Here's my list of favorites for a quick and inexpensive meal in San Francisco Chinatown.
"Downhill" and close to the Financial District for a fast lunch:
Golden Star Vietnamese Restaurant - My favorite pho place. Each of the beef components for beef noodle soup is cooked perfectly with its own special taste shining through, $4.25.
Hon's Wun Tun House, 648 Kearny/Clay - Most flavorable broth outside of Hong Kong. Shrimp sui gow, anise beef stew over wun tun soup noodles, beef tendons over rice, braised iceberg lettuce with oyster sauce - $3.50 to $5.
New Hong Kong Menu, 667 Commercial/Kearny - Lots of tapioca desserts. Braised noodles with spicy meat sauce, $5.25.
Washington Bakery & Restaurant, 733 Washington St./Grant - Modern coffee shop with western cream cakes and pastries, espresso, American standards and Cantonese dishes, fresh juices, and tapioca/tropical jellies. Roast duck rice porridge, $3.50, add a deep-fried cruller, $1.25.
Young's Cafe, 601 Kearny/Sacramento - Really nice, helpful waiters, kitchen will make any Cantonese dish if they have fresh ingredients on hand. Always several German tourists in the house, highly recommended in the _Kalifornien_ guide. Singapore-style mai fun, dry-fried beef chow fun, rock cod and long beans on Hong Kong-style noodle pillow, and samsee chow mein - all under $6. Easy take-out if you're willing to park in front of the fire hydrant while you dash in.
Gold Mountain, 644 Broadway - Soulful dim sum. Shrimp in rice noodle wrappers, braised tofu rolls. A hungry 24 y.o. 6'7" male friend and I stuffed ourselves and got change back from a twenty.
Hing Lung, 674 Broadway/Stockton - Open late (2am?), BBQ in the window. Best deep-fried devil crullers, $1 to go. Abalone/chicken rice porridge, $6.
Junmae Guey Market, Stockton near Broadway - Friendly counter staff. Best roast duck and roast pig in SF, also fish-stuffed fried tofu, sea cucumber, pig feet, and lo han ji at the counter. A handful of small tables in the back (early closing), waitress doesn't speak English, and patrons spit out the bones on the table. Terrific soup noodles with a quarter roast duck carefully placed on a raft of sauteed choy sum to keep the skin crisp, $3.50.
Mon Kiang, 638 Broadway/Stockton - Hakka cuisine, friendly waiters, recently cleaned up and the prices went up 50¢. Oyster pancake (not on the menu). Salt-baked chicken over rice, $3.50.
Yuet Lee Seafood, 1300 Stockton/Broadway - Unique lime green interior. Light and deft hand with the freshest of ingredients. Shrimp with scrambled eggs, salt and pepper calamari, green-lipped NZ mussels w/black bean sauce. Some dishes were a tad overcooked when last there with Jim Leff.