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Cheap lunching in SOMA

I work near Folsom and 5th, and I'd like a few good lunch recommendations that AREN'T sandwiches. :) Not to hate on them, but AK and Tony Baloney have gotten old fast. Cheapness is a must, and if there are suggestions from farther afield that deliver...that'd be awesome too!

Oh, I do know about Tu Lan, but am sketched out by various stories and the hygiene (or lack thereof)

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  1. Near TuLan there's a couple of taquerias. Cancun is at 6th/Market.

    1. Depending on how far you're willing to walk, Naan 'n' Chutney, Henry's Hunan.

      Some delivery options:


      1. Firewood in the Metreon is fine, I eat there pretty often as it is a good bang for my buck. Also Cafe Venue on 5th and Jessie is reliable. There are banh mi at Latte Express diagonally across the street from Cafe Venue.

        1. with cheap being operative, there's a vietnamese place on 6th and bryant called Grab n Go. They have a decent banh mi.

          There's also luna taquieria on Bryant btw 5th and 6th.

          If you go on Folsom to 3rd there's chaat cafe.
          Chili Lime Garlic thai just opened on Bryant btw 3rd and 4th. They deliver.

          4 Replies
          1. re: margieco

            A second location for Chili Lemon Garlic. Here's some reports on their 24th St location

            Chili Lemon Garlic - moved
            3166 24th St, San Francisco, CA

            Chili Lemon Garlic
            518 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA

            Sexy Soup Cart
            San Francisco, CA, San Francisco, CA

            1. re: rworange

              from what I've read the 24th street location moved to bryant when their rent was raised. so i THINK it's the only location.

              1. re: margieco

                This is exactly correct. The only location is the one on Bryant. I was just in Chili Lemon Garlic last night and they said, they had moved because of landlord rent troubles.

            2. re: margieco

              Oh Luna...delish but usually reserved for Fridays, when I don't feel as guilty for falling asleep at my desk after lunch :) I think my boss goes to that Vietnamese place and loves the soup--I was planning to make a trip soon.

            3. Can I recommend Pho Ha Tien II, which just opened last Friday at 937 Howard between 5th and 6th? Ten types of Banh Mi (excellent), 10 varieties of pho, vermicelli bowls, rice plates and good-looking charbroiled meat and rice plates. They will start delivery soon.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Debra Stuart


                Pho Ha Tien II
                937 Howard St, San Francisco, CA

                1. re: Debra Stuart

                  oh excellent! any idea if they're open evenings and/or weekends?

                  1. re: Debra Stuart

                    Ooooh that sounds AMAZING. The sketchiness of 6th st sometimes makes me think twice, so I never casually wander into the area and wasn't aware that a new place opened up. Sounds good :)

                    1. re: Debra Stuart

                      Thanks for the recommendation! went there for lunch today -- open 6 days a week from 10 a.m. to 9 pm.
                      fresh rolls were quite good. banh mi were decent; not as good as saigon sandwiches but much more convenient.

                    2. Has anyone been to Miss SaiGon, on 6th a couple blocks from TuLan? Have noticed the "coming soon" signs when driving by and now it's open.


                      Miss Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant
                      100 6th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                      4 Replies
                        1. re: Xiao Yang

                          I like the 5th picture on the top. Looks like Goi Cuon lollipops.

                        2. re: Melanie Wong

                          We're in town visiting from LA and stumbled upon Miss Saigon last night while looking for Vietnamese food in the area south of Market Street. Not having been in the city for quite a few years, we didn't realize how many changes there have been in this area, and how it changes drastically as we walked around the parts from 3rd and Mission to 7th and Harrison.

                          We were initially steered to Bong Su by our concierge. While expecting a typical cafe-style joint like in SoCal - and were stunned at the level of decor (in a good way). However, we didn't feel dressed appropriately for this place so we kept going...

                          After walking around a number of blocks, we saw Miss Saigon and decided to give it a try. To be honest, we weren't expecting much but were pleasantly surprised at the overall experience. The food was very good, the place very clean, and the service very attentive.

                          We ordered the following:

                          Goi cuon - standard, herbs fresh, shrimps tasted fresh and cooked to just tender. $3.25

                          Cha gio - again, standard, like goi cuon, pretty hard to mess up. But the amount of pork in the the roll was more than what we typically find in SoCal - pretty tasty. $3.50

                          Pho tai bo vien - nice flavorful broth with notes of cinnamon and star anise coming through. A very generous portion with lots of noodles, bean sprouts, and beef /meatballs. Again, the herbs were fresh as well. $6.25

                          Bun thit nuong cha gio - the grilled pork was very flavorful with a slight char giving it a nice aroma. cha gio is the same as we had as an app. The nuoc cham dressing had a nice balance of sweet and sour, and had just the right amount of lightness to add but not overpower the dish. $6.95

                          Com thit nuong bi cha - A nice contrast of pork flavors with the grilled pork, shredded pork, and egg cake with pork. They also included pickled veggies, shredded cukes and lettuce, fresh herbs, a substanial portion of rice topped with scallions in scallion oil and the nuoc cham dressing. Again, a nice dish. $6.95

                          Bun cha ha noi - this is the first time I've had this so I have nothing to compare this to. It was very good - a platter full of vermicelli, herbs, whole lettuce leaves, pickled veggies, and a bowl of pork meatballs and pork shoulder slices that are emersed in a fish sauce-based sauce, and is topped with fried garlic. This was the most expensive dish but could feed two for lunch if you throw in an app. In fact, the serving sizes for the entrees in general are very generous and might be considered a little large for lunch. $12.95

                          According to them, they've been open now for about two monthes. The majority of the eaters looked local, the location is at the straddling point of a little sketchy and not so sketchy, and the bathroom was spotless...

                          We didn't have enough room for desserts but they list about ten, and they're all Vietnamese - no green tea ice cream listed, which I consider to be a good sign.

                          I think if they had a few more Vietnamese-style juices, I'd give this place a "just like back in Fountain Valley" rating, but I do credit them with having smoothies and shakes using durian and avocado. They didn't list soy bean drink, but I asked and they did have it, so if you don't see something on the menu, just ask and who knows...

                          1. re: bulavinaka

                            Outstanding report! Thanks for the detailed commentary and prices. If the food holds up well compared to Fountain Valley, then I'm ready to brave 6th Street. The bun cha ha noi in particular sounds wonderful, don't see that too often on menus in the City.

                        3. There's a good but not fab, indie cafe/lunch place on 5th, between Mission and Market, West side of the street, a few doors north of the new mint plaza. Sandwiches around $5 bucks, good salads.

                          1. How about Split Pea Seduction? Does anyone have a recent report? I live in the neighborhood and forget about it. www.splitpeaseduction.com

                            Also, there's a new cafe that opened next to Whole Foods on Harrison (closer to 4th Street) called Epicenter. It's next to the Whole Foods parking lot and it looks like a nice addition to the neighborhood. I haven't been, but I think they offer food.

                            You can also venture to South Park to Cafe Centro or the Mexican burrito/taco place.