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Only locals know about Tu Lan, Julia Childs favorite Vietnamese restaurant.

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

Photo courtesy of John Storey

One of San Francisco’s best kept secrets is a small hole in the wall Vietnamese restaurant named Tu Lan, which translates to “fridge”. Located at 8 6th St, this family owned restaurant has been serving cheap delicious Vietnamese cooking for over 40 years. The restaurant's claim to fame is a visit from Julia Child. Her smiling image adorns the menu with an excerpt from the late columnist Herb Caen about Julia Child on sleazy 6th Street.

Photo courtesy of John Storey

Tu Lan serves up generous portions of popular Vietnamese fare on the sweet and somewhat greasy end of the spectrum. The food is consistently delicious and fully satisfying. Be sure to indulge yourself on #1 (on the menu) IMPERIAL ROLLS , plump rolls of seasoned pork wrapped in rice paper, deep fried, and served with a sweet vinegar dipping sauce. #17 PORK KABOB, IMPERIAL ROLL, & RICE features the mouth watering flavors of BBQ pork that only the Vietnamese can master. #20 SHRIMP, PORK, CHICKEN, VEG. & CRISPY NOODLE are sautéed together in a mildly sweet cinnamon enhanced sauce and served on a thick bed of deep friend crisp golden rice noodles. #74 is the vegetarian version of #20 with bean cake substituting the shrimp, pork, and chicken. #22 VIETNAMESE STYLE PORK OR CHICKEN FRIED RICE with egg, green onions, and curry, will have you fully addicted. #31 CHICKEN CURRY VIETNAMESE STYLE is mildly hot with jalapenos, potatoes, and onions in a thick curry sauce. Tu Lan makes an incredible VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE, dripped into condensed milk and served with tall glass of ice at your table.

Photo courtesy of John Storey

Tu Lan is small with limited seating downstairs and additional tables in the low ceiling upstairs, or sit at the counter. The decor is totally unpretentious with bright lighting and eclectic art on the walls. Prepare to get cozy cramped in with other happy diners in this fast paced in and out restaurant. Great for a quick lunch break from work, or fast dinner before heading out clubbing or to an event. No special occasion required, just bring an empty stomach. Tu Lan never disappoints. It will be worth the walk down San Francisco’s sleazy 6th Street. If it’s good enough for Julia Child, it’s good enough for you!

Photo courtesy of John Storey

Tu Lan, 8 6th St., San Francisco, CA 94103 | 415-626-0927 | Mon - Sat; 11am to 9:30pm | | No reservations, credit cards accepted.

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