Dumplings and noodles in peanut butter sauce from Shu Jiao Fu Zhou (118 Eldridge Street, 212-625-2532), $2-$3
For $5, you can stuff yourself to food coma on the Fujianese fare at this sparse spot just steps from overcrowded Vanessa’s Dumplings.
Finding a sub-$10 meal in this city isn’t terrible, but if you’re really strapped for cash — possibly even dipping into your rainy day change jar so you don’t die of starvation — options are scarce. For those times, you’ll want to have Shu Jiao Fu Zhou in your back pocket. Every single item on this canteen’s menu is $3 or less, and the place deals in hearty peasant food like dumplings and beef noodle soup. But just because the food here is priced on par with the Dollar Menu doesn’t mean you’re going to get inferior fare — our favorite item is the $2 noodles in peanut butter sauce, a rib-sticking dish that’s imbued with that sweet-savory peanut flavor and tinged with a bit of acid and spice. It made our list of 100 favorite dishes in 2013. Dumplings are another excellent choice; $2 buys you eight pork-stuffed purses while $3 gets you a dozen. Even if you’re not hurting for your next paycheck, you might consider trying those next time you’re thinking about heading to Vanessa’s, which is located just two doors down and always has a line. The Shu Jiao version outdoes the offerings from its better-known neighbor, and as testament to that sentiment, you’ll undoubtedly see a half dozen people stop through to buy the meat-filled pockets in frozen bulk.
Hungry for more? See the Cheap Eat of the Day archives.
Restaurants open at a dizzying pace in New York City, and keeping up with what’s hot takes some serious cash. If you — like us — need the occasional reprieve from a food-forward spending spree, you’re likely always on the lookout for cheap eats of high quality. In this space each day, we’ll highlight a tasty dish that rings in for less than $10, spotlighting places worth checking out when you’d like to get full while giving your wallet a break. Know of a great affordable bite? Email us.