Recommendations for great ethnic food under $10 in Manhattan?

Joined Aug 23, 2000
I'm writing a story about some of the great Asian, Latino, etc. cuisines that New Yorkers enjoy as their everyday eats. I'm going for the under-$10 angle to play off Restaurant Week.

Like pho, banh mi, arepas, roti, etc.

Recommendations? Please include where to go (with location if possible) and what to ask for when I get there. I'll probably check out 15 and write about 5 to 8. I'm saying Manhattan because my travel time will be limited, but I am weighing an excursion to Queens or Brooklyn.

Thanks for the help.
Joined May 26, 2001
Thanks for your reply. If you could email me your faves before the 19th, I would appreciate it, as I will be traveling to NYC on June 19.

I've actually spent a bunch of time on Chowhound, though the BBS format makes me shudder. I've waded through the eternal "Why do people recommend New Green Bo" thread, and the related debate over the merits, or lack thereof, of NGB, Joe's, Yeah (which as I recall from my visit last year is across the street from NGB) and Shanghai Cuisine. Seen the thread on eGullet too.

I've got lots of raw data. It's the focusing power of your palate I'm after. So let me ask a couple specific questions (you don't have to answer them all, of course):

If given a single visit, which Chinatown Shanghai-ese place would you visit, and what would you order? (I saw you went to Yeah; is that what you'd order?)

Which 5/$1 dumpling place, and what?

Which banh mi, and what?

Which Chinatown Vietnamese, and what?

Other notes: Will visit the food court at Deluxe Food Market in search of the Peking duck roll. I'm short on arepa, roti and other non-Asian recommendations. I've read Sietsema's "Top 100" lists, and will use them as starters if nothing else. Prolly will hit the Grand Sichuan at 50th and 9th, just because I've never been. Locating a competent Manhattan tacqueria is clearly a cource of frustration for many NYC eaters.

Reading back over what I've written, it's clear that I should not live in NYC, because I would not fit through the subway turnstiles for long.
Joined Aug 23, 2000
Heavens, I somehow wiped out Suzanne's post. She had good suggestions about checking out and other online resources.

I'll check with the powers that be to see if hers can be restored. Apologies to Suzanne and readers.
Joined May 26, 2001
Amazing! I guess you could do that because you are the MODERATOR of this particular board/forum/whatever. You have the power to put words into peoples' mouths!!!!! Or take them away ;) But, I suppose, only on the board/forum/whatever you moderate. Hmmm, I'll have to try it on Cooking Questions sometime. :look:

The other resources I listed were Time Out New York and Holly Eats -- although Holly Eats only lists a few places in NY, and they're all in TONY.

In CT: Vietnam Restaurant, on Doyers; I can't remember what we had there the last time, but it was very good.

Greater NY Noodletown, on the corner of Bowery and Bayard -- we just had our anniversary dinner there; got the most expensive thing on the menu ($18.95): Lobster with E Foo Noodles: a WHOLE lobster chopped up, velveted and deep fried, on a bed of perfectly al dente (does one say that about Chinese?) noodles seared with ginger and scallions, and some sort of choy. :eek: :D :eek: :D Their noodle soups run mostly $3.95 and are terrific AND filling; roast and barbecued meats are great, and if you get "XXXXXXXX over rice" you get a HUGE plate of food for about $3.50. Clearly my favorite. (for the record, I was banned from chowhound for saying how nice I found the staff at GNYN, whom Big Dog had referred to as "unpleasant thugs.")

For Mexican: Los Dos Rancheros Mexicanos, Ninth Ave and 39th Street. I once had lunch there of a big bowl of posole there, with tortillas, cheese, lettuce, chiles, and several other garnishes, for $3.95. I couldn't eat dinner.

And for both Mexican and standard American coffee shop-type stuff: The Little Bigger Place, in Tribeca at Warren and West Broadway. Their Mex is simple (quesadillas, tacos, fajitas, nachos, etc.) but very, very good (they make great use of vegetables!), and some of their American stuff is: buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, and fruit pies to die for. (I happen to be wearing a t-shirt from there right now :D ) It's a little more expensive -- Tribeca and all -- but still nothing hits $10.

Now, to your questions:

$1/5 dumplings: I've only been to the one on Mosco, and only had the fried dumplings (surprise!). Like it a lot.

At Yeah, definitely the soup buns and the Kaufu. And seasonal vegetables -- if they still have the lily flower with celery, GET IT!

Cuban: Sophie's (several locations on and below Chambers Street): for $7 you get a plate enough for 2 (or more) of meat or fish such as pernil, ropa vieja, stewed chicken, chuletas, kingfish, etc. with rice and beans. Also tostones with very garlicky garlic sauce and a hot but not killing green sauce :lips: and not-so-little snacky stuff like papas rellenas, ham croquettes, pasteles, and empanadas. Sandwiches for $5 are only slightly less filling; try the fried pork chunks with onions.

Dominican: El Castillo de Jagua, Rivington and Essex on the Lower East Side. My favorite pernil: lots and lots of garlic.

Puerto Rican/Dominican/Mexican: West Side Diner, just below Canal Street on Church Street (NOT Sixth Avenue): their chicken soup will hold you all day for about $4.50 -- broth, chunks of chicken on the bone, noodles, potatoes, yucca, carrots.
Banh mi: sorry, I make my own. But I did have one from a grocery next door to the cheapie bus to Boston -- it was quite delicious, and only $2.50, but I have no idea what was in it (I just liked the sound of the name so that's what I ordered). Chowhound actually has some good info about the banh mi places on Lafayette Street.

Unfortunately, my favorite nearby sources for roti are gone. No, wait, maybe the roti truck on Water Street near Wall St. might still be there.

Arepa: again, I make my own. Flor's Kitchen, a Venezuelan place on First Ave between 8th and 9th had a nicely-cooked, but typically bland, version. Her other food is quite good, though.

For a good taqueria, you might have to go to Brooklyn (Sunset Park?) This Sunday I can ask my friends who live there.

One last thing: do not look for cheap Indian and Bangladeshi food; if it's cheap, it ain't good, and if it's good, it ain't cheap. Well, maybe Curry in a Hurry (Lexington and 29th) is all right, but avoid Sixth Street like the plague.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
I'm furiously coordinating Suzanne's suggestions on Mapquest and hope to get just some of these into my husband's new GPS hand-held unit for our upcoming trip.

Thanks for the question, LTC!!
Joined May 26, 2001
Other than Los Dos Rancheros, all of those places are way downtown. I love my neighborhood (extended as far as, say, Houston Street). :D

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