satiated, and ready to explore.