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Tasty Meals for $5 or Much Less

Where in the city where you can have a delicious, satisfying meal for under $5 including tax, preferably much less? I'll take places where they give you very large portions for more than $5, so you could make two or more meals out of it. Bonus points if it's healthy.

Let's exclude by-the-slice pizza and street cart falafel - they're too easy. But other exceptional street cart food is fine.

Here are some things I can think of to start off with:

Punjabi Grocery and Deli (east village) - a large plate of food is under $5 and could be two or three meals.
Banh Mi Saigon (chinatown) - one of their $4.50 vegetarian banh mi could probably make two meals in a pinch, or one big meal.
Kati Roll Co. (in midtown east and in the village) - some of their Indian rolls are under $5.
Roti Roll - Bombay Frankie (near Columbia) - all of their Indian rolls are under $5


The Vegetarian New Yorker: http://vegny.blogspot.com/

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  1. $3.75 Lunch special 11-5pm at Skyway includes free soup,tea, botttled water, or coffee.

    Actually, every restaurant in Chinatown has a menu with dishes under $5.

    1. Dollar dumplings in Chinatown. There's Vanessa's on Eldridge and a hole in the wall (not even sure it has a name) at 47 Henry St, which has hand-pulled noodle soup as well. Hearth is offering $5 soups if you sit at the counter. Puebla on 1st Ave at 3rd St has some hearty portions of genuine Mexican for just over $5.

      2 Replies
      1. re: douglas525

        Any other info about the soup at hearth? Hours? What kind of soup?

        1. re: hungrycomposer

          Hearth is open for regular dinner hours, and I don't know what kinds of soup. It's a recession special kind of thing, so I don't even know if the kinds of soup are listed on the menupages menu. But when I looked at the menu in the window, it was about six kinds, and they all looked tasty.

        1. Mahmoun's!

          Ooh and do you know the address of Punjabi Grocery and Deli??

          1 Reply
          1. humus place. cold sesame noodles, or won ton soup at several chinese places can be a meal. a little out of your range, but NY burger Co. has a recession crunch cheeseburger, with onion rings on top. 2 tacos at various places.

            A $9 and under list would be much easier, but still challenging.

              1. re: craig_g

                second super taste. Sanur (Indonesian, Doyers St.) has a great lunch special ($3.50 last I checked), saigon bakery (banh mi, Mott Street) cannot be missed, Baoguette (banh mi on St. Mark's place) also has great banh mi for $4.50, Dosa Cart on Washington Square Park has items under $5 I think, but really, for the best bets, you should just cruise chinatown.

              2. In chinatown, the cheapest full lunches I've come up with yet are at Ah Ping Snack Bar, which has good, rich fresh egg noodles w/ peanut sauce for $2 (filling but not healthy) and Fou Zoh noodles, also $2, which gives you a big bowl of clam-based broth w/ veggies & thick noodles. Saigon Bakery is a must. I also like the hot and sour soup at Tasty Dumpling better than others--that plus an order of 8 chicken and mushroom dumplings comes to something like $3.50 and is healthier than some options. I'm mildly obsessed w/ the (totally unhealthy) singapore chow fun at NY Noodletown, which provides two generous meals. They also make a wonton soup that's a little lighter than some (if you pass on the lovely roast pork) and, I think, under $5. A couple of buns from Mei Li Wah Bakery should fill you up for something like $1 each. Finally, the prepared foods at Deluxe Food Market are often very inexpensive. The one thing missing from most of these is veggies. B/c I work near chinatown, I usually buy a crown of broccoli or handful of snowpeas for about $.75 and nuke them to complete lunch, but that's probably not an option for you, except maybe to balance out the leftovers.

                1. Prosperity Dumplings 4 dumplings for a $1

                  1. how about caracas arepas? arepas are abt $6 and they have a lunch special: arepa and soup or salad for $7

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: lemonyc

                      Can you make a meal out of just one? They're somewhere between a falafel and a taco in size, from the East Village location so I think the soup/salad add on would be really important unless you prefer a lighter lunch. They're really good though.

                      1. re: sugartoof

                        I agree with sugartoof. The arepas are good and within your budget request, but it would take at least a few to make a meal.