Cheap eats for every occasion



Photograph: Shani Bar-On

Chinese hamburger—words that should send any food lover on a quest for Xi’an’s cumin-accented lamb served in a homemade griddle cake ($2.50). Stall 36, Golden Shopping Mall, 41-28 Main St at 41st Rd, Flushing, Queens (no phone)

Elsa La Reina del Chicharrón
Chunks of Dominican chicharrón (deep-fried pork belly) come at $10.50 per pound—plenty for two people. The tender, juicy cubes will be gone long before the counter seating gets uncomfortable. 4840 Broadway at Academy St (212-304-1070)

World of Taste Seafood
An excursion to the Bronx doesn’t have to mean Italian food on Arthur Avenue. Try the bargain Vietnamese options here—such as mixed pork banh mi ($3.50) or noodles in a crab broth ($5.50)—all lovingly made by the family behind the counter. 2614 Jerome Ave between E Kingsbridge Rd and E 193rd St, Bronx (718-584-5228)—Daniel Gritzer

Vannessa’s Dumpling House
Skip the much jawed-about dumplings and instead go for the stuffed sesame pancakes. At $1.75, the roasted duck version is a steal. The hot, scallion-dotted pancake—stuffed with fatty fowl and crisp vegetables—will leave you and your wallet pleasantly filled. 118 Eldridge St between Broome and Grand Sts (212-625-8008)

Roni-Sue’s Chocolate
Chocolate? Good. Bacon? Good. Chocolate-covered bacon? Even better. Don’t think too hard about what you’re eating, just enjoy the salty, smoky, chocolaty goodness ($9.50 per 1/4 lb). Stall 11/12, Essex Street Market, 120 Essex St at Delancey St (212-260-0421)

Shachi’s Restaurant
This fist-sized Venezuelan arepa ($6) may not look like much, but the combination of a sweet corn patty, tender shredded beef, black beans, sweet plantains and a fresh, white cheese makes for a hearty dish, belly-lining dish. 197 Havemeyer St at S 4th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-388-8884)

Nha Trang
Noodle soups aren’t the only gourmet goodie at this Chinatown staple. The $3.50 avocado milkshake—a silky, not-too-sweet concoction of condensed milk, avocado and crushed ice—is the scene-stealing treat at Nha Trang. 87 Baxter St between Walker and White Sts (212-233-5948)

Tehuitzingo Mexican Deli
New York isn’t known for its tacos but this tiny Hell’s Kitchen deli serves up the real deal. The lengua (tongue) taco ($2.75) is filled with slow-cooked beef tongue that’s seared in a hot pan to give it a pleasing crunch. 695 Tenth Ave between 47th and 48th Sts (212-397-5956)

Octopus on the fly? Yes please! Otafuku’s Takoyaki ($5)—fried, cephalopod-stuffed balls, topped with mayo and bonito flakes—are the perfect snack for the pekish gourmand. 236 E 9th St between Second and Third Aves (212-353-8503)

A & A Bake and Doubles
There’s nothing baked about a herring bake ($1.75). Find this Caribbean snack—actually fried bread, stuffed with spicy onions and a smoky-herring salad—at this Bed-Stuy standby. 481 Nostrand Ave between Fulton and Macon Sts, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (718-230-0753)