Best cheap eats in Chinatown

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Mei Li Wah Bakery

Mei Li Wah Bakery Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
A family-run 30-year-old Chinatown institution sells offbeat flavors like lychee, almond cookie, and ginger at $3.75 for one generous scoop. 65 Bayard St between Elizabeth and Mott Sts (212-608-4170)

East Corner Wonton
Show up for a breakfast (8am--1pm) of thick congee ($2--$4.25) and delicate rice crpes ($1.75--$2.25). Later on, try entres—like curry beef stew or roasted pork and scrambled eggs—that range from $4 to $5.50. 70 East Broadway between Market and Catherine Sts (212-343-9896)

Lunch Box Buffet
At this Chinese-style buffet featuring vegetables, tofu and fried whole fish, a heaping five dishes—or four with rice—go for $4.25. The healthy options include seaweed “twists” and cold cucumber salad. 243 Grand St between Chrystie St and Bowery (646-541-0205)

Mei Li Wah Bakery
This recently renovated old classic continues to offer some of the freshest roasted-pork buns in the city, each under $1. 64 Bayard St between Elizabeth and Mott Sts (212-966-7866)

Prosperity Dumpling
Handmade dumplings, boiled or steamed, are five for a dollar. Other bargains include filling noodle dishes, which start as low as $1.75 for the cold sesame variety, and thinly sliced beef stuffed in a giant pancake with sweet pickled vegetables for $1.50. 46 Eldridge St between Hester and Canal (212-343-0683)

Sau Voi Corp
Banh mi sandwich shops are everywhere, but there is something still authentically hole-in-the wall about paying $4 at a CD shop counter for a spicy BBQ chicken or BBQ pork sub stuffed with pickled radishes and carrots. 101 Lafayette St at Walker St (212-226-8184)

Shanghai Kitchen
Eat in at this cash-only Shanghai-style restaurant and get eight juicy fried pork buns for $3.25. Also recommended: beef-topped cold, thin, flat noodles for $4.95. 7 Bayard St between Elizabeth and Mott Sts (212-513-1788)

Steamed Food Cart
Don’t let the lack of English on the menu prevent you from trying rice crpes covered with fish balls, tripe or small pork ribs at $2.50 for a medium and $5 for a (very) large. Northeast corner of Grand St and Bowery

Super Taste Restaurant
Watch the cook hand pull your Lanzhou-style la mian, the Chinese relative of the famed Japanese ramen, which is served in soup with a choice of toppings that vary from beef tendon to eel ($4.50--$6.50 for a bowl). 26 Eldridge St between Canal and Division Sts (212-625-1198)

Xinjiang-style BBQ skewers
Inspired by the kebab-heavy Uyghur Muslim cuisine in Western China, this cart sells slender lamb, chicken, seafood, veggie and tofu skewers for $1 apiece. Lamb, sprinkled with cumin and coriander, is our favorite. At Forsyth and Division Sts, under the Manhattan Bridge

Vivi Bubble Tea
This standing-room-only Taiwanese-style bubble tea joint offers healthy portions of popcorn chicken for $2.95 in imaginative flavors, such as pepper-salt, spicy, curry, basil and garlic. 49 Bayard St between Elizabeth and Mott Sts (212-566-6833)


Astoria, Queens

Park Slope/Prospect Heights

Penn Station area

East Village


Long Island City, Queens

Murray Hill

Chinatown

Williamsburg, Brooklyn


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Best cheap eats in New York City
Everything under $10!

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