The sesame pancake with egg at Prosperity Dumpling — $1.75!
This week, Counter Culture invades the lower three blocks of Eldridge on the “Lower Eats Side” to report on some big doings down there, foodwise. Three new, inordinately cheap restaurants have opened up there in the last couple of months, joining what was already a distinguished collection. If you’re hungry and cash-strapped, there’s no better place in town to eat.
5. Sesame Pancake with Egg or Pork at Prosperity Dumpling ($1.75) – The northern Chinese sesame bread is homemade, and still steaming when it’s assembled into a sandwich with either pork strips or egg, both flavored with chopped scallions. A soul-satisfying meal. 46 Eldridge Street, 212-343-0683
4. Lychee Pork with Rice at Rong Hang ($3.95) – Masses of white rice are snowed with a bright red pork stir-fry that also contains crunchy lotus root, green pea pods, and cauliflower for a seriously well balanced – and seriously good – meal. 38 Eldridge Street, 212-625-8999
3. Eight Steamed Pork-and-Bok Choy Dumplings with Black Vinegar at Panda Dumpling House ($2) – Steamed dumplings, rather than fried, are an ascendant phenomenon on Eldridge. They simply have a more-delicate flavor, and a thinner coating, meaning they contain more filling and are easier to digest (whatever that means). 107 Hester Street, corner of Eldridge, 212-625-1115
2. Stir-Fried Peel Noodles with Egg and Baby Bok Choy at Sheng Wang ($3.25) – The noodles are freshly cut from a whirling cylinder of dough, briefly boiled, then stir-fried with egg and vegetable, making one of the city’s greatest cheap meals since forever. 27 Eldridge Street, 212-925-0805
1. Peanut Sauce Noodles at Yi Zhang Fishball, Inc. ($2) – Thick egg noodles swim in a sauce of peanut butter and soy, surmounted by chopped and oiled scallions – it’s like the best peanut butter sandwich you’ve ever had in your life, and filling too! 9 Eldridge Street, 212-961-6151