Rice Paper Scissors, Hayes Valley, San Francisco

Rock Paper Scissors serves up Vietnamese street food every Thursday at Mojo Cafe, in Hayes Valley. The little plastic red stools outside the cafe made me cotemplate sitting outside, sidewalk style. However, the chilly evening, urged us to keep warmth with some pho and sanctuary of the enclosed Mojo Cafe. The wooded cafe area, seats and tables had plenty of seating and there was no wait. In the very back of the cafe area, we could spy all the bicycles. All the staff were super congenial and the dynamic and sweet Valerie Luu (Little Knock) and Katie Kwan (KitchenSidecar), run the show and are really attentive to their customers. We appreciate their love for street food. Check out their fun Tumblr!

The Hanoi-Style Beef Pho for $11 with fresh rice noodles in a house made beef broth, served with hanger steak onions, cilantro, and lime was so satisfying. The rich broth, slices of steak and the balance of fresh, herbal accoutrements really warmed and made us happy. We definitely could not finish the whole bowl, but would return for more. The bowl of broth and noodles reminded us of our first trip to Vietnam and prompted dialogue and warm conversations about our families, travels and roots.
The Vegetarian Bo Bia Spring Rolls for $7 came with several spring rolls filled with with fried tofu, egg, fresh jicama and carrots and served with a thin, sweet peanut sauce. The rolls were fresh and had a nice twist of flavor and textural contrast with the jicama and egg, but could never beat our mom’s vegetarian fresh rolls, but still a nice reminder of home.
The uber decadent Pork Belly Banh Mi for $8 with perfectly caramelized and rich pork belly and decadent housemade chicken pate and mayo was definitely smooth and tasty. The with fresh daikon pickles, cucumbers, jalapenos, and cilantro cut the buttery flavor of the pork and pate. The sandwich was definitely shareable and a treat.
For vegans there is a Vegan “Smoked Duck” Banh Mi for $8 with soy/wheat-based “duck” with seared trumpet mushrooms and vegan mayo, which we would like to try.
Although we were stuffed, there were several desserts on our radar. I made a mental note that Rock Paper Scissors have Snickerdoodle Cookies made with Vietnamese cinnamon and sugar for $3. We have made homemade BMH’s snickerdoodles, but was curious about RPS’s version. If we are near Hayes on a Thursday we would be back. Strike that, when we want pho, we’d seek out Rice Paper Scissors on Thursdays.

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