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Jun 10, 2013 08:33 AM

Looking for amazing and inexspensive Asian Cuisine in Chinatown

My daughter and her friends ( Asian exchange students) are planning a trip into the city. Her friends are a little homesick and are looking for really good authentic Asian food that would include Thai, Korean, Vietnamese and Sushi (all in one restaurant) in Chinatown. Did I mention they were students, so the restaurant has to be affordable. Thanks in advance for your recommendations!

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  1. All those cuisines in one restaurant is not going to net you amazing food, especially for people who are from Asia. You aren't going to find a huge variety of quality food under one roof here -- like the hawker stalls / night markets / huge food courts you find in East Asia.

    Chinatown's strength is in Chinese food, too. If you want Thai, go to the East Village and go to Zabb Elee. For Korean, why not Koreatown? Vietnamese isn't really a strength in Manhattan. And cheap sushi probably isn't going to be any good. I'm assuming you want to pay around $15-20pp.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks kathryn, just trying to make everyone happy, but I trust your choices as I have read your reviews in the past. Maybe if we give them a few options and let them decide.

      1. re: jetermacaw

        I like Tu Do on Bowery (btwn grand and hester west side) for Vietnamese. The pho tai nam, canh chua, com suon nuon, bun cha gio are all tasty. Make sure you get the goi cuon. You can skip the banh cuon. I've yet to find any good banh cuon in the city so we just make our own when the need arises. Tu Do is very affordable.

        For banh mi, I like Banh Mi Saigon on Broome.

        1. re: rottyguy

          Updating this thread with a tasty report on Banh Mi Saigon from lunch yesterday. I had a great lemongrass tofu banh mi with vegan chicken, plenty of fresh cilantro, a generous portion of the very flavorful tofu and shredded pickled carrot daikon mix, fresh tender yet chewy bread-a generous sandwich for $5.50! Also took a photo of my friend's three large shrimp summer rolls with peanut dipping sauce, another bargain at $5.25. The guy at the counter was super friendly and said the lemongrass tofu was his favorite of their veg options (there are 5 different veg banh mi!). I'll be back soon.

    2. If they want to stay in Manhattan, as students they would probably be happy with Food Gallery 32 in Koreatown ( Some of the food is quite good - there's a variety of mostly Korean but also crossover offerings, and it's all affordable.

      If they feel like taking the LIRR (faster) or the 7 train (cheaper) to Flushing, they can visit the New World Mall Food Court, right by the train station, which has tons of wallet-friendly options that are popular with students of all cultures. Much of it is Chinese of various denominations, but there's also some other stuff. Not all of it is great, but there are a couple of particularly good things there.

      If they're homesick, I think visiting a true Asian-style food court, with all the attendant hustle and bustle will make them happy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Peter Cuce

        I can second the New World Mall Food Court, that is going to offer the most choice in one place. It's mostly Chinese, but there are different regional Chinese foods available, at least one Korean place, and a fast food teriyaki place. It would definitely beat going to a "pan-Asian" restaurant in Manhattan which is a recipe for disappointment...

        Even for individual Chinese or Korean restaurants, Flushing would probably have better options than Manhattan Chinatown...

      2. What about New Malaysia or Sanur--a cross of Southern Chinese, Malay, and Indonesian?

        1. all in one resaurant? come on; get real.

          good cheap sushi - a contradiction in terms. save your pennies and go to a good Chinese or Korean restaurant.

          6 Replies
          1. re: cambridgedoctpr

            The OP didn't say "cheap"--s/he said "authentic" and "affordable"

            1. re: Elisa515

              But also OP said that they were students, which usually means cheap eats.

              1. re: kathryn

                I think the OP was careful not to say that--and it's not fair for someone to malign a request for "cheap sushi" that wasn't made.

                There certainly is "affordable" sushi in NYC, especially on lunch specials.

              2. re: Elisa515

                "inexspensive" (sic) is in the title of the thread.

                1. re: small h

                  Despite the misspelling, I do think there's a difference between inexpensive and cheap. Apparently some disagree.

                  1. re: Elisa515

                    < Apparently some disagree.>

                    Yes. The Merriam-Webster dictionary, for example.


                    Cheap isn't always a pejorative term (although "cheap sushi" probably is). NY Magazine does an annual feature called "Cheap Eats," and they're certainly not trying to insult any of the restaurants on the list.


            2. Oh my goodness I didn't think that my misspelling of inexpensive could cause such controversy, but thanks everyone for the recommendations, except for Cambridgedoctor. These are homesick Asian exchange students living on a budget looking to enjoy the NYC experience. Pennies... really?

              2 Replies
              1. re: jetermacaw

                It's more than that.

                Saying "Asian" exchange students "looking for really good authentic Asian food that would include Thai, Korean, Vietnamese and Sushi" is no different than saying European exchange students looking for really good authentic European food that would include Italian, German and Spanish dishes all in one restaurant.

                1. re: jetermacaw

                  Sorry about that. Some people here get overly huffy for strange reasons. Clearly you're trying to do something nice and don't need all te grief.

                  The K-town food court is a good idea because they can get a bit of variety.