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$15 to spend in Chinatown

I'm taking the day off and feel like walking around Chinatown for lunch, but I'm trying to stick to a budget. I've got $15 in my pocket, and want to sample something really delicious. Any suggestions? I've tried the pork buns at Mei Li Wah, and wasn't too crazy about them. I've had soup dumplings at Prosperity Dumpling and Super Taste (great, both places). Any other suggestions? Thanks. Hoping i can sample 2 or 3 things.

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  1. Let's see...here are some possible options.

    The $5.95 Lunch Special at Amazing 66:

    Small $7.00 order of Cantonese Style BBQ Roast Pork at Big Wong King:

    Order of Eight Tiny Fried Buns with Pork for $5.25 at 456:

    $6.00 Bowl of Beef Noodle Soup at Food Sing 88 Corp:

    Something at He Nan Flavors perhaps?

    Bowl of Wonton Soup at Noodle Village:

    Something spicy at Old Sichuan:

    Pork or Cumin Lam Burgers or Lamb Face Noodles at Xian Famous Foods:

    ending with Ice Cream or Sorbet from the Chinatwon Ice Cream Factory on Bayard?

    Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
    65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

    Amazing 66
    66 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

    Big Wong
    67 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

    Noodle Village
    13 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

    Food Sing 88
    2 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

    Xi'an Famous Foods
    88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

    Old Sichuan
    65 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

    He Nan Flavor
    68 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002

    1. Xi'an Famous Foods! Not as big a fan of the Lamb Face as some others, but the "burgers" and noodles are pretty great.

      Also worth a look: hand-pulled noodles at Lan Zhou Handmade Noodle on East Broadway between Pike and Essex. Not to be confused with another place with nearly the same name on Division (or maybe it was also on East Broadway, but closer to Bowery) that's totally inferior.

      Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle
      144 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

      Xi'an Famous Foods
      88 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

      Xi'an Famous Foods
      67 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

      9 Replies
      1. re: sgordon

        Also there is an excellent Malaysian Style Jerky on Canal between Orchard and Ludlow on the south side of the street.

        There is a Chinese kebab vendor up the block from the East Broadway Xi'an that sells $1 skewers of various meats and organs. I like the lamb sprinkled with cumin, chili pepper and salt.

        Ling Kee
        42 Canal St, New York, NY 10002

        1. re: sgordon

          is the address of the good lan zhou noodles 144 e broadway?

          1. re: AubWah

            yah 144 east bway (the name changed, but its the same place)

            1. re: Lau

              have u been there recently? is the broth worth the trouble? too salty?

              1. re: AubWah

                i haven't been there in 4-5 months, the broth is decent, i think its a bit better than the other places. The noodles are quite good and the beef is ok, but is a bit of an after thought. if you hit it with chili oil and pickled vegetables it will taste pretty decent

                overall, i think its the best of all the hand pulled noodle spots that i've been to in manhattan

                Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle
                144 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                1. re: AubWah

                  Was there about a month or so ago, still solid. It's a total hole-in-the-wall, the noodlemaker beats the dough on a big metal table right out in the dining room, which can be fun to watch if you're dining solo. I like their broth more than Super Taste or Sheng Wang, personally, and like Lau says it's meant to be hit with a dollop of the pickled veggies and the chilis in oil. Also like he says, the meat is just sort of tossed in - but I find that's the case at most places. It's usually a hunk of something tendony and gristly, which some people like to chew on (me not so much) - but really, it's about the broth and the noodles in the end.

                  Their dumplings are also decent. A bit thick-skinned, but the filling is all right. Nothing to go out of your way for, nor as good as Vanessa's or Prosperity (though I think Prosperity's gone a bit downhill of late, personally) - but if you find a bowl of soup isn't quite enough for you, you could do worse than add an order.

                  Vanessa's Dumpling House
                  118 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                  Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle
                  144 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                  Prosperity Dumpling
                  46 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                  1. re: sgordon

                    Prosperity dumplings taste of msg to me. I prefer Tasty dumpling

                    Tasty Dumpling
                    54 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

                    Prosperity Dumpling
                    46 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                  2. re: AubWah

                    I thought it was slightly salty on my last visit. But these things easily change with each visit. Folks are friendly. Smaller portion of beef noodles compared to the other places.

