Dirt Cheap Eats 2008: Thanh Son Tofu

Thanh Son Tofu (6793 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-534-1202). In this narrow slice of a restaurant, house-made fried tofu in three flavors—plain (seven pieces for $1), mushroom-and-onion (five for $1), and lemongrass-and-chili (three for $1)—draws crowds for good reason: The shop renders soy into cubes as light and fluffy as scrambled eggs. We line up for other goodies such as neon-green, durian-flavored sticky rice ($2) and a sauté of sweet sausage, chicken, turkey, and scallions over rice ($2.50).

Translucent rice crepes studded with browned onions ($4 a pound) come with a vinegary chili dipping sauce that can double as a tofu condiment. There are more than a dozen liquid desserts—choices include banana, yuca, and tapioca in coconut milk ($2) and mung beans in ginger syrup with crushed peanuts ($1.75). Count on taking your food to go unless you stake out one of the two tiny tables. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.