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More Cheap Eats, but cheap for college kids?

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Ok - so the last post asked for sub-$20 recommendations. What about sub-$10 places to eat? We're penniless college kids, and one of us is a tolerant vegetarian. I once ate at a tiny hole-in-the-wall chinese place, where I spent around five bucks and we got enough food for two guys. This is the kind of inexpensive (not necessarily cheap i.e. crappy food) eatery i'm looking for.

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  1. dumpling house on eldridge- i think its called Vanessa's Dumplings now? very cheap dumplings but i really dig the sesame pancake with roasted pork. i can leave absolutely stuffed, maybe with leftovers, for $4.50-5.00.

    2 Replies
    1. re: scott.

      I second dumpling house. You could feed an army for $10 there. It used to be a tiny window-front where you had to go elsewhere to eat, but they've expaned and now have tables. The beef sandwich on sesame bread with cilantro is also delicious, but the friend pork dumplings are by far the best item on the menu. More on the dumpling house here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/583258.

      1. re: OliveRuth

        Day 4 of dinner from this thread. I ordered Chive & Pork Dumplings, Fried (5 pcs) and a Sesame Pancake Sandwich with Roast Pork. Delicious and it totaled $5.40!! I think it was someone on Yelp who said it best: 'I came for the dumplings, but I'll stay for the Sesame Pancake Sandwich'. The pork was pretty fatty in the sandwich (but that only added more flavor if you ask me). I look forward to coming back here to try the huge Steamed Buns.

        1. re: kathryn

          3rd for Baoguette!! 2nd Maoz and I will add a few:

          Republic on Union Square is great for the higher end of the $10 price point. A bowl of their noodle soups or rice dishes runs between $10-13 and is plenty for a full meal.

          Go Go Curry is really fantastic and you can get out of there seriously stuffed for under $10. It's on 38th and 8th.

          Margon on 46th between 6th and 7th (or is it Broadway) has really interesting Latin food that you can easily get out of there for well under $10 with a plate full of oxtails, cod, beans, plantains, and whatever else they have that day.

        2. re: Lettucepray

          Thanks so much for the Baoguette recommendation! I took a 5 minute walk to St. Marks and am thoroughly enjoying this late dinner of the classic Bahn Mi.

          1. re: Lettucepray

            Had a Purple Joe (Eggplant & Egg Sandwich) at Pita Joe for dinner. Delicious but I was a little surprised by the price. $6.88 before 20% off student discount (which I didn't know about 'til I was finished). The tahini and hot sauce shined though! I think I'd return here to try other dishes.

            Pita Joe
            2 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011

          2. In the village I like Kati Roll. In east village, Crif Dogs, Caracas Arepas, S'mac

            Caracas Arepa Bar
            93 1/2 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

            Kati Roll Co.
            99 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

            345 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

            Crif Dogs
            113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

            3 Replies
            1. re: YummyInTheCity

              I think Caracas Arepas Bar is probably over $10. I usually get two arepas, and they're $6-7 each.

              1. re: YummyInTheCity

                These are good choices. Pinch is also good for pizza and Empanada Mama in Hell's Kitchen. I do not know where the OP goes to school.

                1. re: YummyInTheCity

                  OK, I made it to S'Mac for dinner tonight. I broke my under $10 rule ($10.57), but is was incredibly delicious. I got the medium 4-Cheese to-go. I cannot even explain how anxious I was to dig into this thing. 100% I return and bring friends along next time. I want to try some of the more exotic variations next time!

                2. Lots of places in Chinatown. Great NY Noodletown, East Corner Wonton, Bo Ky, Chao Chow, Wing Huang, the Fuzhounese noodle places (those might be hard for a vegetarian, though)...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Pan

                    I agree with Chinatown. Moon House kept me well-fed and when it was open for around $5 a pop. I'd also add Prosperity Dumpling, Banh Mi Saigon, Wah Fung and the better pho houses to the mix. They definitely trumped the usual falafel, Thai, pizza rotation around NYU. Post-college I also discovered Piece of Chicken, Tehuitzingo, Taqueria Fonda y la Mexicana, and Taza de Oro closer to some other college campuses.

                  2. These might help:

                    $10 or less for delicious lunches

                    Where 25 people can eat dinner for $12 each in Manhattan

                    Current Favorite Dish/Item for Less than $10?

                    $10 and under, family friendly, Fresh, Good, Clean, and worth leaving the Outer Boroughs for?

                    1. La Fonda Boriqua on East 106th St. for great, homestyle Puerto Rican food. No printed menus and it helps if you understand Spanish or at least know what to ask for, but the pernil, chicharrones, pulpo salad won't set you back much and are great! $10 will take you far here.

                      1. Incredibly cheap food is all I eat!
                        Mamoun's (St. Mark's in the E Village and MacDougal by Wash Sq).--$2.50 falafel sandwich (the best)
                        Prosperity dumpling (Eldridge St., Chinatown): 5 dumplings for $1 (and I second Vanessa's dumplings as well)
                        Chennai Garden and Tiffin Wallah (Curry Hil)l: AYCE vegetarian lunch buffet $6.95


                        1. Taqueri Y La Fonda


                          Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana
                          968 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025

                          1. how could i forget mamouns. such a great deal.

