What I 8: Tim’s (@the_happyepicurean) best food adventures in San Francisco


Beyond the Golden Gate bridge, an epic food adventure awaits. We couldn’t have found a better guide to take us through this journey than local food tester Tim, @the_happyepicurean, and don’t forget to click through to the list Tim made on BestPlaceFor.com for all the great dishes he recommends.

Tim graciously shared with us the best kept secrets of San Francisco. We can’t wait to explore!

Tim, what’s the key to growing a great food account, and give us a tip for taking a good shot of your favourite food. 

I think what helped me grow my food account was I stayed focused on just food and took delicious captures. And the secret to those captures: I take them during the day with a lot of good light! 

I think that everyone who comes across your profile is impressed by the range of food and vibrancy of your photos and spirit. I also suspect some wonder what “Food Tester” means and how you got into that? 

Back in 2016, a friend was on the gram and encouraged me to join and so I did . I didn’t have knowledge on what to say or post. It was pitiful! 🤣🤣  But I studied and asked a lot of questions from other influencers. So slowly, I started posting food experiences from restaurants around San Francisco and worked on my photography too. It took two years to get noticed by brands and restaurants but it did happen. And four years later, FOOD TESTER came to be.

Pick one of your favourite food categories and tell us what you look for when you’re looking for the best there is in that category. 

Oh that’s a tough one because I love everything! 🤣  I think what comes to mind though: Chicken and Seafood. I look for freshness, modern cooking techniques, FLAVOR!

Name 5 of your go-to places for chicken or seafood.

1. The Lucky Pig

It’s a modern Korean restaurant in SF. They make the Best Fried Chicken!!  The batter is light and the chicken is so crispy GOOD! I’ve been there so many times that I became friends with the owner!😁. 

2. Tin

This is my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in SF. Everything they make is flavorful and so delicious! My fave is their Ginger Chicken!

3. The Vault 555

California fresh with wonderful modern cooking techniques! The ambiance is amazing. Get the Pan Seared Salmon with tomato, panzella, cucumber and roasted young onion. One of the best cooked salmon I’ve had!

4. Prubechu

It’s the only Guamanian restaurant in SF. I’m originally from Guam 🇬🇺, so I have to represent. I recommend the Chicken Kelaguen (chopped chicken with grated coconut, peppers and citrus) served with a thin coconut tortilla! Like a taco but with an Islander twist!

5. Barcha

A Mediterranean restaurant with a Parisian twist in downtown SF! I love their small plates and their Spiced Beef Dumplings are heavenly!

What is something you’ve eaten that just blew you away because you did not expect it to be that good? 

cactus cevicheIt was my first time in Mexico City (2017) and I decided to try a restaurant awarded with a Michelin star! The dish I had was a Cactus Ceviche at Quintonil! I was nervous because who eats cactus right?? I was blown away first with the color and then the presentation. The flavors were a combination of citrus and spice…. With a nice chewy texture from the cactus! To this day, it’s still one of my favorite food experiences.

Which other foodies do you love to follow and why? 

  1. @oinker.eats She’s a foodie based in the Bay Area and has a following of 22K. I love her food spreads and styling! We’ve never met but we do similar restaurant and brand collaborations! 
  2. @daniela_dish They are a mother and daughter team based in Philadelphia! They are home cooks and make these majestic Italian dishes that sometimes I wished I was their neighbor! 🤣 
  3. @charlesschiller He is a New York-based photographer. He doesn’t have a big following on the gram but his captures are just GORGEOUS!

Quick Bites:

Best Dessert/ Sweets? Mini Trio Dessert at ONE65 San Francisco


Best Breakfast? Veggie Scramble and Biscuits at Pork Store Cafe 

Best Ambiance? The Vault Garden

Best Meat dish? Grilled Octopus at Limón Rotisserie

grilled octopus

Best Seafood? Fish & Chips at Hog Island Oyster Co

Best Noodles? Beijing Noodles at Dumpling Time

Best Veggie or Vegan dish? Vegetarian Bibimbap at Nourish Cafe

Best Sushi? Sekiwake at Ozumo

What requests would have for people to help the Food Industry out during this challenging time? Can you shine the light on some people who should be celebrated? Anything else you want people to know about? 

Social Media is the way to get the Food Industry going! It’s the modern version of the “yellow pages”. Collaborations with foodies/influencers help too.

Check out the list of all the mouthwatering goodness Tim shared above. Which will you try first? Let us know in the comments 😊

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