Holiday Gift Guide
Met up with V's good friend Esther for lunch at Tu Lan, a kick ass, grubby hole in the wall Vietnamese joint in the Tenderloin (TL) area of San Francisco. This place is RAD, it must be an SF institution- there was a line out the door by 12:05. Sweet. And look at that sign!

There's seating at the bar right when you walk in.
Tables in the back, and also upstairs.

I had texted Khoi that we were coming here and he wrote back, "Get a beer, they are $2.50." Check.

Bi cuon- summer rolls with pork. Delicious.

A humungo dish of chicken fried rice. Flavored with curry powder- never had it like that at a Vietnamese restaurant before. Delicious.

I, of course, got the pho- but it said "Hanoi style beef noodle soup" on the menu, so I was curious. Here's what I got- a huge bowl filled to the brim with broth, tender chunks of beef, sliced onions, scallions and noodles.

Cilantro, not basil.
The noodles were really thick and flat- I had never had pho like this before! It was awesome, the beef was juicy and not overcooked. The broth was a bit heavy, but didn't taste overly beefy.
V got the bun with the imperial rolls. Again, super big bowl.

These rolls were the size of my fist, no joke. Not like the dainty ones I'm used to, no way. These are serious. The taro and pork- incredible combination, and is somehow more satisfying when they are this big. Fatso!
There is a caricature of JULIA CHILDS on the front of their menu!!! I'm sorry, but you just don't get more awesome than that. Look at her! Julia's never been happer.

The TL gets a bit shady at night- think Alphabet City in the 80s. The vibe at Tu Lan matches that perfectly, which is what I enjoyed most about it. Totally bustling, smoky, bad ventilation, dirt cheap, top notch food. And, of course, $2.50 beers!!!

Tu Lan
8 6th Street
Btwn Market & Mission Streets
San Francisco, CA
T: 415.626.0927


  • i think it’s time for me and you to get serious!!! everyone’s getting married, we’re like the only single ones left!!! i need some serious Man Jose action. RIGHT NOW.

    which reminds me that i am gearing up to write something for the Silicon Valley Bachelor. loved your ode to your sister! you really are a softee (deep, deep deep down inside).

    kayoko on

  • Why didn’t you hit me up when you were in the city?!?!? I can’t believe Jenny Kaka is engaged!

    SVB on

  • Hey, I stumbled onto your site while browsing for some pics on Google. It’s nice to see you’re enjoying Vietnamese food.

    If you’re ever in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, hit me up and I’ll show you the best pho you’ll ever eat.

    Duc on

  • oh, AWESOME! i’m so jealous, that place is one of a kind. glad you enjoyed it! there’s another vietnamese place i keep hearing is excellent, called Turtle Tower. try going there next time. still in a seedy hood though. ha. can’t seem to escape em.

    kayoko on

  • Thanks to this post, I went there yesterday during my visit to San Francisco. Other than the fact that my car almost got towed in front of the restaurant, along with the many inappropriate comments i received from strange men while waiting outside for my friend to come back with the car, the food was EXCELLENT.

    I ordered 4 dishes for the two of us. It was seriously the best meal EVER.

    Thanks again :)

    ambitiousdeliciousness on

  • Hi Duc, thanks for stopping in. Will def give you a ring if I’m ever in TX- would love to try your pho down there!

    kayoko on

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