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Best <$5 lunches in East Village, West Village, Chinatown and Union Square

Hi. Where are your favorites less than $5 lunches in the EV, WV, Union Square, Chinatown and possibly even the LES/Alphabet City? Here are some of my favs

A Chau Deli (Banh Mi - I think $3.50)

Saigon Banh Mi (Banh Mi - I think $3.50)

Chinese Place ($1 dumplings, $1 for 2 fried chicken legs, $2.75 for 3 choices of food and rice) corner of Broome and Mott Street

Cart at the corner of 4th & Broadway ($3.50 Gyro)

Mamoun's Falafel ($2.95 falafel sandwich)

Wendy's (Super Value Menu)

Dosa Man (all vegetarian items under $5)

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  1. There's the Lunch Box Buffet aka Central Buffet at 195 Centre. Last time I was there it was $3 for four items which is even cheaper than the buck a plate stuff you find sometimes in the poorer non-Asian neighborhoods. And you can more than fill yourself up for under $5 at any of the Chinese bakery/cafes with dim sum type baked goods and sandwiches (e.g., Fay Da among dozens in Chinatown).

    1. There is a 5-sides for $4 Chinese hot&cold buffet a block north from Canal & Broadway. You can take out, and they have plenty of sit down tables but no air conditioning. the white rice you get with the plate is considered a side, so make sure you refuse it when you first pay in order to get something else. if you want additional sides or baked goods most are just another $1

      1 Reply
      1. re: Joe Berger

        Isn't that place on Centre and not Broadway?

      2. Zaragoza Mexican Deli is awesome. $2 tacos (get two and you're good for a light lunch). They've typically got a few different meat items, but they're all good. Its on Avenue A, between 12th and 13th I believe.

        1. As for bahn mi, I personally prefer Saigon Bakery, on Mott, a little south of Grand. $3.25.

          2 Replies
          1. re: eatfood

            go to the big enchildada on 12th and university. 3 beef tacos are 1.59 each.

            1. re: ricky7

              Dumpling House on Eldridge. 5 great dumplings for $1. You can also have a nice big beef sesame pancake for an extra $1.50.

          2. Sammy's Halal cart (offshoot of 2006 Vendy winner)
            4th St. between Broadway & Lafayette

            chicken over rice - $4
            chicken & gyro meat combo over rice - $5 (my fave)

            Extra white sauce, extra hot sauce. Next time I'm going to have to check if they have the green sauce like in Jackson Heights.


            Super Taste
            26 Eldridge Street (between Canal & Division)

            spicy beef hnd-pulled noodle soup - $4.25


            Dumpling House
            118 Eldridge Street

            sesame pancake with beef - $1.50 (squirt some Sriracha & it's like a mini banh mi)
            pork & chive fried dumplings - $1 for 5

            2 Replies
            1. re: spanky28

              I used to like Sammy's, but after trying Rafiqi's at 9th and Broadway, I've converted to their lamb and chicken rice plate. The pieces are bigger and less shredded, which I prefer, and I find their lamb to be much better than Sammy's. I think it's 4.50 for the mixed plate.

              1. re: spchang

                Thanks for the recommendation. I will have to try it since it's closer to me that Sammy's. Will report back.

            2. Caracas in East Village does great arepas and $5 gets you an empanada and creamy venezuelan guacamole. El Cocotero in Chelsea had even better arepas - while most arepas are $6-7, I had the avocado arepa for just a shade under $5, and it was overflowing. Really filling and delish. You could also have 2 pastelitos for five bucks and all the empanadas are under $5. Real good value.

              1. The Puerto Rican place on lafayette between spring and prince. Get anything! Ugh hungry for rice and beans at 8am.

                Also: The bangladesh deli on Mott and Grand (grand?). I'm usually falling down drunk there on friday nights and have been going long enough the guys know me. It changed its name a bunch of times. Used to be called Kandakhar (spelling?). Anyway get the spicy chicken special sandwich, and there's another chicken dish that has ramen noodles crushed up in it but don't remember the name.

                2 Replies
                1. re: 2slices

                  La Conquitas? Is that the Puerto Rican place you are referring to?
                  I think everything there is $7.

