Fun story: Back in 2001, we took a date to Tu Lan because nothing breaks the ice better on a first date better than (arguably) the world's best imperial rolls. And cheap beer. That helps too. So, the two of us were led upstairs to sit at what appeared to be some sort of card table. We both sat down, opened our well-worn laminated menus featuring Julia Child on the cover, and began a night of gastronomic bliss/terror. A few minutes later, just as our waiter appeared, a cockroach dropped from the ceiling and onto our date's head, crawled down his forehead, and then fell to the floor. Our unfazed waiter squashed the roach with his shoe, wiped up the pressed corpse with a hand towel, and then asked for our order. Horrified, the two of us did what any reasonable person would do: we ordered two plates of said imperial rolls, some forgettable yet tasty chicken dish, and the remarkable lemon beef salad. We ate everything up, paid our tab, and — get this — tipped 15%. Why? Because that's Tu Lan. It remains one of our favorite joints in San Francisco for cheap, delicious Vietnamese food.

Fun story II: We were mugged outside of Tu Lan three years later.

Tu Lan: 8 - Sixth Street (at Stevenson), SF, 415-626-0927