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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Out The Door is a good place to grab some spring rolls or pork buns for lunch if you work around the Ferry Building.
Thanh Long is a Vietnamese restaurant in the Sunset with some of the best Dungeness crab in the city.
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Kin Khao Dogpatch is a casual version of the original Kin Khao in Union Square that also makes incredible khao soi and other Thai dishes.
Donut Savant in East Oakland specializes in excellent mini donuts and "cron'ts" (donut-croissant hybrids).
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