Eat Cheaply: Fried Chicken, Bánh Tét, and Pasta


It can be extraordinarily expensive to eat out in this town, yet most of us head to a restaurant (or online to Seamless) for every meal. Save a few pennies with this week’s round-up of cheap eats, which includes Korean fried chicken, a cheap plate of pasta, and a Vietnamese delicacy.

Tasty Dumpling, 42 Mulberry Street, 212-349-0070
You can get a veritable feast at this Chinatown takeout counter for a measly five bucks, and you’d be well advised to do so — a better Beijing-style (read: crescent-shaped, scalloped at the edge) dumpling you’ll rarely find. Get them fried (excellent) or boiled (very good) and stuffed with pork and scallion, cabbage, or mushrooms and chicken. Prices hover around $1 for five dumplings, and for variety’s sake, throw in a scallion pancake to round out the meal. Bonus points if you see Law and Order filming nearby, since it’s a stone’s throw from the courts. — Hannah Palmer Egan

Mad for Chicken/Turntable, 314 Fifth Avenue, 212-714-9700
Six fried chicken drums and wings are enough to fill a hungry person, and you can find such a combo — imbued with hot pepper or slicked in soy-garlic sauce — for just shy of ten bucks at this Koreatown fried poultry lair. But the deals get better when you dine with a group. Twenty pieces of bird will run you $22.95; split between four, you should each have enough cash left over for a beer. — Laura Shunk

Lodge, 318 Grand Street, Brooklyn, 718-486-9400
A few of the brunch items — buttermilk pancakes, excellent biscuits and gravy — at this Williamsburg dining hall are sub-$10, and you don’t have to wait until the weekend to find them: Lodge runs its breakfast fare during weekday lunch. The best deal on the list, though, is the two-for-one bloody mary special. The spicy tomato-and-vodka mix comes in a mason jar; it’ll get your day started with a bang or take the edge off last night. — Laura Shunk

Red curry chicken pouch at Saiguette, 935 Columbus Avenue, 212-866-6888
This Manhattan Valley Vietnamese occupies a sliver of a corner on 106th and Columbus Avenue, and it’s known for its deeply flavored pho and laksa. But it’s the bánh tét, petite banana leaf-wrapped and steamed packages of sticky rice mixed with shredded red curry chicken, that has us swooning. At $7 for two, these Asian tamales make a substantial meal. — Zachary Feldman

Pasta at Da Marcella, 142 West Houston Street, 646-559-9192
Fancier Italian spots abound in the Village, but we like having this one in our back pocket for low key nights. Manned by the one of the friendliest staffs in the city, it rotates through groups of students and professors, who huddle around the tables for a cheap plate of pasta and an inexpensive glass of wine. With a couple of exceptions, each pasta here is $10. We’d go with the tagliatelle Bolognese, the pappardelle Fiorentina, or the lasagna. And online daters take note — this is a good, indiscreet spot for a first rendezvous. — Laura Shunk