                    1. re: scoopG

                      i think 144 east broadway's fried dumplings are quite good, i like them better than prosperity although they are different type of dumpling

            2. the peking duck sandwich at vanessa dumpling house. Though I had to walk out last time I was there due to the huge line of tourists clutching their guide books....

              Vanessa's Dumpling House
              118 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

              1. You could also parse up the $15 and hit up various street vendors for a congee-zongzi-fish ball-dragon beard candy mini tasting menu.

                1. OK very interesting. Not sure what you mean about soup dumplings at prosperity and super taste, those places are more about fried pork dumplings at prosperity and hand pulled noodle soups at super taste. Soup Dumplings are generally associated with Shanghai restaurants. I suggest trying them at Shanghai Cafe at 100 Mott. They come 8 to an order for $4.95. Then go to Great NY Noodletown and order roast duck and roast pork on rice and do not forget to ask for ginger sauce. That costs around 5 or 5.50. Then go to Double Crispy Bakery and get a coconut almond pastry and a small yuen yang drink for $1.80. You should be stuffed

                  Double Crispy Bakery
                  230 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

                  Great New York Noodletown
                  28 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

                  Shanghai Cafe
                  100 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                  1. I do not know any of the names of these places, hopefully someone else can help you there....

                    but I would hit up one of those *four/five items with rice* buffet places. There's one on Grand and another on Centre if not mistaken. Along the same lines, there a butcher shop with a steam table on Mulberry/Canal with prepared foods sold by weight or combo.

                    last, hit up a place like Wah Fung #1 Fast Food on Chrystie

                    Wah Fung No. 1 Fast Food
                    79 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: fourunder

                      I think the one on Centre is called Lunch Box Buffet, and that's really a great suggestion for economy meals.

                      Lunch Box Buffet
                      195 Centre St, New York, NY 10013

                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        Right there are five of these buffet type places. One on Grand as jonkyo notes below and three on Division street.

                    2. Bo Ky - noodles soups, duck. Can get both for $15.

                      New Bo Ky
                      80 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

                      1. I would suggest go to Bo Ky.

                        Order the plate of 卤味 "luwie" for 5 dollars and one of the noodle dishes for about 6 or 6 + dollars.

                        The plate of "lu wei" is mixed meat and quite good, that is if you like organ meat. If not I think the “lu wei" chicken is just a dollar more than the noddle dishes. That might meat you budget.

                        I prefer 粗面 cumian, for the noodle there, but have also many meals with their "hefun"

                        The cu mian is yellow and thin, a bit not cooked to the max. It goes by the name of mee pok:

                        Bo Ky Restaurant Inc

                        80 Bayard Street
                        New York, NY
                        (212) 406-2292Bo Ky Restaurant

                        216 Grand Street
                        New York, NY
                        (212) 219-9228

                        Lot of other great suggestions.

                        New Bo Ky
                        80 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

                        Grand Bo Ky
                        216 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

                        1. BBQ Pork Pho with side of Fried Pork Rolls (drop a couple in the Pho) at Nam Som on Grand

                          Nam Son
                          245 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                          1. Better idea, on Grand just East of Bowery on the south side just after the orange colored bubble tea 波霸茶 shop is a buy four dishes with soup.

                            Reads 四菜一汤: $4.50

                            The exact price may be a bit more or less by cents, but you get t choose
                            from buffet style. Quite a selection. It is more for fast food.

                            Sit down and enjoy, check out some of the other places like Vietnamese owned Bo Ky, with choazhou in the mix.

                            1. Sunlight Bakery for their made-to-order cheung fun. My favorite is the fresh shrimp -- and only $2!

                              Happy Star Bakery
                              160-162 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                Is Sunlight Bakery at 160 East Broadway?

                                1. re: scoopG

                                  yes, its now called happy star

                                2. re: Miss Needle

                                  I second that, and the chang fun that comes with chucks of pork with bone and toro all mixed on the plate. The chang fun roll with this is cut to bite size, had this once a while ago.

