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College student visiting Manhattan on an infinitesimal budget. Staying in Upper West Side.

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Hi folks!

I'm going to be staying in New York City from the 22nd through the 26th of May and I was wondering if I could get the experts opinions on some good, unique food in the city for a budget that won't budge. I'm talking $5-10 a meal. $15 maybe $20 max. I'm staying in a hostel on West 88th and the closer the better but I'm willing to travel to the outer boroughs so long as its within a reasonable walking distance from a subway stop.

Specifically, I'd like to find some really good authentic Chinese, Mexican, and soul food places. A good deli with sandwiches that don't cost $16 is also something I'm interested in Suggestions for other types of food that I can't typically find at my home in the woods of Maine would work too but bear in my mind that my traveling companion is a picky eater with somewhat unadventurous tastes. Basically a meat and potatoes type of fella. Given that we're college students, suggestions for bars in the area are also welcomed.

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  1. I went to NYC for the first time last year and one of the things that were most different were the food carts by ea corner! (This is not allowed in Chicago where I'm from) The food was really - surprisingly - good! Chicken shish kebob cooked on coals, eaten from the stick as I walked around, and sandwiches on pita bread were also wonderful and CHEAP! These are practically at every corner.

    Also - found out accidentally as I was completely panicing when I couldn't find my credit card which I had misplaced in a pocket - admission to a museum we went to was "suggested" so if you don't have the money just let them know and you can still get in. Visit the South Street Seaport, and the hop on hop off bus is a great deal if you can spend at least a "bit". PATH train that leaves the station every 15 min or so?? (can't remember exactly since it's been a year) was only $1.50?? $1.75?? and you can take it to Hoboken, NJ where you can also walk around and visit lots of cafes & shops. If you take the wrong train just hop on the next one to the other route, costs nothing unless you leave the station and enter again, And I'm not sure if I remember correctly or not, but there may be a free ferry ride??

    1 Reply
    1. re: FormerPatient

      Staten Island Ferry is free. I went on it during my first and so far only visit to The City four or five years ago. Mostly hit up the touristy sights there so I'm sure all of your suggestions will be completely new to me.

      Forgot to mention German food in the original post. Don't have any in Portland. Any good reasonably priced beer halls with some good wurst in the area?

    2. these current threads may help:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7007...

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6942...

      go to chinatown for authentic and cheap chinese. there are countless threads here. just do a search on this board. here's a start:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6986...

      for cheap and authentic mex, i'd strongly recommend:

      http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/... ********
      http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

      this one is fun but old so make sure these places are still open before you go:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4068...

      have fun and report back.

      1. I recommend The Symposium greek restaurant on W. 113th St., beloved by Columbia U students and neighborhood residents for over 40 yrs. I was there 2 yrs. ago and the prices had barely gone up. Check out the menu here:

        http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

        1 Reply
        1. re: FLnow

          I second symposium. They are also the sweetest people and that warm pita bread is great.