$1 Chinatown eating walk

Knockoff Prada bags aren't the only bargains in Chinatown. The neighborhood's tasty snacks are more enticing, more legit and can be had for a buck or less.

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Start: Prosperity Dumpling, 46 Eldridge St between Canal and Hester Sts
End: Hong Kong Supermarket, 109 East Broadway at Pike St
Time: 2 hours
Distance: 1.17 miles


Photograph: Deniz Ozuygur

1

Bring your appetite and start at Prosperity Dumpling (46 Eldridge St between Canal and Hester Sts, 212-343-0683). The dingy interior is not much to look at, but a fresh batch of crispy pork-and-chive dumplings (five for $1) is worth the cramped seating, as is the scallion-filled golden sesame pancake (60¢), a doughy triangle reminiscent of a pizza slice.


Photograph: Deniz Ozuygur

2

Walk one block north to Lucky King (280 Grand St between Eldridge and Forsyth Sts, 212-219-8434). Red paper lanterns and gumdrop-colored chairs make this a festive standout from the rest of the ho-hum neighborhood bakeries. Of the goods behind the glass, relish the traditional steamed pork bun (80¢). A gluey but good peanut pie (70¢) is filled with crushed dried nuts and dusted with coconut, while the crunchy brick of sweet noodles (70¢), much drier than a Rice Krispie treat, leaves you longing for a toothbrush.


Photograph: Veronica Rafael

3

Give in to gluttony and opt for another sugar fix across the street at Egg Custard King Two Café (271 Grand St at Forsyth St, 212-226-8882): a miniature tart bursting with velvety yellow custard. That flaky crust is also the base of a dry but appealing coconut-cake version (both 90¢).

4

Push through the crowds, going west on Grand. Then make a left on Bowery and walk down until you run into Chatham Square. Here you can relax on a bench and watch old couples tuck into buns while young skateboarders flaunt tricks under the gaze of China’s 19th-century anti-opium advocate Lin Ze Xu.

5

Revitalized from the break, stroll up East Broadway and look for Aji Ichiban (17 East Broadway at Catherine St, 212-571-3755). This outpost of the Hong Kong snack megachain is stocked with pricey imported shrimp crackers and wasabi peas, but the gummy candies— like an oddly tasty cola-flavored fried egg—are just a quarter a pop. Bowls of samples are available throughout the polished shop, yet gruff saleswomen put a damper on potential feeding frenzies.


Photograph: Deniz Ozuygur

6

Next stop is bustling QQ Bakery (50 East Broadway between Catherine and Market Sts, 212-226-2282). Take in the dramatic wedding cakes, then load up on classic sesame balls (85¢). A pink cake (90¢) with a layer of red-bean mousse screams birthday.

7

The most scenic bathroom stop in the neighborhood is East Broadway Mall (88 East Broadway at Forsyth St). A primarily Chinese crowd hangs out here, popping into the myriad ginseng shops. Upstairs are relatively clean stalls tucked away next to glitzy dim sum spot 88 Palace, where a friendly woman proffers paper towels in the hopes of collecting change in her tip jar.

8

Then, seek out the treats at Fuzhou Snack and Grocery Store (75 East Broadway at Forsyth St, no phone). As a testament to the shop’s authenticity, little English is spoken among the staff, so picking out treats has its challenges. However, you will be rewarded if you point to the hot fried vegetable balls teeming with onions, which beckon from the windowsill. Grab three for $1.


Photograph: Deniz Ozuygur

9

At Good Good Taste (13A Market St between East Broadway and Henry St, 212-964-4888), feast your eyes on the awe-inspiring altar, while heading to the refrigerator for a can of sweet, good-good-tasting white-gourd juice ($1).


Photograph: Deniz Ozuygur

10

Wind up at the Hong Kong Supermarket (109 East Broadway at Pike St, 212-227-3388). This grocery behemoth is filled with all the usual goods, but you can also snag a bag of enoki mushrooms (79¢), slimy white daikons (59¢/pound), and an alien-like green kohlrabi (79¢/pound), perfect for whipping up a much-needed salad for dinner.

DID YOU KNOW?
Right near QQ Bakery is Grace Gratitude Buddhist Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the city.

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