                                  Though with that budget OX on Hester is great too. The chang fun comes with a stem of bok coy or 小白菜。

                                  Better yet if you want the ambiance to be commensurate with inexpensive I would go to a bakery near 汇丰 bank, or HSBC on the corner of Allen south side of Grand. That bakery is great, and offers more selection than Sunlight. It is just a few doors down from HSBC. It is called Great Bakery.

                                  By far the cheapest place that has been there for years and still serves up the best is under the bridge on south side of East Braodway. While many food enthusiats spend time gathering at Prosperity Dumpling and the one up on Eldridge opposite the Chinese owned European looking crape shop, this under the bridge place offers a better experience. 拌面 and 水饺 are great there。

                                  XO Kitchen
                                  148 Hester St, New York, NY 10013

                                  Great Bakery
                                  303 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                                  1. re: jonkyo

                                    You mean XO on Hester, right?

                                3. Thanks for all the responses. My trip to Chinatown ended up being a disaster. Ok, that's a bit strong, but i had a very frustrating experience. Man - next time, i'll do things differently.

                                  I'll try to be brief - i had a fantastic walk from the West Village into Chinatown - took Hudson Street and made a left on Spring Street and then a right on Mott Street. I decided to try "456 Shanghai Restaurant" for the Tiny Fried Buns w/ Pork. When i read that post, it really got me salivating, so i headed straight there. I figured i'd peruse the menu, and add another item to meet my $15 spending budget.

                                  Upon arriving, i was a little surprised by the white table-cloth look of the place - i was expecting your typical Chinatown decor. After being seated, i looked over the menu and decided on a bowl of their "special" Wanton Soup, an order of the Tiny Fried Pork Buns and an order of Spring Rolls. Total cost was around $13.50. But then - out of nowhere, the Waiter tells me "nooo sir - that's too much food." I said, 'You think?" He said "Yes, way too much food for you." I said....'Okayyyy...." He said "Instead, you should get "broken English, couldn't really understand what he was saying" but i figured, Ok sure, i trust your judgement, sounds great.

                                  My mistake. The waiter brings me a giant bowl of noodles with pork and shrimp and chicken. It was decent - too many noodles (and too thick) for my liking, but it had decent flavor. An order of Scallion Pancakes (average at best), An order of Steamed Juicy Buns (these were the best of the bunch, although in my opinion, not great - i've had much better) and finally, they bring this giant bowl of Wanton Soup (bland). And the bill was $22!

                                  Of course i blame myself. Sometimes when i'm in a Chinese restaurant, i want to be surprised, and if the waiter wants to order for me, i let him. But obviously i should have specified what i wanted to spend, and....well, i guess it could have been worse. But man, was i frustrated leaving that place. The Waiter tells me my original order was "too much food," and yet he brings me 4 dishes, enough to feed a family of 4? Was he trying to get me to spend more and increase his tip?

                                  Well, yes, it's my rookie fault for how things went down in Chinatown, and he got $1 for his tip. I will have to go back to square 1 and review all of your suggestions on this post for my next Friday jaunt into Chinaville.

                                  Sorry for the lengthy tale!

                                  456 Shanghai Cuisine
                                  69 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                                  14 Replies
                                  1. re: jdross19

                                    Thanks for reporting back and sorry to hear about the mix up. I thought you were planning on visiting a few places, sort of like a mini food and walking tour. But you cannot walk into 456, sit down and just order their Juicy Pork Buns unless they are empty (or you are well known to them) where they will allow you to occupy a two or four top for such a small order.

                                    What did you expect to pay for four items? You would have been better off ordering one of their 36 lunch specials, which range in price from $5.50 ( Preserved Vegetable with Soybeans and Tofu Skin) to $6.95 (Sauteed Fish Fillet in Tomato Sauce). Served with Rice and Soup.

