Best No-Frills Vietnamese San Francisco 2005 - Tu Lan
Ignore the uninspiring, grungy surroundings (we choose the cramped upstairs over the tables tucked behind the open grill that dominates the downstairs room, but many in the long lunchtime line prefer grabbing their food to go) and concentrate on the wonderful (and wonderfully cheap) food. The noodle soups come in huge bowls, and the shrimp spring rolls wrapped in stretchy rice noodle dough and the fried pork summer rolls are deservedly popular. There are interesting stir-fries, too, served family style atop heaps of rice, and almost everything on the menu is priced between $4.20 and $6.20. Julia Child herself visited Tu Lan decades ago, and her hearty encomium is still bringing them in.