                            1. Punjabi Deli on 1st St, Between 1st Avenue and A. Super cheap and tasty. Also, it's all vegetarian. $5 gets you a large plate with choice of 3 vegetables. Well spiced.

                              1. I really admire your frugality! Way to go!

                                I like the Taiwanese-style rice plates and noodles at Saint's Alp- Tea House (93 3rd Ave / near E. 9Th). If you add a small tea (with no bubbles, which are more expensive), it will be just under $10. Another place in EV is "GO" at 30 St. Marks (between 2nd and 3rd Ave), you can get some of the rice bowls or noodle soups under $10. Also, Cafe Zen (31 St. Marks) has some similar dishes under $10. "Go" and "Cafe Zen" are both Japanese.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: bearmi

                                  I really hate Go - I find their food at best kind of sloppy (e.g., tempura with loads of batter) and at worst, putrid - but Saint's Alp's food is pretty good and cheap. And it's really popular with college students; at 44, I'm usually the oldest person in the place.

                                  1. re: Pan

                                    Ha.. I have to admit, "GO" doesn't have the best food in the world but I think the price is definitely cheap and it is popular with students.

                                    I always thought I am the oldest person at Saint's Alp's guess you beat me by a few years :)

                                2. Lots of places in Chinatown are affordable good eats, including Great Noodletown, New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe, Pho Bang, Vanessa Dumpling (which has cheaper prices than the 14th St location), Baoguette (EV is taster than Lex and 25th), Pinche Taqueria in NoLiTa, Mamouns, Maoz Vegetarian, Menkuitei ramen near St. Mark's, Num Pang near Union sq. Not to leave Saravanas and Tiffin Wallah.

                                  If you go with a group, you can split orders and have plenty of food for two and keep it to $10/person at: Pio Pio and Artichoke Basile.

                                  1. I eat in Chinatown on Henry Street (every day I'm subbing) for $5. Big Wong is also very good and inexpensive. I'm sure it will come up in one of the threads below but I didn't see it mentioned.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. Thanks a lot guys - i'll be in the city tomorrow.

                                      1. Pio Pio and order the matador Combo. It feeds 4 people easily and costs less than $10 per person.

                                        1. On w.34st there is a Fay Da bakery with a 5 choices for $5(tax included) buffet,. There is plenty of vegetarian options as well.

                                          1. chow chao (get stuff "on rice"
                                            cong ly - huge bowl of pho for 6 bucks
                                            evies turo turo on 1st ave and 13th st

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: thew

                                              Thanks for the recommendation. I went to Elvie's Turo-Turo and ate Adobo Pork and Pork Blood for dinner. The Filipino guy behind me jokingly recommended I get the Pork Blood. He told me he'd never seen a white boy eat it. I did.

                                                1. re: hungrycomposer

                                                  I would not say I'm experienced with dishes like this for comparison, but it was pretty tasty. Unusual at the least! I can eat a lot and could not finish both dishes. The Adobo pork was similar to Latino preparations of pulled pork with garlic I have before and I enjoyed that a lot.

                                                2. re: MWinston

                                                  Did you go all-in and eat it with the traditional steamed rice cakes, too? Elvie's blood stew, dinuguan is decent -- the meat is tender and not too fatty, but they really need to ramp up the vinegar and chilies. If you ask for some lemons on the side, a few squeezes plus a dash of chili vinegar does the trick.

                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                    They have vinegar (a few types) and a chili sauce at the table. The guy who told me to try it said it did not need those when I asked about the sauces. He did mention that the blood stew is traditionally eaten on rice cakes, but I did not get them. I like spicy food so I imagine your additions of lemon and chili would be good.

                                                3. re: thew

                                                  I'm tearing this thread apart, 3rd dinner in a row from this thread. Tonight I went with some friends to Chinatown and went to Cong Ly on this recommendation. The gigantic #1 Pho was delicious!! $6 for a bowl that size is even cheaper than my usual Pho place in Philly. I'm not sure I saw any omasa in the bowl, but thats ok, everything was really great. I added plenty of Sriracha and Hoisin to the broth and squeezed some lemon and ripped up some basil leaves. We also got the Vietnamese Spring Rolls for the table and they were really hot and fresh. $9 per person after tip and tax for a meal I could hardly finish is a success in my book.

                                                  Cong Ly
                                                  124 Hester St, New York, NY 10002

                                                4. you can get a variety of cheap cuban/argentinian empanadas at SWEETHEART DELI on 8th ave near w14th st.

                                                  the selection changes daily. not all are good but some are and they are very filling.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: mrnyc

                                                    Didn't they close? I think the space has been taken over by a boutique.

                                                  2. OK time for me to contribute findings. I've got a falafel better than Mamouns. It is from Cafe Rakka in St. Mark's on 1st Ave. It was delicious and $3.50. I plan to go back and try their other dishes like Baba Ghanoush and spinach pie soon.