                                    1. re: scoopG

                                      Yes, that was my original gameplan, to do a mini food/walking tour, but when i entered the place and saw it was a nice sit-down restaurant, i altered the plan and decided to just sit and order a couple items. And when the waitier said he'd order for me, i expected him to bring Less than what i originally ordered (which was a $13.50 order of 3 items). He explained that was "too much food" and so when he started recommending some different stuff, i just (wrongly) assumed it would be less.

                                      1. re: jdross19

                                        I'm confused....two bowls of soup? Also, a buck tip is not cool. Mentally, you ordered at least three items and assuming that was at least 10 bucks, you should have tipped more based on that alone.

                                        1. re: jdross19

                                          I think you misinterpreted the waiter. I don't think he was trying to get you to spend more money. He steered you away from ordering the tiny fried pork buns (which aren't tiny at all -- can feed a party of four easily) and had you order the juicy steamed buns instead (which are much better for a solo diner). That said, it still seems like a lot of food for one person.

                                          1. re: jdross19

                                            That's unfortunate. It does sound odd that the waiter would bring you so much food. I wonder if there was a miscommunication somewhere. That said, I'm not blaming you for the $1 tip either. I can understand why you did it, but just saying that there could have been a misunderstanding due to the the language.

                                        2. re: jdross19

                                          That is one of the most depressing stories I've heard in a while. You should pretend that never happened, maybe even see a hypnotist to try to erase the memory. Listen--Do not Pass Go. Do not Collect $200. Go to Great NY Noodletown. Order Roast Duck and Roast Pork on rice and ask for ginger sauce. Sip the tea. Exhale, and leave a $1 tip.

                                          1. re: jdross19

                                            Unfortunately 456 was gravely ill advised. Its not really a place to go by yourself-I wouldn't even go there at all. I ate there once and the food was good, but I didn't like the vibe. Shanghai Cafe is where to go for Shanghai food. You could order 2 cold dishes there for an agreeable price. Order the spicy cabbage and the kau fu. And some soup dumplings too bourdain

                                            1. re: jdross19

                                              I am preplexed.

                                              I think I have been there, Mott, white table cloths and some yellow theme curtain or something, up jus a bit of stairs.

                                              I had roasted duck and a beer, spoke no English and actually had the waiter chatting with me due to his desire to speak Chinese to an American who spoke his language and lived in his part of the world.

                                              I know this type of establishment and typically order duck, or some large dishes if I go with friends, otherwise I eat other places in Chinatown.

                                              I do have to say that the only guests in there at that time were Chinese, and one table with two Chinese speakers who were accompanied by a non-speaker, and they ordered in manner as if they were in Canton itself.

                                              If spring rolls and such are your fancy, I suggest other places, but perhaps others here are more adept at suggestions in this type of food.

                                              Pork buns, I don't understand these, but they seem to be talked about much here. Many places for them. Ask the Chowhound.

                                              My recommend is to stay away from the more decorative places, and go to Eldridge street, Division Street, and East Broadway.

                                              Next time go to 闽江 That is Min Jiang, but the romanization on the sign is something else to correlate with Fuzhou language pronunciation rather than mandarin. Just write this on paper:


                                              Ming Jiang is a river that empty into the sea at the point where Fuzhou City is in Fujian Province, China. Hence 闽南: designation for culture and language. 江: 'jiang' is 'river'.

                                              They are on East Broadway. They have much, and can speak English but unlike the pushy waiter from Canton or Guandong you encountered, the people here are more patient and like the fact that you have interest in their place. (Not too say Guangdong people are not kind, becase they can be quite kind and very friendly.

                                              Min JIang 95 Eat Broadway:

                                              They mostly do noodle dishes buthve much much more, like plates of intestine, liver, meat, duck meat, and soy marinated slow simmer foods, tofu dishes, fried noodles, stir fries of sort, deep fried rice mush cake etc.

