Best Meal for $1 or Less

Shan Dong Restaurant's Pork and Vegetable Bun

Everyone loves a bargain, and there are few things that can delight your inner miser more than buying a whole meal for just one dollar — especially when you manage to find something that isn’t “full of rubbish” (as TV chef Jamie Oliver would put it). Oakland’s Chinatown is a veritable treasure trove of cheap eats, and perhaps the best deal of all can be found at the popular Shan Dong Restaurant. Here, $1 will buy you a handmade pillowy steamed bun about the size of a newborn baby’s head, stuffed full of delectably juicy pork and tender cabbage bits. One of these huge buns by itself makes for a satisfying breakfast or lunch, and two or three would do for dinner in a pinch — though it’s worthwhile to branch out and try Shan Dong’s dumplings and knife-cut noodles, which are also quite excellent. The buns reheat well in the microwave, too, so feel free to bring any leftovers to the office the next day, and smile in a self-congratulatory way as your co-workers ooh and ah.


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