Top 10 Cheap Eats

Top 10 NYC Cheap Eats

For the full list of cheap eats I have reviewed, go to the Cheap Eats List!

Over the last few years, my Cheap Eats series has grown in both size and popularity. However, to this point, I have just written about one place at a time and never compared them.

Whenever I go out to dinner with my parents, we always share bites of each others’ meals. Innevitably, at the end of the meal, my dad will exclaim two words: “Rank ‘Em!” We all know what he means.

We start the process, going around the table, and ranking each person’s meal. If my dad agrees, he will nod his head. If he disagrees, he will shout “wrong!” at which point the ranker will discuss the merits of the dish. It’s jovial and fun and adds a great element of entertainment to dinners out at restaurants.

My dad would be disappointed that it has taken this long, but now it’s time to “Rank ‘Em!”

Below is a list from 10 to 1 of the best cheap eats from The New York Budget. And in classic Papa New York Budget style, my ranking isn’t just my opinion, it’s the right ranking!

10. Falafel from Mamoun’s – I love falafel and this one in the West Village is close to my office and so very tasty. At $3.50 it’s definitely a great cheap eat. It only serves as a light lunch though. I could probably eat two if pressed, which is why it comes in at #10

Cheap Eats - Falafel
It tastes even better than it looks here, I promise!

9. Panizzo from Susanna Pizzeria – Cheese and fine italian meats for only $5? Yes please. Definitely filling, but make sure to eat it hot. I made the mistake of walking with it on a COLD day. With tax, it breaks the $5 mark, which brings it down a few spots.

Cheap Eats: Panizzo
Ohhhh, I guess a panizzo is like an Italian quesadilla?

8. Pork over Rice from Wah Fung #1 Fast Food – It’s amazing to go in and watch them expertly slice and dice the meat right in front of you. The container looks small, but they pack a LOT of delicious pork and rice in for only $3.75!

It looks even more unhealthy than I remember!
It looks even more unhealthy than I remember!

7. Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles from Xi’an Famous Foods – Don’t let the unappetizing name turn you off. These noodles are good. Watch out though, they are EXTREMELY spicy (which I love). I was full and satisfied for $4.75.

Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles
The plate was even MORE full, but I started eating before I remembered to take a picture. Sorry.

6. Lamb Gyro from Food Carts All Over! – One of my favorites on this list and you can get it all over NYC! Too many people turn their nose up at food carts in favor of well-branded trucks. They are missing out and paying for it. Give me a $4 gyro any day!

Cheap Eats Chicken Gyro
It’s a little difficult to keep the gyro together, but it sure is tasty!

5. Steamed Buns from Mei Li Wah Bakery – I have featured steamed buns twice in Cheap Eats. This one had more variety and was cheaper. I did have one bun that was a little “too unique” for my tastes, but the others were awesome and I was OVER full for $3.48 (I probably should have stopped at about half that!)

Cheap Eats: Buns!
I put my pen in the picture to illustrate the size of these buns. They are HUGE! Honestly, I think two are enough for a solid lunch.

4. Pork Dumplings from Prosperity Dumpling – This was my first NYC Cheap Eats love. You get 4 dumplings for $1. I usually get a sesame pancake as well, so the total for lunch comes out to $2.

Pork & Chive Dumplings
Always hot and delicious!

3. Bistec (Steak) Sandwich from Mofongo Del Valle – Honestly, in terms of taste, this could have been #1. It is SO good, but it is on the expensive side of cheap eats at $5 and to be crude, it did make me a little gassy afterwards. WORTH IT!


Mofongo Del Valle Bistec Sandwich
I wish that I were a better photographer. This photo doesn’t capture the mouthwatering goodness in quite the right way.

2. Soup Dumplings from Shanghai Cafe Deluxe – These soup dumplings beat out the steak sandwich on the basis of their uniqueness. Having a splash of soup gush into your mouth after taking a bite of a dumpling is heaven. These will set you back $4.95.

Cheap Eats Pork Soup Dumplings
Every order has 8 of these delicious little dumplings!

1. Chorizo Burrito from Chinelos II – What can I say? I am a sucker for burritos – especially delicious, authentic chorizo burritos BURSTING with flavor. The chorizo burrito HAD to be the winner for me. Plus, I loved having to navigate the ordering process with rusty high school Spanish skills. It was like traveling without the airfare. It only cost me $4!

Cheap Eats: Chinelos II Burrito
Nice little drizzle of sour cream on top along with some melted cheese!

And that’s the list! Feel free to disagree with me in the comments, but you’d be wrong :-)!


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3 thoughts on “Top 10 NYC Cheap Eats

  1. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life April 14, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I think xian noodles top my list. So delicious
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted: Healthy Couponing: Choosing Health, Budget, or BothMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget April 16, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Nice! Yeah, choosing the order of this top 10 list was NOT easy.

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