1. Pho Night in Photos


    Our pop-ups at Dear Mom have always been a special experience for us: we get to serve food in the Mission, where we spend most of our time cooking and working.

    At last Sunday’s Pho Night, the support was so overwhelming that we sold out of food early in the night. We would have loved to have fed every person who came out, but we will have to save that for the next time.

    Special thanks to Andria Lo for capturing the pho in photos and Amanda Luu for foraging liquor bottles and putting beautiful flowers in them.

    View the full photo set here.

    Stay dry, keep warm, eat pho.

    Valerie, Katie and Felicia



  2. On Turning Two

    A few weeks ago, we were asked by TEDxPeacePlaza to speak about about “What’s Possible.”

    We spent a few nights in the office, mulling over the question with some tequila; getting nostalgic about the past two years.

    We reflected on our first pop-up on February 2011. We started Rice Paper Scissors with a small grain of an idea: set out some stools and sell food on the sidewalk, just like vendors do in Vietnam. From there, we kept doing a pop-up every month, moving into bigger and bigger spaces, growing more ambitious with our menus and execution.

    That first night in Feburary 2011, we learned it was possible to create a little restaurant from nothing, and that people would be adventurous to go out and try snail pho on a small terrace on Valencia Street.

    Then we found Mojo Bicycle Cafe a few months later, and turned that into our weekly restaurant, where we’ve spent every Thursday for the past two years.

    At Mojo, we learned how having a restaurant (even if its only once a week) makes it possible to experience the joy of seeing familiar faces — groups of friends meeting over banh mi, watching babies grow into toddlers.

    For awhile, we tried to figure out how to grow our team. Was it possible to make it something bigger? Rice Paper Scissors has been our full-time jobs for the past two years, but now we’re happy to report that it also includes Felicia (our Catering and Event Manager) as well as Tim, Jimmy, Jake and Eric — our team of strong and talented cooks.

    When we started two years ago, we didn’t know what was possible. But thanks to our staff, extended community of friends and regulars, we now have a better idea.

    Thanks to everyone who’s been a part of Rice Paper Scissors. Whether it’s at Mojo or at one of our pop-ups, we are humbled by people who come out to adventure with us. We are here to feed you Vietnamese food - something different, something tasty, something that we hope you feel was a new discovery.

    What’s next? We now know that it’s possible to build a restaurant where we can all get together, not just every Thursday, but most nights out of the week.

    To another year of pop-ups … and hopefully a restaurant by our third birthday!

  3. We’re having our 2nd anniversary party this Thursday at Mojo Bicycle Cafe. Free Chinatown cake* while supplies last!

    *Chinatown cake is what we call the out-of-this world spongecake found at Chinese bakeries.


  4. Pho Night this Sunday

    Pho Night @ Dear Mom

    Sunday, November 17th

    2700 16th Street (at Harrison)


    Pho weather is upon us. It’s crispy outside, which is why we’ll be bringing three types of noodle soups to enjoy for Sunday Night Dinner on November 17th.


    First up, we have our Hanoi-Style Beef Pho. It’s made with a six-hour broth with sliced hanger steak and thick noodles that we pick up fresh everyday from our purveyors in the Mission. Make it Dac Biet (or Special) with extra add-ons of beef brisket, beef balls and tripe.


    The Banh Canh Cha Ca has all its components in the name. Check it:

    Banh = noodles (and in this case, thick housemade tapioca noodles, similar to udon)
    Canh = soup (a fish, pork and tomato broth)
    Cha Ca = fishcake, more specially, a dill cod fishcake, the lead singer in a seafood and pork ensemble including fish balls, pork shank and shrimp


    Lastly, our Buddha’s Mien is a tribute to the vegan noodles we once had in the Mekong Delta: glass noodles with fried tofu, kabocha squash and braised daikon in a star anise and mushroom stock.

    We’ve got small bites to share: dry fried chicken wings, potstickers, and mushroom pho rolls and warm red bean mochi pancakes.

    See you soon!



    Pho Cuon Chay - Mushroom Pho Rolls - 8 (vegan)
    fresh rice noodle rolls filled with beech mushrooms, fried tofu, and Thai basil. served with nuoc cham chay.

    Dry Fried Chicken Wings - 11
    crispy chicken wings served with a lemongrass and chili glaze

    Pork and Ginger Potstickers - 9
    served with soy and red vinaigrette

    Kabocha and Shiitake Potstickers - 9 (vegan)
    served with ginger scallion oil


    Hanoi-Style Beef Pho - 13
    fresh rice noodles in beef broth with hanger steak, shaved onions, cilantro, scallions and limes

    Pho Bo Dac Biet - Special Beef Pho - 15
    same as above plus brisket, blood cubes and tripe

    Banh Canh Cha Ca - 13
    fish and pork noodle soup with a tomato broth, housemade tapioca noodles, dill fishcake, fish balls, pork shank and shrimp

    Buddha’s Mien - 13 (vegan)
    bean thread noodles with fried tofu, kabocha squash, yuba and braised daikon in a ginger, daikon, mushroom, and star anise broth. served with scallion, onions, jalapenos, cilantro and limes


    Red Bean Mochi Pancake - 5
    a la mode with Fish Sauce Ice Cream - 8


  5. Halloween at Rice Paper Scissors

    We’ve got a special Halloween menu this Thursday at Mojo Bicycle Cafe featuring blood, guts and pumpkins.

    Blood: Our soup, Banh Canh Cha Ca (or Fish and Pork Soup with Tapioca Noodles - pictured above) will have huyet (blood cubes) floating alongside housemade tapioca noodles, dill fishcake, fish balls, pork shank, and shrimp.

