M Star Cafe

Restaurants, Chinese Chinatown
 (Photograph: Jessica Lin)
Photograph: Jessica LinBeef "chow" spaghetti with Soy Sauce at M Star Cafe
 (Photograph: Jessica Lin)
Photograph: Jessica LinInstant noodle soup with hot dogs at M Star Cafe
 (Photograph: Jessica Lin)
Photograph: Jessica LinSpam and egg sandwich at M Star Cafe
 (Photograph: Jessica Lin)
Photograph: Jessica LinWaffle with peanut butter and condensed milk at M Star Cafe
 (Photograph: Jessica Lin)
Photograph: Jessica LinCheesesteak sandwich at M Star Cafe
 (Photograph: Jessica Lin)
Photograph: Jessica LinPanfried oyster cake at M Star Cafe
As Chinatown has changed due to construction, immigration and plain old gentrification, the neighborhood’s Hong Kong–style fast-food joints have started slipping away. That’s a shame. Not only is the grub often quick, cheap and delicious—a plate-size oyster pancake is both creamy and crunchy—but these casual restaurants can be a hoot of a culture clash, too: Gong zai mian, or instant noodle soups, come topped with fried eggs and hot dogs; soy-sauce-soaked beef “chow” is made with spaghetti. While the mural-painted M Star is open all day, it’s known for budget breakfasts, especially hot or cold “milk tea” (the latter is creamy and sweet, served over pellet-size ice cubes), and sandwiches like the tidy Spam and egg, made on pristine triangles of crustless white bread. Or for a sweet snack, try two toaster waffles spread with an indulgent triple threat of butter, peanut butter and condensed milk.


Venue name: M Star Cafe
Address: 19 Division St
Cross street: between Catherine and Market Sts
Opening hours: Daily 7am–8pm
Transport: Subway: B, D to Grand St; F to East Broadway
Price: Average main course: $6. Cash only
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