As someone who loves San Francisco and its many offerings in the world of cuisine, one of my many goals of documenting my culinary journey through the 49 square miles is the quest for good food without breaking the bank. Its morbidly expensive enough to visit the city, why should getting a bellyful of good food be equally taxing on the wallet? There are lots of hidden spots in the city which might be mere hole in the walls or simply too plain and this ignored often even after being in plain sight, but which whip up excellent meals to make your palate sing with joy! So without further ado, here are two of my go-to, perennial favorites/affordable Asian eats when I am in these parts of town, hungry as hell and have no patience to wait for those fancy spots which people make a beeline for. You are welcome in advance to being let on these two wonderful secrets that only a few of us locals know of.
Affordable Asian Eats #1 Singaporean
First up in the affordable Asian eats list is Lime Tree Southeast Asian Kitchen, a small Singaporean restaurant in Inner sunset. Often overlooked on the busy stretch of Irving teeming with more popular eateries, this neat little restaurant has a small, cheery yellow sign to give away its hideout like existence. Once you locate the door to enter (which is kind of at the end of a makeshift ramp), you will find yourself in a cozy little space, with some tables and chairs neatly lined and a mouthwatering menu comprising of the many mishmashes of Asian flavors found on the busy streets of Singapore-such as Chinese, Indian, Thai and Malay. Lots of great vegetarian choices and if you pop in for lunch don’t forget to order their combo/Bento box type meals that come with sides of rice, fruit, salad, main curry and a drink. The meals are bursting with flavor and it does not get better than this. A second location is in Inner Richmond on Clement street.
Affordable Asian Eats #2 Thai
The second restaurant in affordable Asian eats is Old Siam, a tiny Thai restaurant on 201 Ellis Street, in the heart of downtown SF near Union Square. It is both a shame and a relief that most people, aka tourists thronging this part of town, are unaware of this hidden gem which assures of a seat every time we find ourselves there and when hunger strikes. The food, featuring some specialties from the northern part of the country, apart from the usual fare, is absolutely on point and tasty to boot! Irrespective of gourmands flocking to the fancy Kin Khao (another Thai restaurant in Parc 55 hotel), Old Siam remains our tried and tested, and oh so reliable, perennial favorite. Its a tiny, fuss free and tidy place big on food, great on friendly service and friendly to the wallet. Don’t miss the chive dumplings and their mango chicken curry, which can me made vegetarian upon request (they have a very vegetarian/vegan friendly menu). Old Siam is all about enjoying a few quiet moments with great Thai food in the chaos of downtown SF (one of the few spots in the city where it is very easy wind up eating garbage from one of the many touristy spots) that is unpretentious in every way and has nothing to offer but good old taste and that is what brings us back to it time and again.
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my take on affordable Asian eats in town which offer a hearty food experience. Thanks a lot for reading and bon appetite! Read my other blog post on cheap eats in San Francisco for more budget dining options and not to be missed ethnic brunches in the city.