                                              HERE IS ADDRESS: 福州閩江餐舘(福州- 曼哈頓) | 95 East Broadway, New York, NY, 10002

                                              It is on the South side just after the underpass and acoss the street is a competion serving the exact same stuff, the both are open late meaning after midnight and beer is 2 dollars. Great place, and inexpensive. I used lon ago go to the 94 East Broadway shop, called 张家兴正宗福州菜馆 Zhang Jia Xing Zheng Zong Fuzhou Cia Guan: Zhang Family Happy Original Fuzhou Restaurant。These days I switched sides.....kidding, a jest, I like them both, but for longer eat I prefer Min Jiang.

                                              Here is another place call Lao San 老三: 老三小吃(福州- 曼哈頓) | 26 East Broadway, New York, NY, 10002, that is just down from the corner of East Broadway, where 88 Sing is.

                                              Lao San's menu is not up yet as you can see. Someone here should work on that, bilingually:


                                              Check these out for your consideration:

                                              The main venue on this article as well as ones mentioned


                                              This is cheap and have pork bun.....I think:


                                              Also Northern Dumpling Beifang Guotie 北方锅贴 on Essex:

                                              Directions: http://chinesefoodmap.com/37349/NY/Ma...

                                              East Broadway Restaurant
                                              94 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                                              North Dumpling
                                              27 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

                                              Min Jiang
                                              95 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                                              1. re: jonkyo

                                                Min Jiang sounds up my alley.

                                                One question, though: I've found that in Fuzhou restaurants, smoking tends to occur and be tolerated by the management. I am not willing to patronize restaurants where they allow someone to light up in the diring room, let one those where there is a table or even two tables smoking. Has that happened when you've been to Min Jiang?

                                                1. re: Pan

                                                  Has not happened at Min Jiang, nor other resaurants within any Fuzhou related proprietary structure established for the restaurant trade.

                                                  1. re: jonkyo

                                                    Maybe not there, but in Best Fuzhou and that other restaurant on the corner of Market and East Broadway, it has indeed happened.

                                                    Best Fuzhou
                                                    71 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                                                    1. re: Pan

                                                      Oh, I have not witnessed such.

                                                      Sorry to hear that such ruins perhaps a good dining experiece otherwise.

                                              2. re: jdross19

                                                I went to the reconstituted 456 once and had notably rude service and just OK food. I won't be back. But even with rude service, my tip was not as bad as $1, for whatever that's worth.

                                                1. re: Pan

                                                  It is truly a moral issue(it impinges on customers moral fiber) , as well as an ethical issue. Generaly speaking, I have not ever had a problem in a NYC restaurant leaving a tip, meaning have not had that feeling that it woul be justified to use punitive measues when leaving the tip due to rudeness, lack of quality in service.

                                                  Of course I have received poor service, but I do not leave less than 15 %. Poor service may have many different variables contributing to such, and it would be best for cusomers to be as understanding and cognizant of this fact.

                                                  If you see them trying to be adequate but other variables are affecting the service, such as the kitchen, busy lunch hour, visitation of an extraterrestrial, regime change, slide in domestic spending, troubles at home, etc.

                                                  Jokes aside, I generally think that if it is not a service that seems to be defined as outright or near delinquent, then at the least 15% should be left.

                                                  In NYC generally, especially with the inexpsnsive food items in one level of Chinatown market, leaving a bit extra is not irresponsible to your budget and may contribute to the greater happiness of the place and people who serviced you, because most of these places are good to great with service. That should be a rule at many places not just Chinatown. Add 20% to 23% for the tip if you have friendly happy service or efficient service commensurate to environment (ie: customer load; kitchen efficiency, etc. )

                                                  What is 23% more when the meal is 4 dollars to 7 dollars. The wait staff is not getting tables spending 50 dollars or 100 dollars, so if the service is good, why not. I generally do not do this if I am eating above that budget though, unless with friends we pitch in and do that.

                                                  If one does not want to take responsibility for one's role in the tip in relationships with establishments, one ought to visit counter service places. Judgement is part of that responsibility and one should judge fairly and intelligently.

                                                  Chinatown Tipping [moved from Manhattan board]


                                              3. At Fried Dumplings on Mosco Street (off Pell), you an get 4 fried dumplings for $1.00.

                                                I would get 60 for $15.

                                                Fried Dumpling
                                                106 Mosco St, New York, NY 10013