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Lunch for under $5 - Impossible??

Anywhere/cuisine goes...

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  1. 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.

    2 Replies
    1. re: foodmonk

      Vegetarian sandwiches at Bereket (e.g. fried eggplant for $3.50), various Halal carts around town, Chinese tortilla joints (like Fresco Tortilla)--chicken fajita can be OK.


      1. re: Peter Cherches

        I like Fresco Tortilla, while not fabulous, they're pretty good for $1.60 per taco!

    2. 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).

      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.

        1. 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.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Smeagel

            Outside of a few high-end places Minar actually has some of the best North Indian food in the city.

            1. re: Peter Cherches

              I like Minar, too, but never felt that it was substantially better than, say, Pakistani Tea House.

          2. If you choose your items carefully, you can "build" a very tasty buffet lunch at numerous express buffet places around the city or in several of the outer boroughs.
            You just have to be aware of the cost per lb. Some of them now give you a complimentary roll at the register.
            Also, many Chinese take outs have lunch specials that include a generous entree portion with Brown or Fried Rice or lo Mein and a choice of soda/water or soup. Usually $4.50-95
            so with tax it might be a few cents more than $5

            1. A gigantic slice from Koronet Pizza - $2.75
              Congee and dumplings or a bun from Congee Village - $1.50 + $1.80/$2
              Sabich from Taim - $5 (or the falafel sandwich if you want to save $0.50)
              Any curry or noodle dish from Yagura (try the wakame udon/soba)

              1. 20+ "something" over rice dishes for 4 bucks at Congee on Bowery. 10+ for 3 bucks. 5.50 for a box of beef w/eggs over rice and a lb of longan from the fruit stands across the street.

                2 Replies
                1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

                  There are also several cafeteria-style Chinese places on Division Street and one on Grand east of Bowery where you can get 4 items with rice for $4. I've only been to the one on Grand. The food wasn't bad, considering.

                  I think the Indonesian place on Doyers does a combo on rice plate for about $5.

                  1. re: Peter Cherches

                    There's also place on Mulberry just off of Canal that does 3 dishes over rice for 2.50. It's a combo meat market/cooked food place.

                2. At Kati Rolls & Chaat House and at Roomali there are several delicious vegetable wraps (I love Roomali's paneer tikka wrap) that are under $5, though the tax might bump you up past the $5 mark. Both are near 27th and Lexington.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: merrymc

                    woori jip on 32nd and then the obvious grays papaya.

                    1. re: TBird

                      just left woorijip with 6 vege dumplings($2.50) & a decent sized container of clear noodles with veges($2.50). done!

                      1. re: TBird

                        just left woorijip with $2.50 egg free pancakes(3) and $2.50 kimchee thin noodle. done. again!

                  2. A huge container of yellow rice and black beans from the bodega on the southwest corner of Houston & Mott. It's really very good. $3.50

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: livetotravel

                      Really? I've seen the food in this bodgea and it looks like it's been sitting out forever. I eat all kinds of street food but the steam trays here frighten me to no end.

                    2. Cart guy at Broadway and Broome...fried rice $1, chicken thigh $1.50, 2 spring rolls, $1, lo mein noodles $1, chicken chunks $1...very decent for the price.

                      The day before payday, you'll see me there!! I switch it up between the thigh and rice, or the thigh and noodles. All come with hot sauce and a sweet brown sauce.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rugburn

                        Is this guy actually any good? I've walked by a few times and I've been skeptical.

                      2. Banh Mi at Saigon Banh Mi - $3.25, dumplings or noodles from a street vendror - $1.00, pure street food satisfaction, priceless.

                        1. Trini-pak cart on 43rd and 6th. Chicken and rice starting from $3 for a small portion to $5 for a gigantic portion that can be split among two.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            I love that cart! Make sure you get the tamarind hot sauce.

                          2. Halal chicken and rice at the cart on the south side of West 4th St between Broadway and Lafayette costs $3.95. Get both the green and red hot sauces.