Cheap Lunch! A new feature highlighting places to get great, cheap lunches.
Deluxe Food Market
How cheap? $3.75
Deluxe Food Market practices truth in advertising. Yes, it is a very deluxe food market, with a fantastic meat-fish-frozen grocery selections (with rapid turnover), as well as two long sets of steam tables and two Cantonese roast meat take out counters. There’s one whole freezer dedicated solely to frozen dumplings, where you’ll find big, utilitarian bags of everything from crab shumai to watercress-chicken. It’s a fantastic place, and could just as easily be filed under Best Markets. The only drawback is that you shouldn’t go if you’re feeling stressed or are in a hurry, as the space is very tight, very crowded and sometimes difficult to navigate quickly.
Join the line at the steam tables near the back entrance (where there are tables and chairs) if you want to eat in, or stick to the steam tables down in front if you want to take out. The deal is this: 4 items (not including rice; rice can be one of your items) for $3.75. The signs posted in front of the various dishes are not usually accurate, so just take a look at everything and point to what looks good.
Here’s what looked good to me: Clockwise from left: Fried shrimp, bean curd skin wrapped around cabbage and pork, ma po tofu and stewed beef short ribs.
You can also get dumplings and buns. The steamed roast pork buns are only $.70, but are pretty ordinary. Not so the pork and chive dumplings (below), which are pan-fried and crispy on the bottom; the filling is completely delicious. They are also gigantic; each one is about half the size of my fist. $1.50 for four.
Then there’s the roast pig, duck and lacquered racks of ribs that hang in the windows. I got the ribtips with honey glaze, which I thought pretty spectacular, especially if you like sweetish glazes on pork. $2.99/pound ($3.59 for the pack below)
79 Elizabeth St
New York, NY 10013