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Hawker Fare Enters the Mission

The Thai restaurant crosses the Bay from Oakland. 


“Knowing where Hawker Fare is and what it’s about, the only place that would work would be the Mission,” says James Syhabout about his decision to open a Valencia street outpost of his beloved Oakland Thai restaurant. Scheduled to launch in January, the new place is almost three times as big as the original: ”We’ll have a 30-foot hood, a large grill, and a wok,” Syhabout says. “all the toys that I’m not allowed to have in Oakland.”

The bigger kitchen will translate to a more evolved menu, one focused in part on Thailand’s Isan region, where Syhabout was born. The chef imagines splitting it into sections featuring particular foods, like chili dips or larb (meat salads). A recent trip to Thailand—his first in 20 years—played a big role in shaping his ideas for the menu. “A lot of things were eye-opening,” Syhabout recalls. “I realized, wow, we’re doing it right, but I didn’t want to stop there.”

After its San Francisco sibling opens, the original Hawker Fare will be undergoing its own changes: “I’m getting rid of the graffiti—that’s kind of my teenage years,” says Syhabout, laughing. “I’m going to make it more traditional. But it’s still me.”
680 Valencia St. (near 18th St.)


Originally published in the January issue of San Francisco

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