There were some unusual food bites, among the more than five dozen food trucks and carts serving fusion tacos, rice plates, pizza, BBQ ribs, pork belly sliders, meatloaf, grilled cheese sandwiches, empanadas, tamales, crepes, grilled figs, sweet potato tater tots, corn dogs, cupcakes, banana beignets, artisanal ice cream and much more.

This was another great year for Oakland’s Eat Real Festival. New vendor The Whole Beast was determined to make a good first impression, by roasting 15 whole lambs and one goat on site, carved in front of the public, and almost immediately served in their handmade gyros.

My strategy this year was to avoid all the popular vendors with standard fare, and focus on stuff that I had not tried before. So here are some of the unique items that I liked, in no particular order.

Brick oven baked organic flatbread pocket, filled with spit-roasted citrus pork shoulder, fennel cabbage slaw, pickled onions and Urfa pepper aioli ($5), from Vesta Flatbread truck.

Fried smelt ($4), from Forage SF. Because I love eating fried whole fishies. Yummy!

Pickled okra in a pickles sampler ($5), from Happy Girl Kitchen Co. Never had okra prepared this way, it was sweet.

Two types of Silog sushi: beef or adobo tofu on garlic rice, topped with a fried quail egg ($2.50 each), from The WOW Truck. For something more substantial, try the Silog taco ($4.50) version.

Kouign Amann with nectarines ($4), from Starter Bakery. Other fillings: plain, plum, hazelnut, Tcho chocolate, and vanilla inside chocolate dough. The layers are like a palmier, but with more butter and caramelized sugar.

Other interesting items: the Beef Tallow Fries ($4, fries cooked in organic beef fat) from Belcampo Meat Company, but it wasn’t significantly better than regular fries and the portion was minuscule. And a Kraut Pocket ($3) from Farmhouse Culture, that’s only if you like sauerkraut inside a pastry made from the same dough as soft pretzels.

Photo Credit: Luis Chong