Year of the Takeout Day 216: Here’s One of the Best $3.50 Lunches EVER


Fast Food from Kim Tuong (83 Chrystie Street, 212-966-2878)

[See More Year of the Takeout: Day 215: East Noodle & Izakaya | Day 214: Is Chinese Takeout Vegetarian Friendly?]

If you flip through this resto’s menu, past many already reasonably priced picks, you will encounter the fast-food option: three steam table entrées (doled out at a counter of sorts) with rice for $3.50.

And, if you dine here, know that bottles of real Sriracha are plentiful, as if from a magical font of sun-dried chiles that’s hidden in the kitchen.

You also get a glass or two of free hot tea.

Now, you might wonder, does the food taste like it’s less than four bucks?

Not at all!

The hearty tofu with pork — best described as ma po without the spice — featured a stew-like consistency without being too corn-starchy.

Although porcine pieces in the straight-up meat-and-gravy dish felt a bit dry at times, several snippets of organ meat — suspended subtly in the sauce — felt neither too irony nor too chewy. With said innards, the taste, texture, and moisture content were just right.

And the bitter melon was one of the best versions we have encountered in this city, featuring a bold, garlicky glaze that maintained the veg’s virtually cuke-like taste.