Vanessa’s Dumplings Serves Sesame Pancake Sandwiches for Less Than $3.50


Each Monday, we’re highlighting a bargain meal worth seeking out in this city. Most will feed you for less than $10. Need more ideas for cheap eats? 

Whether you’re a carb-fanatic, meat-freak, or just like to eat with your hands, the sandwich is the ultimate crowd-pleasing comfort dish. But these days, finding a good sammie can be pretty costly — gourmet versions frequently go for well over $10 apiece. Vanessa’s Dumplings (118A Eldridge Street; 212-625-8008), however, serves a satiating sesame pancake sandwich for $3.50…or less.

While the price alone is enough to make these handheld meals attractive, each one is worthy for its vibrant veggies and proteins layered in the house-made sesame pancake. Made from a mix of flour, water, baking powder, salt, and sesame oil, the lofty, and slightly greasy, bread is good enough to eat on its own (and you can buy a slice for $1.25).

The fillings seal the deal, though. Options range from kimchee ($2) and vegetable ($2.75) with cilantro, carrots, and cucumber to beef ($3), pork ($3), and tofu ($3.25).

It’s the Peking duck ($3.50) that feels like the best deal. The luxurious fowl is roasted and coated in a sweet and savory sauce. It’s then chopped, mixed with fresh scallion and cucumbers, and tucked between the savory sesame-scented dough — if it were two or three times the price, you’d still feel like you got your money’s worth.

And with locations in Chinatown, Williamsburg, and on 14th Street, it’s always easy to get your hands on one.