We consider something a “cheap” eat if it can feed one person for less than $10 — if you have some leftovers, even better. Kien Tuong (83 Chrystie Street #1002; 212-966-2878) takes our criterion and chucks it out the door. The Chinatown spot can easily sate two without breaking into double digits.
The dining room is no-frills. And they do not take credit cards. But what the place lacks in decor, it makes up for in flavor and value. Most of the dishes linger in the $6 range, and tea is included in the price of the meal.
It’s old-school Cantonese with a few Vietnamese dishes thrown in to reflect the current neighborhood population. The owner is Chinese, so one would be wise to stick to that side of the menu. The lunch special is huge. A steam tray, filled with food options, allows guests to pick three items for $4. An extra serving brings it up to $5. We’re talking things like curry chicken, sweet and sour pork, bok choy, and tofu with ground pork, all of which is piled high on a mound of rice.
A variety of barbecued meats, starting at $4.25 and served on white rice, is the best value. The pork is fantastic. It’s tender on the inside with plenty of sweet, red lacquered crust, sauteed bean sprouts, and a mountain of grains. We can’t say for ourselves, but we’ve been told the roast duck and pork combined is also killer. It’s just an extra 75 cents for two meats. If you really want to splurge, throw on an egg for a total of $5.75.