AT BAY FC SOCCER GAMES, COME FOR THE THRILLING VIBES, STAY FOR THE TEMPTING FOOD

Most of the time, epicurean soccer (or football, depending on your taste) fans sacrifice their preferred scope of flavors when they venture out to a live game. To be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a basket of chicken tenders or a soft pretzel from the concession stand. But what if you crave a good game with a side of Korean barbecue — or, for the more food-forward sports fan, your Korean barbecue with a side of a good game?

At Bay FC games, which take place at San Jose’s PayPal Park, you never have to choose.

One of two recent additions to the National Women’s Soccer League and the first professional women’s team in the Bay Area since 2010, Bay FC matches have, so far, been short on victories; the team is currently in 10th place out of 14 teams at 4-8. But when it comes to entertainment and good vibes, the club over-delivers, which is really all you want in an expansion team. As the players and coaching staff continue to gel, the club has been consistent in supplying top-tier food options. Whether you come through for a midweek clash or a weekend afternoon matchup, you’ll feel victorious in your choice as long as you come hungry — and with the food trucks parked inside the stadium, you can grub from your seat as you cheer the team on.

To get the most out of the Bay FC experience, you should attend the team’s fan fest an hour and a half before kickoff. That’s when you should load up on your pregame meal, and trust me, you’ll want as much time as possible to map out your options and stand in line. The fan fest food trucks rotate depending on the day, but you can always expect a wide array of cuisines from South Bay businesses. If you’re seeking a twist on a game day classic like nachos, BBQ Kalbi tops its version with tender strips of beef bulgogi, nacho cheese, and pickled onions and jalapenos — in addition to offering the simple yet satisfying mound of beef bulgogi, chicken, or pork with a scoop of rice and a green salad.

The same goes for burgers. Despite what the food truck’s name suggests, Tostadas on the Road prides itself on a behemoth burger. It features an 8-ounce beef patty slathered with birria; crisscrossed with strips of bacon; blanketed in a melted melange of American, jack, and Oaxacan cheeses; drizzled with chipotle aioli; and sprinkled with cilantro and onions — plus an obligatory side of consomé. It’s not a bad deal at $21, but if you attempt it, don’t forget to stash a blanket into your stadium-regulated clear tote so you can take a post-meal nap with ease. (Just be sure to set an alarm so you don’t miss the game.)

Let’s say you want to zag a little further away from stadium fare. In that case, consider the spicy mango roll from Akita Sushi with spicy crab inside and thin slices of tuna, salmon, avocado, unagi, and spicy mayo drizzled over the top. There’s also the delicately pressed sandwiches from Speedy Panini, where the signature offering tucks housemade sausage with peppers, onions, and spicy pecorino between slices of ciabatta, or the messier gyros of Kabob Trolley, where a tzatziki- or hummus-spiked trinity of lettuce, tomato, and sumac onions will drip from your pita. And if you’re looking for dessert, all of Luv’s Brownies’ chocolate chip-flecked sweets are heart-shaped, from the hearty ice cream sandwiches to the sundaes.

With such tempting options, it’s no surprise that the lines at each of these food trucks stretch long every game, but they operate through halftime in case you missed your first window or want to top up. And as you bask in the inspiring tenacity of Bay FC forward Racheal Kundananji or the confident composure of midfielder (and San Jose native) Joelle Anderson as airplanes land at San José Mineta Airport behind the stadium, maybe you’ll also be sipping from one of the team’s themed drinks, like the chamoy- and Tajin-rimmed orange margarita that matches the team’s accent color.

Do all that, or your version of it, and I dare you not to become a fan.

2024-06-13T18:31:32Z dg43tfdfdgfd