Each Monday, we’re highlighting a bargain meal worth seeking out in this city. Most will feed you for less than $10.
When it comes to eating on a budget in NYC, Asian fare tops the list of affordable options. Some cuisines and eateries, however, are more wallet-friendly than others. Dumplings in Chinatown can be cheap as hell. David Chang’s Momofuku, not so much. That being said, Momofuku Milk Bar (561 Columbus Avenue; 347-577-9504), the bakery-inspired dessert division of the empire, offers meal deals for just $10.
Available in the Carroll Gardens, Upper West Side, and Williamsburg locations of the concept, the eateries offer bun meal deals starting at just $9.
The buns here are different from the ones you’ll find at the higher-end concepts — they’re not made with the same spongey wrappers that are served at Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ssäm Bar. At Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar, steamed bread is filled with veggies ($9) or pork ($10).
The vegetarian version comes packed with caramelized onions, shiitake mushrooms, pickled carrots, pea shoots, and kewpie mayo (a ubiquitous condiment in Japan). Roasted pork shoulder, pickled cucumber, and scallions come in the carnivorous option. Both are savory and filling, yet bright and acidic. For an extra dollar, a poached egg can be thrown on top. Order the upgrade: The runny yolk is a luxurious addition to the savory fork-and-knife sandwich-like dish.
Each one comes with a side (cookie, pickled vegetable, chips, or pretzels) and a beverage. The drinks include everything on the menu (other than the milkshakes). Choices include coffee (normally $1.85 to $4), hot chocolate ($4), cereal or pretzel milk ($5), ginger beer ($3), still or sparkling water, Mexican Coke, and, in the Williamsburg location, Brooklyn Lager.
It may not be as fancy as eating at one of the trendier spots of the Asian empire, but it’s certainly not going to break the bank, either.