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Sep 3, 2013 06:48 PM

Poor college student seeks sub-9 dollar(after tax and tip) in NYU/Union square area.

Lunch and dinner. Preference for healthier foods; food trucks welcome. Please advise.

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  1. Dos Toros is a great, cheap Mexican spot. Burritos, quesadillas, and tacos. Next door is a good teriyaki joint also.

    1. I don't think you can get a table-service meal for that price, so here are some other options. I can personally vouch for only Num Pang & Dos Toros, but I think you'd be fine with anything on this list. Also consider the Whole Foods salad/hot food bar. Just don't put anything too heavy on your tray.

      There's also a Taiwanese food truck that's usually parked just south of the Cube, which has good hot & sour soup (and less good dumplings).

      1. Num Pang is the first place to spring to mind. No tip necessary.

        1. My son, a chowhound in similar circumstances, recommends the upstairs eating area at Whole Foods.

          1. If you have a fridge and a microwave, you might want to consider making a trip to Flushing. Buying a bunch of lunch specials from Hunan Kitchen ($4.75 each) and freezing them will give you some decently healthy and nutritious options and the quality will be better than the takeout places similarly priced in Manhattan. It's hard to find a better value in NYC for cooked food. Flushing in general is a value mecca when it comes to food. I've bought 5 or 6 lunch specials for extended consumption. Also, fruit and vegetables are very inexpensive in Flushing as well. You could buy several pounds of tasty leafy greens for under a $1 and cook them simply by steaming them in a microwave. When I had no money, this was the way to go.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Pookipichu

              OP could do just as well in Chinatown and not have to trek all the way to Flushing (which, by the way, is not in the NYU/Union Sq area)

              1. re: iluvcookies

                It's a suggestion, and yes I realize that Flushing is not in the NYU/Union Sq. area but the portions and quality of ingredients used are better in Flushing for less money than Chinatown. If he/she is really poor, inconvenience of a trip on the subway is outweighed by being able to get a good meal inexpensively.

                1. re: Pookipichu

                  Generally, Manhattan Chinatown is cheaper than Flushing Chinatown. The Manhattan Chinese folks are less wealthy and more elderly.

                  Quality-wise, Manhattan and Flushing Chinatowns cater to different Chinese groups, so ... perhaps what you view as better quality might be closer in line with your regional preference?

                  Not meant to nitpick too much. I love Flushing Chinatown too. But unless, say, someone specifically wanted Hunan food, which Flushing has better options, Manhattan Chinatown is just as good (if not cheaper).

                  1. re: villainx

                    I don't think you're nit-picking but I disagree that Chinatown offers better value. (Specifically addressing lunch) From my experience, the quality of meat used and the quality of cooking is generally inferior in Chinatown at the same price point. You can get $3 lunch box in Flushing that is same quality as $5 lunch box in Chinatown and $4.75 for something you'd pay $8-10. Hunan Kitchen lunch is pretty generic, e.g. you can get chicken with broccoli.

                    1. re: Pookipichu

                      That $3.00 lunch box in Flushing ends up costing $8.00 when you factor in a round trip subway ride; Chinatown is in reasonable walking distance from NYU area.
                      OP can go to Big Wong on Mott and for $6.00 get roast pork and soy sauce chicken over rice. Add a soda and a tip and for less than $10 he'll be quite full at a decent sit-down place.

                      1. re: iluvcookies

                        He/she can judge whether it makes sense to make the trip, I'm sure the college student can do the math.

                        I've eaten many times in Chinatown vs. Flushing, I'm adding my 2 cents about quality and value. I think it will all be helpful to the OP or is your point that I shouldn't have made a suggestion....

                        1. re: iluvcookies

                          That's partially my point, the BBQ meats are decent in Manhattan Chinatown, but less so in Flushing.

                          At the same time, there's no decent Taiwanese joint in Manhattan.

                          The restaurants are fairly culinarily distinct. So like I said it comes down to preference. But if one just wanted chicken and broccoli over rice .... get that at whichever nearby Chinese takeout.