Outside Lands 2022: The Festival’s 5 Must-Eat Dishes – SF Chronicle Datebook | Hot Mobile Press

Festival-goers eat a sushirrito and tater tots at Outside Lands in 2019. This year, the festival hosts 94 restaurants, 18 of which are new. Photo: Grace Li / The Chronicle 2019

Outside Lands might as well be a food festival – and this year it’s presenting its biggest menu yet.

The festival is home to 96 restaurants, including many hits from previous years such as garlic noodle slinger Chef Smelly’s Creole, quesabirria sensation El Garage and ramenburger innovator Nombe. There are Michelin star restaurants that work with deep fryers like Sorrel and Lord Stanley. And tons of pizza, sandwiches, tacos, and other handheld foods that are ideal for eating while you groove.

For some festival-goers, sampling the latest foods is as important as seeing specific bands. There are 123 new vendors this year, each offering multiple items. Without a game plan, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.

Here are five dishes worth seeking out:

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The Pork Laab Burger from Oakland restaurant Jo’s Modern Thai will be available at Outside Lands. Photo: Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle 2021

Pork Laab Burger from Jo’s Modern Thai

This unusual burger – a fried pork patty reminiscent of Larb have an enthusiastic review by Chronicle critic Soleil Ho. Like the meaty salad it’s inspired by, it’s heady with lemongrass, garlic and fish sauce. Makrut lime mayonnaise lines the brioche bun along with lettuce and cucumber for crunch. Jo’s Modern Thai is known for big, unabashed flavors, and since it’s not in a BART-accessible part of Oakland, this may be the easiest way for some festival-goers to sample the exciting restaurant.

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Fowl + Fare’s chicken sandwich is ranked among the best fried chicken in the Bay Area, according to Soleil Ho of The Chronicle. Photo: Soleil Ho / The Chronicle 2021

Fried Chicken Sandwiches by Fowl + Fare

There’s always plenty of fried chicken at Outside Lands, but this is the only one that made Ho’s list best fried chicken in the bay area. Acclaimed for its creativity and homemade bread, Oakland pop-up Fowl + Fare plans to serve two fried chicken sandwiches: one with chipotle aioli, the other with a charred lemon-pepper sauce and lemon aioli. Both offer crispy thighs, a refreshing pear salad, pickles and a brioche bun.

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Bussdown co-founders Michael Woods and Solomon Johnson combine their background in fine dining with classic home cooking. Photo: Stephen Lam / The Chronicle 2021

Bussdown Mac and Cheese

Pan-African soul-food pop-up The Bussdown are on hiatus, so this performance at Outside Lands will be an exciting return for fans. The pop-up was known for combining the chefs’ fine dining background with classic home cooking like Jamaican patties, jerk chicken, and southern fried chicken. The gooey, cheesy mac with crispy edges was always a hit, so expect similar sized ones. Only this time, the mac is topped with gullah geechee-style shrimp, a rare treat in a festival setting.

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The Daytrip restaurant is known for fermented small dishes. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2021

Parker House Pork Bun by Daytrip

Bustling Oakland restaurant Daytrip recently served up a version of this little sandwich — juicy pork belly on a rich Parker House bun, given surprising depth by the sake lees in the batter — so there’s good reason to think the festival twist will also be delicious. The restaurant, known for fermented natural wine small plates, suggested on Instagram there would be a whole hog promotion, and the menu promises a vegetarian alternative to heirloom vegetable rice bowls.

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People are waiting for food at the Outside Lands music festival in 2021. For some festival-goers, sampling the latest foods is as important as seeing specific bands. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2021

Om Sabor vegan tacos

Unlike some vegan restaurants that focus on high-tech fake meats, Om Sabor leans toward veggies. It has made a name for itself for inventive, globally-inspired interpretations of Mexican fare, which it typically serves at Phonobar in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. At Outside Lands, the pop-up fills corn tortillas with caramelized onions dyed purple by hibiscus, along with shredded cabbage and avocado mousse for the spiciness. There will also be a meatless version of Chili Verde loaded with tomatillos and pinto beans.

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