After a year off due to the pandemic, Outside Lands comes roaring back to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park this Friday, October 29 through Sunday, October 31. Not only is the festival a Halloween weekend affair for the very first time, but it’s also bringing more restaurants and bars than ever before to the park — because as much as performances from stars like Lizzo, The Strokes, and Tame Impala are the main draw, Outside Lands is also a celebration of food and drink.
Food Curator Tanya Kollar has lined up some 85 restaurants for this year’s event. The majority of the restaurant options will be available in the Taste of the Bay Area section of the festival, while drinks will be spread out between Wine Lands, Beer Lands, and Cocktail Magic. You can check out the full list of participating food and drink vendors on the Outside Lands website, but if you like to come prepared with a plan for whenever hunger strikes, here’s a list of restaurants you may want to seek out:
Chef Francis Ang’s delicately layered Filipino fare landed in Fisherman’s Wharf earlier this year but you can try his signature sisig fried rice and pork lumpia this weekend in the Taste of the Bay Area. The former pastry chef is also offering something sweet: Carioca rice donuts.
Abanico Coffee Roasters
Caffeine addicts at a music festival could do a whole heck of a lot worse than Abanico Coffee Roasters, Ana Valle’s Salvadoran coffee shop in the Mission. She’ll be serving cafe de olla, sweetened with piloncillo raw sugar and scented with cinnamon, plus purple Iced butterfly pea flower tea.
Haven’t made it to Richmond to experience the popular quesabirria tacos at this former pop-up turned brick-and-mortar? No worries, you can get your cheesy fix at Outside Lands, where the red-tinted birria tacos can be dipped in consomme and showered with cilantro and diced white onions. For a less meaty meal, they’ll also have fresas con crema.
Oakland’s Nyum Bai serves spicy yellow curry and long-simmered noodle soup at its retro-fab Fruitvale restaurant and has earned national acclaim for its brand of vibrant street food. If you want to be thrown all the way back to 1960s Cambodia at Outside Lands, try the restaurant’s stir-fried noodles and Khmer crispy fried chicken tossed with citrus salt and kampot peppercorn. For a beverage, try the Thai tea with oatmilk.
Down in Lower Haight, this modern Mexican restaurant gives vegetables the star treatment and this weekend that means sweet potato tacos alongside chips and queso — and for the meat-eaters there’s also carnitas tostadas.
Ox + Tiger
This Filipino and Japanese-inspired pop-up is a favorite for dishes like Japanese fried chicken sandwich and mentaiko pancit. This year they’ll be in the VIP area only (sorry everyone else) serving a few signature dishes including Bicol Express Rice Bowl made with fish sauce marinated pork tonkotsu; Chicken Karaage Skewers with sansho tamarind aioli; and Mugi Mansi, a roasted barley tea with calamansi juice, lychee jelly, and mango.
Chef-owner Nelson German debuted this Afro-Latino cocktail bar just before the pandemic, which means you may or may not have had a chance it experience its in its full glory. You should certainly make time to check out the lush East Bay space yourself, but in the meantime, at least you can get jerk pernil sopes, West African shrimp suya, and Impossible meat bocadillo at the event.
For self-described “Los Angeles-style” Korean food, um.ma in the Inner Sunset is the only option. At the festival they’re serving bibimbap rice bowls and Korean chicken tenders.
World Famous Hotboys
San Francisco fall usually offers gorgeous weather but if you want to turn up the heat, try World Famous Hotboys’ Oakland-style hot chicken sandwiches, which are battered and fried in one of four levels of spice — mild, medium, hot, and “hot hot.” This weekend’s menu also offers crispy chicken tenders.
Update: October 27th, 2021, 12:00 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect that ThirdCulture Bakery is no longer a vendor at Outside Lands 2021.