D and I had wide-open day in the city today. Everytime we come in I have an unvoiced desire to visit the Haight and Ashbury area. D never seems so interested. I think I'll have to make a push for it next time because I get pretty bored of the same old shops in Union Square. There are times when I forget where I am. It could be shopping district anywhere with a few exceptions like Tu Lan.
We went from Slanted Door to Tu Lan, in a day. How big a testimony to diversity of San Francisco is that!? Tu Lan is 'real' Vietnamese. It is one of D's favourites and mine. I have been there 4 times which is huge considering I have only been in San Francisco like 6. It is hearty, greasy, fresh and generous helpings of down to earth Asian food. They say it's Vietnamese but it seems more Chinese, particularly my favourite #20 Crispy Fried Noodles with Vegetables and Shrimp. Well originally it comes with Pork and Chicken too but I ask for Shrimp alone and they do not blink and do not skimp on the Shrimp.
It is on the edge of the Downtown core in the area called the Tenderloin. It can be a tad dodgy and the city has been trying for ages to 'clean' it up. The name Tenderloin originated from the fact that way way way back when the Cops who patrolled the area received the best, juiciest kickbacks; Tenderloins. Anyhoo, if they were here today, I doubt they would struggle to recognise it. Two doors away from Tu Lan, two gentlmen from the Italian Bar on the corner were trying to break up a fight between two walking homeless people over ownership of a wheelchair. I was caught in the cross-fire as one of them propelled his Vitamin Water at the other. Upscale for homeless quaff, I have to say. As well, I am glad it was just Vitamin Water. What a waste really for him.
Like I said, I ordered my usual of Crispy Noodles with Shrimp. It's a generic brown asian sauce but it is an enormous heaping helping of crispy, vermicelli egg noodles with Broccoli, Straw Mushrooms, Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots and Baby Corn, with lots and lots of Shrimp. It was piping hot and made to order. It was a tad greasy but nothing out of the ordinary for stirfry. I like that there is Hoisin and Sirachi Hot Sauce on the Table. The cutlery is on the table too as is the case in many authetic Asian restaurants. I would suggest wiping it down with our napkin first.
D ordered the Shaking Beef. They had this on the menu at Slanted Door. I would have been interested in the comparison. This one looked quite substantial. Lots of fresh meat, not over cooked. Again, it was cooked to order and piping hot. D explained that Shaking Beef was the description of the syle of cooking Vietnamese stir fry and not the beef itself. Interesting. He orders that dish regularly too.
Do not get put off by the location or the odd sketch of Julia Child on the menu. Apparently she ate there once. It has high turn over and a regular be-suited lunch crowd. They handle substitues gracefully and service is super fast.
Cost: $ - $$
Location: Tenderloin 2 blocks from Union Square
Ambiance: Diner/'greasy spoon'
Staff: Efficient and friendly enuff
8 6th St
San Francisco, CA 94103