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The Best Carts?

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Hi! I'm bringing my boyfriend to the city (his first time ever!). I want him to see the city I've fallen in love with as a young child and has been a huge influence on my life.

That and, you know, 30 Rock.

The problem, though, is that we have a microscopic budget. Super tiny. Like $20 per person per meal is way too high.

We'll be checking out Gray's Papaya, Katz (our splurge) and Shanghai Cafe for soup dumplings (my own demand).

So we're looking for food carts and super cheap food to fill in for the rest of the day. I know that there are carts besides for hot dogs, some famous ones, and we want to check them out.

Thanks for any tips!

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  1. I know a number of good cheap options in the Times Square area, since that's where I work, and elsewhere in the city because I am a cheap bastard and moved here while unemployed. Worth noting that many of these places I found on the Midtown Lunch blog; you could give that a quick read.

    - Kwik Meal cart at 45th St and 6th Ave, my personal favorite for "street meat" (chicken/lamb over rice). The Lamb Pita is to die for, and $6.50.
    - Biryani Cart at 46th and 6th. Killer biryani and kati rolls.
    - Mamoun's falafel (there's one in the east village on 8th st between 2nd and 3rd and one in the west village somewhere). Excellent falafel for $2.50, shawarma for $5.
    - There's also a very good kosher falafel at Moshe's, a cart on 45th just east of 6th.
    - Pommes Frites on 2nd Ave between 7th and 8th. Amazing fries, interesting sauces. I like the curry ketchup.

    And the number-one prize for best food value, in my opinion, goes to:
    - Prosperity Dumpling on Eldridge St (between Canal and Hester) in Chinatown. Five fried pork dumplings for $1. How are you going to beat that?

    That's probably enough from me, but let me know if you're looking for anything more specific.

    2 Replies
    1. re: eliah

      Are you staying in a hotel? Can you cook breakfast for yourselves. Eat at Baoguette (3 locations), go to Chinatown (The Great NewYork Noodletown on Bowery south of Canal) and eat at the carts as you plan. You'll save $ from each meal's allowance and be able to splurge for dinner.

      1. re: serious

        Nah, we're staying with family on Staten Island and taking the ferry in. Thanks for the advice!

    2. Look under the section carts.

      http://midtownlunch.com/lunch-by-food...

      You should also do a search on the Manhattan board for "cheap eats." Here are a couple of threads that should help you get started.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/622548
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/390555

      If you also go to Queens and Brooklyn, there are many cheap eats to be had there as well.

      1. I second the recommendation for hitting a dumpling place. You could stuff yourselves for under $5 at any of those tiny joints.

        also here's a site I like with cheap eats:
        http://www.cheapassfood.com/eats

        1. Banh Mi Saigon Bakery for the number 1 sugar sweet sunshine the pistachio cupcakes!!! Prosperity Dumpling 5 for 1

          1. Halal cart aka Chicken and Rice at 53rd and 6th is the best by far. its not $1 but its worth it.