Chinatown "over rice" dishes
My coworkers and I and up ordering chinese for lunch a lot since a) we work across the street from chinatown; and b) we are poorly paid government workers and chinese food can be cheap
We tend to go for the "over rice" dishes. These are usually some kind of stir fried meat/vegetable combo served with white rice for about $3.75-$4.50. Due to time and money constraints, we don't usually go for the fancier and more involved dishes.
Anyone have any thoughts on the best places to get this kind of food in chinatown? We used to be fond of Moon House before it closed. Are there any other dishes in this price range that would make for a good lunch?
It's a big Cantonese lunch staple. Try these for starters:
Big Wong King at 67 Mott - excellent Cantonese BBQ Pork over rice. You can also add Chicken, or Duck or both and even a Fried Egg on top for about $5-$5.50. No vegie included but they do give you a small portion of a scallion and garlic sauce.
Yummy Noodles at 48 Bowery also has similar "over rice dishes" although their BBQ Roast Pork is not as good as Big Wong King.
NY Noodletown at 28 1/2 Bowery must have 25-30 "rice plates," from Beef with Bean Curd on Rice ($3.50) to Baby Pig on Rice ($6.95.)
New Chow Chow at 111 Mott has about 20 or so "Rice on Plate" lunch specials in the $4.00 to $4.50 range.
Yogee Restaurant at 85 Chrystie Street has about 30 "Rice Dishes" - from Chicken Leg on Rice ($3.75) to Beef or Shrimp with Sauteed Pea Shoots on Rice ($5.50.)
Second all of scoop's choices (except I haven't been to Yummy Noodles or Yogee Restaurant).
I would stay away from those "4 or 5 items for $4" places. The food has been sitting around for a long time and is pretty sub-par. They use tons of salt and MSG to cover up cheap ingredients.
By government workers, am I assuming you work at the courthouse? Not Chinese, but Nyonya is a Malaysian restaurant has some over rice dishes. There's Skyway Malaysian but it may be too far for you (if you do work at the courthouse). And a lot of Chowhouners like New Malaysia in the arcade by Bowery and Elizabeth), though it's not one of my faves. If you want Vietnamese, you've got Nha Trang and Pho Viet Huong that have rice dishes on the menu as well.
Not over rice, but you may also want to give those cheap 4 or 5 for $1 dumpling places a shot. I think you can eat yourself sick on $3. They also have those sesame pancakes (for $1.50) which is basically a sandwich comprised of a huge hunk of fried bread studded with sesame seeds and a soy beef flavored with something similar to five spice. If you're a large eater, one of those pancakes and 2 orders of dumplings will have you wanting to take a nap after lunch. I think the closest one to where you work is Tasty Dumpling on Mulberry Street.
Okay. From looking at that entry, seems like they've raised prices. But it's still quite a bargain. And as it's a more of a fast food joint, you don't have to leave a tip.
My personal favorite of those dumpling joints is Prosperity. But it's a bit far from your work.
If you get tired of over-rice dishes, you can always get big bowls of pho for about the same amount of money. My current favorite is Xe Lua on Mulberry between Bayard and Canal.
Nha Trang on Centre street (and maybe other Vietnamese places?)has those special red fried rice that are very tasty, another variation should you get bored with plain rice.
Yogee Restaurant at 85 Chrystie Street, mentioned above is pretty good and cheap.
They got some offereings on this menu that is a little out of the ordinary. The price is right. You can even get some herbal detox tea at this place.
Yuen Yuen is really good at that price range. This place is as old as the dead Mei Lei Wah across the street on Bayard. Its left a couple of doors down from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. For that price range, the chef is pretty good. This place has been a sleeper for a while, but for some reason this place is more packed these days. They got an English menu, but you have to ask for it. There is more selection if you can read Chinese like the slow cooked soups, and the claypot rice which is written on the walls. The soups are really good but can be horrifying for a the typical "Chicken and Broccoli" person. These herbal soups are definitely more fun to slurp than eating vitamins. This place also offers sweet soups on the wall. Pretty big range for a small restaurant. I thought some of the noodle dishes could of been better. But back to your plates over rice, they are a good deal here. I tend to get the pickled cabbage and beef over rice. Sometimes you can just make one up and if its not complicated they will do it. Corn and Chicken, lamb with watercress, just don't name anything too exotic and you'll get your wish come true. This place used to be a popular place for fresh squeezed OJ and their shaved ice. I wonder if they still got that screeching juicer.
New Green Bo offers a good Pork Chop over rice.. Its served with a chopped pressed tofu brown sauce and its served with Spinach. Rumor has it they grow their own Spinach, but I never confirmed this. Life on the cheap...but still eating well.
Yuen Yuen is great. I'd pay just to sit around there for a while. I never order "over rice" dishes anywhere but once at Yuen Yuen I ordered a full entree from the Chinese menu and they gave me "over rice" by mistake. But the portion was so generous I didn't realize that until the bill came, and instead of it being the $8 I expected it was $3.75. Luckily for you, the English menu lists all "over rice" dishes.
Many other places have "over rice" dishes. Cantoon Garden for example.
If you really want to win the "Cheapskate Contest", there is a tofu shop on the northeast corner of Bowery and Grand. When you walk in to the back, they will do lunchboxes in the $3.5 range, just a notch better than the MSG filled 4 or 5 items for $4 places.
From that place if you walk west on Grand and South on Chrystie you can get Roast Meats (pork, duck, or chicken). For as cheap as $2.50 for a small roast pork over rice. I don't like the quality of the roast pork here and they tend to get rid of the burnt pieces first. Its something like playing roulette. I don't even think they are following the traditional roasting methods here. But people come and there is always a line out the door all day. Its worse than Artichoke on 14th. If you must make this a chapter of your life I'd recommend the roast duck, chicken, or roasted pig for a little more. They give a veggie with all rice dishes. You can get a small or a large one. The small roast pork on rice is the most popular among cheapskates in CTown. There is some anticipation when you are standing in line. For me my cheapskate moment came and gone after once, but I do appreciate a good roast pork more these days when done well after this experience. I think this is the cheapiest of cheap, the GrandDaddy of Cheap for plates over rice. You won't miss this place when you see a line out the door.