Lunch for under $5 - Impossible??
Lunch specials at Amazing 66 on Mott in Chinatown are $4.95 ... Portions are quite large and you won't go away hungry. A falafel sandwich at Alfanoose in the Financial District is $5.00. I would guess that prices for the same thing elsewhere in the city are equal. Tulcingo del Valle in Hell's Kitchen has sizable tacos for $2.50. Vietnamese sandwiches at Nicky's in the East Village are $4.25. Not only not impossible, but very possible and quite satisfying, actually.
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A VERY filling meal for $4.50 from Dumpling House: an order of dumplings ($1), an order of sesame pancake with beef ($1.50), a pint of hot and sour soup ($1) and a bottle of Poland Springs ($1).
The Dumpling House or Prosperity Dumplings on Eldridge can make you happily full and will generally cost well under 5 dollars. (dumplings, soups, pancakes stuffed with veggies and meats etc)
Mamouns on MacDougal has decent falalfel for 2.00.
I have yet to try the Kati Roll place on Macdougal (equally as cheap).
Then there's the dosa cart in washington square park. Some of his stuff is still under 5$ or close to it.
I usually frequent downtown area but there used to be an amazing pizza truck in midtown. I am not sure what happened to it but I did just pull up this link that seems to resemble my pizza truck except its slightly more uptown:
And of course...there's always hotdogs from Gray's Papaya.
Sun Yip (used to be Ho Yip I believe) on 45th between 5th and 6th is something like $5 a pound during lunch, and only $3 a pound after 2pm for cheap Cantonese. Minar, 46th street between 6th and times square is $4.95 for vegetarian Indian dishes - though it's an extra dollar for meat dishes. At Minar you're always fighting crowds, and despite the fact that it's a few hundred feet from Times Square, it's usually crowds of mostly Indians working in the surrounding area - not tourists.