Living in the Bay Area means all your money goes to rent, gas, and $15 elevated mocktails made of 50 percent seltzer. When you’re on a budget but you still want an excellent lunch or dinner, head to Vientian Cafe - a Laotian, Thai, and Vietnamese spot in East Oakland. We come here for the flavorful nam kao ($7.95), the fresh papaya salad ($7.95), and the angel wings ($6.95) with a side of sticky rice. You’ll also want to ask for the menu of Lao specials, which includes a tangy fermented sausage ($3 a piece).
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Saigon Sandwich’s Sandwiches are $4 and pack a punch. They’re the best affordable lunch in the game.
Cordon Bleu is a Vietnamese lunch counter in Lower Nob Hill where you can eat a lot of food for cheap. Make sure you get the five spice chicken.
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