While it's up for debate whether the very best things in life are indeed free, we do know that some wonderful things are very cheap.
At Pakwan Restaurant on 16th and Guerrero, you will find satisfying versions of the obligatory Pakistani Indian favorites such as saag paneer, samosas, papadum ... and of course naan, the bubbly flatbread cooked in a tandoor oven. In addition to the unadorned, classic version, Pakwan offers one generously enhanced with garlic and three stuffed variations (onion, potato, and ground beef).
At the risk of sounding a little vanilla, the plain ranked supreme after substantive naan-sampling (although the garlic did come in a close second). With the medley of flavors mixing on our plate -- the cool yogurt-based raita, the spicy lamb curry, the tamarind-flavored march salan -- the unadulterated version became our preferred sauce-scooping vehicle. And at just $1 for a generous, airy pillow of carbohydrates, needless to say, we had a few. (All four naan varieties are under $3; the beef-stuffed tops the list at $2.99).
Make sure you bring cash because the restaurant does not accept credit cards. And if you can only scrounge up $1, make sure to spend it on the naan.
Pakwan restaurant has three other locations: Tenderloin, Hayward, and Fremont. Hours at the Mission location are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.