    What are blood cubes exactly? It’s coagulated pig blood formed into cubes, common in Vietnamese soups such as rice porridge and Bun Bo Hue and other noodle soups. It adds a great texture and mineral taste. Even when I was a vegetarian, I found myself fishing for them in my rice porridge (instead of fishing them out.) Food writer Andrea Nguyen wrote an excellent explanation of blood cubes during her investigation of Pork Blood Pho.

    Guts: The Eight Treasures Rice Plate will feature spicy tripe with pickled turnips along with seven other treasures: Bo Luc Lac (Shaking Beef with Parmesan and lemon), seared cabbage with dried shrimp, grilled okra with housemade XO sauce, salt-and-pepper tofu, roasted kabocha squash, soft egg and dua gia (pickled bean sprouts).

    Pumpkin: In cookie form! Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies will be served as part of our housemade cookie assortment.

    Bonus photo: Last year’s Halloween costumes. Katie as Danny Bowein, me as an Asian pear.

    Come in your costume and bring the kids - we’ll have Asian Halloween candy to share!

    - Valerie


  6. Rice Paper Scissors at Macy’s / Thursday, October 24th


    A Night of Fashion

    hosted by Macy’s Union Square & San Francisco Magazine

    Thursday, October 24th
    Macy’s Union Square / Third Floor 
    6-8pm / free
    food, music, fashion

    more on Facebook

    We rarely get girly (kitchen life makes it hard) but we always love an excuse to. Macy*s is throwing a happy hour to celebrate fall fashion with free after-work fun complete with a nail/braid bar, clothing styling and food.

    The deets:

    -  pho rolls and cookies from us

    - pop up closet styled by SF Blogger Krystal Bick from This Time Tomorrow

    - nail bar Pams & Kin and Braid Bar by Le Burge’t Salon SF

    - jams from DJ Kelly and KiWi TIME

    Come get fed and done up with us! If you’re hungry for more, we’ll also be at Mojo Bicycle Cafe from 6-10pm with our fall menu: Seafood and Pork Tapioca Soup and the Eight Treasures Rice Plate.

    Valerie, Katie + Felicia

  7. A little over a week ago, we celebrated Autumn Moon Festival at Virgil’s Sea Room and were greeted with people up for all things round and whole. By the end of the night, little red stools had migrated to circles around heat lamps, DIY lanterns were strung along the fence, and Banh Pia (Vietnamese mooncakes) were portioned and shared among friends. We couldn’t have had a better Autumn Moon. 

    Photo credits: loveme.Joanna and pepotograpi


  8. September & October Menu at Mojo Bicycle Cafe

    Introducing our late summer and early fall specials: Eight Treasures Rice Plate and Banh Canh Ca.


    The Eight Treasures Rice Place is our way of recreating the family meal, but in one bowl. There’s usually a bunch of small plates in a typical Vietnamese and Chinese family meal: greens, pickles (sometimes two types), meat, cooked vegetables, fried things, sauteed things and so on. The idea is a mixture of textures, flavors, acidic and earthy things.

    There will be new treasures for you to explore each week! Pictured here: soft egg, chicken confit, crispy tofu and celery in Sichuan oil, galangal and caramel eggplant, buttery scallion corn, seared cabbage with dried shrimp and pickled bean sprouts.


    'Tis the season for Early Girl Tomatoes — and we have them here in our Banh Canh Ca, a seafood and tomato noodle soup. Salmon fishcakes, fish balls and cha lua (Vietnamese ham) accompany housemade tapioca noodles, which are similar to Udon noodles in thickness and texture.

    Try it this week and till the end of October at Mojo Bicycle Cafe, 6-10pm. Full menu here.

    Valerie + Katie

    Thursdays @ Mojo Bicycle Cafe

    639 Divisadero (b/t Hayes and Grove)

    every Thursday, 6-10pm

    Every two months, we change up the menu to include new dishes inspired by food we’ve eaten, memories we like revisit and vegetables we discover at the farmers market.

    Though dishes may change, you can always expect to see small bites, rice, noodles and banh mi on the menu.


  9. Phases of the Moon(cake)

    The Autumn Moon Festival is the time of year to eat mooncakes. So we made our own called Banh Pia, a Vietnamese version with lotus seed paste, candied coconut and salted egg. It’s similar to the molded Chinese ones you see around, except it has a flaky crust.

    Step by step photos with Katie as the chef and hand model.


    Soaked lotus seeds


    Lotus seed paste with candied coconuts


    Salted duck egg


    Putting our stamp on it


    Part of the Autumn Moon Festival is sharing them with family, friends and business colleagues. We biked around the Mission and handed them out to our favorite vendors, starting with Duc Loi Supermarket on 18th and Mission.

    Here, Amanda (Duc Loi’s owner, banh mi maker, and overall mother figure to us) gives us her approval.


    We also left a mooncake with the folks who make our rice noodles fresh everyday in the Mission.


    Come split one with a few friends at our Autumn Moon Festival pop-up tonight at Virgil’s.

    Happy Autumn Moon!


  10. All Things Round and Whole: Autumn Moon Festival Pop-up Menu in photos.

    We’re serving up moon-shaped items for our Autumn Moon Festival this Friday at Virgil’s Sea Room, 6-10pm. More details here.

    Autumn Moon Festival Menu

    Mushroom Pho Rolls (photo: Andria Lo)

    Ham Sui Gok (Crescent-shaped Fried Mochi Dumplings),

    Bun Cha (Pork Patties with Netted Rice Noodles)

    Pate Chaud (Chicken / Mushroom Puff Pastry Pies)

    Banh Pia (Vietnamese Mooncake)