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Jul 25, 2012 01:25 PM

ISO Cheap eats Philadephia: looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks - all for under $10 a meal

This is a thread I have done in several other cities and now it takes me to Philadelphia. What are your go tos for cheap eats? What else is out there besides hoagies, cheesesteaks and roast porks? Im looking for a place where I could eat there, has some character in terms of owners and staff, and is a generous with portions - I aint on no diet.

Thanks guys.

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  1. For dinner, hit up Hardena on Moore St near 15th. It's a hole in the wall Indonesian rice table place. For under $10 you get a plate of jasmine rice and you get to choose three items from the steam table to top it off. The beef rendang is one of my favorites. You might even have enough left over to spring for a satay.

    1. I just had a great lunch at San Kee in the Wynwood shopping center for $13--a bento box of
      three items, one from columns A,B, and C... My idea of a bargain.

      But, I will tell you the best bargain meals around: Costco in King of Prussia. Where else can
      two people get a fun lunch for $6.52? Sausage and pepper sandwhich, plus one large drink shared. They also have Kosher style hot dogs plus a drink for $1.50. It's kinda far though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bashful3

        There is a San Kee in Chinatown downtown and also in Reading Terminal Market. You can definitely get a nice roast pork/duck platter or noodle soup for well under $10 at either location.

      2. Lots of great places to get pho--a huge bowl for well under $10. Try Pho Ha or Pho 75. Also, the taquerias around 9th street are good cheap meals. Around Rittenhouse, try Philadelphia Chutney Company for dosas.

        1. Sitar India on 38th St near Market St has a tasty Indian buffet under $10 for lunch and slightly over for dinner. Closed on Tuesdays.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Seeker19104

            The Dutch Eating Place in Reading Terminal Market has massive pancakes. It's well under $10 even with an add on like scrapple, bacon, sausage, turkey bacon, or potatoes. They also have two types of french toast and big omelettes. The portions are really big and the atmosphere is great...but you gotta sit at the counter and not do take out to get the full effect. Amish girls take your order. The food is quick and homemade. All kinds of people stop by here. They are only open from Tuesdays to Saturdays. They serve lunch too but it's more of a breakfast place.

            Reading Terminal Market is a good place to get a filling lunch. They do have $7 meal deals too:


            1. re: bluehensfan

              If you are looking for a cheap lunch at RTM, the Sang Kee has a triple dumpling soup that is huge all for about 5 dollars. Three different types of dumplings in a large bowl with cabbage onions and scallions in a flavorful broth. Only downside is the plastic cutlery.

            2. re: Seeker19104

              Second that, I love Sitar India, definitely my Indian Buffet of choice in the Philly area, and very inexpensive for the quality.

            3. Pho and tacos around 9th St are great recs. Also in the Italian Market on 9th St, Paesano's has amazing sandwiches (better than 99% of cheesesteaks), all less than $10 and ample in size. I'd say Paesano's is a can't miss, especially if you are eating < $10. Mama's on 20th St in Center City has great falafel, a large sandwich is $6.00 or so and generous--a whole pita, 7 or 8 falafel balls plus all the fixings. Don't miss the free pickle bar towards the back. For breakfast, Reading Terminal is a great idea as mentioned. You can also get very good breakfast sandwiches at pretty much any street cart in Center City or West Philly, which will be under $5. In general, dinner will be more challenging than lunch so that would be good time to hit the Vietnamese spots in South Philly or Chinatown.

              There are a lot of great options... check out Holly Moore' site for more ideas, I think it will be right up your alley.

              1 Reply
              1. re: barryg

                Also on 9th are very good tamales (for around $2.50) at Los Amigos Meat Market (maybe weekends only) and pretty good tlocoyos (football shaped tortilla masa "pockets" filled with beans in this case) at the Tortilleria y San Ramon - and they're always happy to give you a free hot tortilla to try with their salsa.