                  1. re: eatfood

                    Yeah that's it. So good. I'm not so sure about those prices. I don't think everything is $7. I'm sure rice n beans with maduros is 5 or less. The chicken soup is a meal in itself, that's definitely under 5. Tripe stew is prolly 5, maybe even beef stew. I think roast chicken or pork with rice and beans is maybe a bit over 5, but that's more than I can eat in one sitting and I'm still a growing boy.

                2. My vote goes to Mamoun's

                  1. The harissa falafel from Taim ($5): http://www.eatingintranslation.com/20...

                    I'm also fond of:
                    Stromboli from Faicco's (half-pound, $4
                    )Lentil soup at Bereket ($3.75)
                    Pork sausage and sage roll from Tuck Shop ($2.75)
                    Grilled cheese at Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop ($4.25)
                    Cheung fun at 3 Wang Cafe (three for $2)
                    Hay-and-honey pecorino from DiPalo's ($3.25 per quarter-pound)
                    Mustard green sandwich and fresh-scooped tofu ($1 each) at Fuzhou Good Taste Grocery
                    A banh mi (about $3) and a durian mung bean cake ($1.50) at Viet-Nam Banh Mi So 1
                    Crushed-peanut rice ball (50 cents) and a basil seed drink with mango ($3.50) at Sunkiss Market
                    Hooligan cheese ($5 per quarter-pound) from Cato Corner Farm, at the Union Square Greenmarket

                    260 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                    Di Palo's Fine Foods
                    200 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

                    222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

                    187 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                    Tuck Shop
                    68 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

                    Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop
                    127 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                    3 Wang Cafe
                    7 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

                    Fuzhou Good Taste Grocery
                    75 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                    Saigon Banh Mi 1
                    369 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

                    Sunkiss Market
                    160 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                    Union Square Greenmarket
                    Broadway and E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: DaveCook

                      Here's the stromboli I mentioned, and the grilled cheese. They look much more filling when you click on the photos.

                    2. "Health sandwich" (eggplant, hard-boiled egg, lettuce, and tomato on a pita) at Hoomoos Asli.

                        1. re: emilywca

                          Is this cart still around? I've never seen it but the article makes it seem so intriguing. What do you get?

                          1. re: jdream

                            I can vouch that it's still there. Passed by it on the way down to Chinatown early Friday evening. Never ate from there though.

                        2. Maoz felafel. If you've been to Amsterdam (the city, not the Ave), you know the one I mean.
                          Ashkara felafel. Similar joint in the East Villiage.
                          Let's not forget the Papaya-style hot dogs. Yum.
                          Pio Maya's tostadas or soup.

                          1. Fu Kee, 128 Lafayette St. aka M&B 1 block N. of Canal. $3.50, roast duck on rice, soy sauce chicken on rice, or the roast pork on rice.
                            Mamoun's on Macdougal also gets my vote.
                            Two Boots andouille sausage slice $2.50(?)

                            1. I'm a huge fan of Punjab Deli on 114 E. 1st St (btw 1st and Ave. A). They usually have around 7 tasty Indian dishes/curries in a fridge which they warm and serve over basmati rice. Almost all of the dishes are vegetarian and have a nice spicy kick to them. The best part is that a "combo" with 2 curries is only 3 bucks! You can get a larger combo with the choice of 3 curries for 5 bucks! I always get the $3 combo and leave quite satisfied and full. Mind you it's not mindblowing Indian cuisine (you can't expect TOO much since all the dishes are prepared in advance, refridgerated and microwaved for you on the spot) but Punjab really hits the spot when I'm broke and starving in the East Village/LES.

                              The place itself is a tiny hole in the wall where a lot of cabbies seem to pick up lunch/dinner (added bonus: it's open 24/7). There's a sliver of a counter where you can theoretically eat in, but you're much better off getting the food to go and eating it in one of the nearby parks.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: icchinmame

                                I pass that place all the time but thought it was a little scary. Thanks for the recommendation - I'll definitely try it!

                              2. i like the empanadas at SUCELT (14th/7th ave) and SWEETHEART DELI (14th/8th ave). the former have always been good, but the latter recently upped their game in the empanada dept.

                                1. The grilled corn at Cafe Habana is always good ($1.90). Probably won't be enough for lunch though.

                                  Cafe Habana
                                  229 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012