Flee the crowds in central Chinatown for an authentic and inexpensive Vietnamese or Thai meal on Baxter Street, which is lined with several eateries. Here on this quiet side street, no-frill restaurants are filled with locals enjoying flavorful "pho" beef noodle soup, summer rolls, barbecued pork and other specialties. The smell of mint, basil, and jasmine rice hits your senses when you walk in the door.
Not much to say about the decor, but service is quick and a huge bowl of steaming pho noodle soup averages $6 or $7. Restaurants include Nha Trang One, Thai Son and Pho Pasteur.
If you are looking for "xiao long bao" or savory "soup dumplings", try Joe's Ginger on nearby 25 Pell Street.