When it comes to food, I like good hardy food that’s tasty and decently priced. I don’t really understand or appreciate fine dining – I much prefer eating street food or traditional food that’s made by someone’s grandmother.
When I travelled to New York City, I knew that I really had to research to make the most of my time there. I spent days mulling over review sites, food blogs and probing my friends about their food experiences. Below is a list I have complied of my favourite cheap/must eats in NYC. I hope I have saved you some time in your next food quest around New York City!
You really can’t get much cheaper than $1USD for 4 pork and chive dumplings at Prosperity Dumpling. I believe we paid $3 for this lot. It’s a real hole in the wall restaurant with little to no seating but they are efficient (they cook it fast in batches) and it’s dirt cheap. They are located at 46 Eldridge St New York City, in Chinatown.
What is a trip to NYC without a slice of pizza! This is a slice of Nonna Maria (highly recommended) from Bleecker Street Pizza. This slice cost $3.50USD. Although it is not the euphoric pizza experience I’ve had in Naples, it’s a close second. We also ate at Grimaldi’s as well and I think the Nonna Maria at Bleecker is miles ahead! Also, there are many celebrity endorsements plastered all over the restaurant – so if you don’t trust me, trust Edward Norton. Bleecker Street Pizza is located at 69 Seventh Avenue South (at the corner of Bleecker Street), New York.
Speaking of Grimaldi’s, although I thought this place was over hyped, I did really enjoy Stewart’s cream soda. Possibly the best drink I have ever tasted in my whole existence here on earth. It craps all over Kirk’s red creaming soda that we have here in Australia. Do try it if you’re in NYC!
Another culinary delight – Xiao Long Bao or better known as soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai. We arrived at Joe’s just before opening (some time before 10am) and there was a line already and the place filled up instantly as soon as the doors opened. We ordered both the crab meat and pork filled ones – both were good! It came at $8.95USD for a dish of 8 Xiao Long Baos. Please note that on the menu this dish is named ‘soup buns’. Joe’s is located at 24 W 56th St New York in Chinatown.
We also ordered scallion pancakes at Joe’s Shanghai. Incredibly crunchy and tasty. Comes at a cheap cost of $3.25USD. Note we had already scoffed down half the dish before having the chance to take this photo.
I’m not the biggest fan of cheesecake, but decided to give it a go anyway – when in Rome. New York Cheesecake at Junior’s. Came in at $6.50 for a takeaway slice. We shared between 3 people and it was more than enough. Really really rich. We went to the store at grand central station 45 5th Ave, New York.
Must Eats in NYC
Below are foods that are equally awesome but are slightly more expensive. They also deserve recognition in their own right.
Not sure what to have for breakfast in NYC? Try the blueberry pancakes at Clinton Street Bakery. Incredibly light and fluffly – probably as good as a pancake can get. Be sure to arrive early. We lived just around the corner and walked over before opening time at 9am and again there was a line awaiting us (seems to be a trend here). We also ordered the eggs benedict, but the pancakes stole the show. It came in at $14USD. Clinton Street Bakery is located at 4 Clinton St New York.
During my stay in NYC, I also visited Chelsea market. It was our first stop of the day and we made sure to share everything because we didn’t want to be too full so that we could sample more food. My favourite dish that I tried at Chelsea Market was the Friedman’s burger at Friedman’s Lunch. It was $14 and I believe it was cheaper for take-away, hence the container. The herbed fries were amazing! When making my own fries at home, I now put dried rosemary to replicate Friedman’s fries (although I’m sure they put more herbs in their version). Friedman’s is located at Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave New York.
If there is one thing that you must eat before leaving NYC, it’s this pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Delicatessen. The meat is so incredibly tender, it melts in your mouth. It’s not cheap for a sandwich though, it comes in at $16.95, but it’s worth every penny. The picture above is a bit deceptive, the sandwich is big and we shared between two, as well as ordering Matzo ball soup. Also, Meg Ryan seemed to love this place too in When Harry Met Sally. Katz is located at 205 East Houston St, New York City.
Last but not least is Shake Shack. I didn’t bring my dslr camera with me that night, hence the dodgy phone camera pic. I’m sure most people have heard of this place, and yes it does live up to the hype. The burger, fries and shake combo were delicious and I could not find a fault at all. I am yet to taste a fast food burger combo that is better than this (I prefer Shake Shack over In and Out burger). It came in at $4.60USD for the single burger, $5 for the shake and $2.70 for a generous portion of fries. We ate at the Madison Square Park location (Southeast corner of Madison Square Park near Madison Ave. and E.23rd St) but there are a few Shake Shacks spread out over NYC.
If you have any additional culinary delights or cheap eats in NYC that aren’t listed, please let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to try it out next time I’m in NYC!