                                                    Cafe Rakka
                                                    81 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                                                    1. Today I took a long wander and found a place I like that fits the bill. It is called Paquito's Mexican Food and it is really close to St. Mark's. It's a little hole-in-the-wall and there were Mexicans standing around the front working there, so I took that as a good sign. I ordered a Chorizo Burrito and it was humongous. I could not pick it up! It had yellow rice, beans, chorizo, cilantro, tomato, guacamole and more. The hot sauce they gave me was delicious. Granted it was not the best burrito I've ever had (I've had incredible ones), but I definitely plan on returning there. PS. The burrito was $7.50

                                                      143 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                                      1. Today I wandered in the St. Mark's direction and stumbled upon this tiny Japanese hole-in-the-wall. A couple was eating out front so I was curious enough to walk in. I said to the cooks "I'm an adventurous eater, what should I get?" His response "Octopus". So I got Combo B with 6 pieces of Octopus Takoyaki and 1 Okonomi topped with pork. Takoyaki is a fried batter ball with a piece of octopus inside and Okonomi was a sort of Japanese omelette type thing. They drizzled a bbq sauce and mayo on both, a bit of seaweed flakes then topped with dancing bonitas. The food was delicious and something I had never had before and was certainly in my sub-$10 price range for a meal at $9.

                                                        236 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                        1. "Chinese place" - Lots of places like that in any of the various Chinatowns(manhattan queens, Brooklyn). Just walk around. Too many posts already

                                                          Pizza - too many posts already

                                                          Curry Hill - Kaloustian - Also consider the various Indian Buffets.

                                                          If you are looking for a lot of food, go to the Fair Way supermarket, or other supermarkets.

                                                          Look for lunch specials everywhere. Spice Thai I think is $8.50 with tip for entree and appetizer.

                                                          Most street vendors. http://streetvendor.org/vendys/

                                                          1. A few repeats but some good new ones here. A few may have bitten the dust since last August.


                                                            1. Lunch today was at Tehuitzingo. It's an unassuming bodega, but in the back there is a tiny window with two women cooking up fresh authentic Mexican cook. I had three tacos at lunch and am still too full to eat dinner!! I had Barbacoa, Carnitas, and Chicharron. There were a bunch of Mexican workers eating their lunch in there, which is always a good sign. And there's the charm of the Mexican Soaps on TV and the Mexican music jukebox! Cost me $7.75 for an awesome meal. There's also pickled jalapeños, salsa toppings, and hot sauce on the counter.

                                                              695 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: MWinston

                                                                Returned today and tried the Suadero (Beef Belly) and Lengua (Beef Tongue) tacos. Again, fantastic but I think I like the Lengua better because of the juiciness. I also ate a few peices of pickled jalapeno this time, spicy and delicious!

                                                                1. re: MWinston

                                                                  Go bold and try the sangre made of goat's blood and tripe! I'd love to hear how you tackled that after your experience with dinuguan.

                                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                                      I completed your challenge :D

                                                                      I started a food blog (that is completely relevant to this forum thread) 3 days ago. I'm trying to get my posts caught up to the current date before I release my post about this experience.


                                                                      1. re: MWinston

                                                                        You certainly are not frugal with your enthusiasm for frugality!

                                                                2. I followed my sense of adventure and have a few more finds to share.

                                                                  I wandered aimlessly and came across a place that intrigued me. Rino Ceronte Fresh Sandwicherie. Choose white or whole wheat. They take a ball of dough and hand-press it into flat-bread (wrap) form. Then choose your main ingredient: rib eye steak, portobello mushroom, chicken, or shimp. I chose the Rib Eye Steak. Choose your sauce or which they have like 8; I chose Chili Mayo. Choose your toppings (as many as you'd like, no charge). I chose lettuce, tomato salsa, sautéed onions, and chopped pickled jalapeño. It really was incredibly fresh tasting and delicious. A little on the high side of cost at $7.75, but it was really good. Pics below.

                                                                  I wandered more and came across a street fair. One of the food shops called Aamchi Pao on the block also had a street vendor set up which I ate from. I had something called a Vada Pao Slider which was an Indian style Potato and spice ball on top of a piece of bread and topped with traditional Indian Spicy green sauce and coconut garlic chutney. It was spicy and delicious (and only $3!!). The shop itself has a ton of really delicious sounding things all at these prices. Pics below.

                                                                  I walked past a Thai restaurant I went to like a year ago that I forgot about. Completely qualifies for the price range and actually has a nice Asian-Fusion ambiance. It's called Cafetasia and they have their menu organizes into Small, Medium, and Large dishes. Smalls are in the $4-$5 range, Mediums are in the $6-$7 range and larges are $9. I remember really enjoying the food when I went there. They also have a $7.50 Lunch Prix-Fixe.

                                                                  38 E 8th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                                  Aamchi Pao
                                                                  194 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012

                                                                  Rino Ceronte
                                                                  111 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012