By Tran Nguyen, Winter 2011
I am always on the hunt for good, budget-friendly food in the city. San Francisco has never failed me. Everywhere I
turn, I find spots that have amazing food for not-so-fancy prices. Here are a few of my favorites:
Saigon Sandwich is located in the Tenderloin. You cringe? Try Xiu Mai (pork meatballs) Banh Mi (sandwich) and a Vietnamese coffee. You will want to go to the Tenderloin again. The menu includes the popular roasted pork, chicken and pate, or combination on a perfectly crisp French baguette. The sandwich also consists of all kinds of vegetables and very hot peppers. You can't buy happiness, but with $3 and some change, you can taste bliss. No wonder there's always a line outside.
Cha Cha Cha at 1801 Haight St. is my go-to place for Cuban food. My hands down favorite is the Cajun Shrimp appetizer with spicy cream sauce. I make sure to come to this place with at least three friends so I can have a bit of everything and share a pitcher of their sangria. For big dinner plates, I prefer the Bistek Encebollado and Cha3 Jerk Chicken. They are mouth-watering and their portions are generous. For dessert, you absolutely have to try the Homemade Coconut Caramel Flan. The food is amazing and the atmosphere here is always lively. What are you waiting for?
If the foods above are a bit out of your comfort zone, try a bacon wrapped hotdog at one of the food stands in the Mission that comes with grilled onion, mayo, and ketchup. Of course they are street foods, but the smell of grilled onion will lure you in—and put everything on the hotdog; you won't be sorry.
If you are feeling some Senegalese food and artisan cocktails, check out Little Baobab at 3388 19th Street. The ambiance is a mix of colorful, cozy, funky, and cool. I could not get enough of the Seafood Coco, sautéed Tilapia in spicy coconut curry over rice, served with roasted potato slices. My friend got the Yassa dish with chicken so tender it fell right off the bones. House cocktails are very tasty and fun to try. If you are in the mood, stay later for amazing African or Latin music and dancing. Before heading here, be sure to check out the website to see what type of music they are playing for the night.
King of Thai Noodle House's $5 menu is the best thing about this place. Want Pad Thai? $5. Craving Yellow Curry? $5. Roasted Duck Noodle Soup, my personal favorite, costs $1 extra. It is so delicious you will forget how unhealthy it is. They also have delivery service when you order $15 or more. There are many locations that you can go to or call for delivery wherever you are in the city.