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10 Places in NYC You Can Get a Delicious Meal for Under $10

Eat your way through NYC without breaking the bank!

New York City is notoriously expensive, but it doesn’t necessarily cost a ton to eat well in the city. Throughout the boroughs, there are many great meals to enjoy, from Chinese food to gourmet BECs (bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches) that ring up for not much more than round-trip subway fare. Joe’s Pizza, a celebrity favorite, is a must-stop, while lesser-known spots like Banh Mi Saigon in Little Italy are quietly churning out some of the city’s best sandwiches. Here are ten places to grab an inexpensive bite in NYC.

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PHOTO: Jon Bilous/Dreamstime
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Joe's Pizza

WHERE: Multiple Locations

Widely considered the best pizza slice in NYC, it rings in at more than a dollar per slice, but Joe’s is worth a few extra bucks. The slices are no-frills and come in plain cheese, pepperoni, or the sleeper-hit, a white slice (no red sauce, topped with ricotta and mozzarella). The Sicilian, a fluffy square pizza slice oozing with cheese is the most substantial, but two slices of the thin crust still ring in under $10.

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Vanessa's Dumplings

WHERE: Multiple Locations

Every menu item at Vanessa’s is under $10 and all the options are excellent. The sesame pancake sandwiches are an affordable and portable treat, with the Peking duck and pork variations being standouts among the nine flavors. The fried Dan Dan Mien noodles, best ordered with the spicy beef sauce for carnivores or tofu for vegetarians, come in a generous, shareable portion. Of the many dumpling options, the chive and pork or spicy wontons are excellent, perfect as a snack or light lunch, and even better shared among a bunch of plates with friends for an inexpensive smorgasbord.

INSIDER TIPVanessa’s sells 50-piece frozen dumplings for as little as $8, a great deal for locals or visitors with kitchen access.

 

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PHOTO: Jenny Huang
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Xi'an Famous Foods

WHERE: Multiple Locations

At only $6.75 (tax included!) the spicy cumin lamb burger at Xi’an Famous Foods can’t be beaten. Tender chunks of lamb and onion are tossed in a chili-flecked sauce inside a warm, crisp roll. The hand-pulled noodles are a bit more than $10 a bowl but are easily shared between two people; of the more than half-dozen flavors, the spicy and tingly beef is the top pick.

INSIDER TIPTake home the recipe by purchasing Xi’an Famous Foods’ great cookbook.

 

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Cheeky’s Sandwiches

WHERE: Lower East Side

It is easy to walk by Cheeky’s, a small sandwich shop serving New Orleans cooking at prices closer to the cost of living in Louisiana. Cafe du Monde coffee is only $1, fluffy fried to order beignets are also only $1, and the combo of both is a delightful afternoon snack. But the best time to visit this hole in the wall is for breakfast, where a tender homemade biscuit sandwich, with fried chicken, purple cabbage slaw, and gravy is only $6.50.

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Los Tacos No.1

WHERE: Multiple Locations

There is a common complaint that the East Coast can’t compete with West Coast tacos, but Los Tacos No.1 challenges that notion. These street tacos offer marinated pork, carne asada, chicken, or cactus on flour or corn tortillas, and are best ordered “con todo,” or with everything, which includes onion, cilantro, salsa, and guacamole (no extra cost!). Fully loaded, each taco is about $5, while the quesadillas are packed with all the same goods between two large flour tortillas for about $6.

INSIDER TIPLos Tacos No.1 has an outpost in Times Square, a savior amongst overpriced tourist traps and perfect for a post-show bite.

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Bobwhite Counter

WHERE: Alphabet City

Grab a stool at the counter and dig into some of the best and most affordable fried chicken in the city. A sharable 10-piece fried chicken bucket, with a shatteringly crispy coating, only costs $20; with a few sides, like the notable baked mac n’ cheese ($4.29), this spread easily feeds four people for less than $10 per person. If dining solo, the spicy fried chicken sandwich with bread and butter pickles on a pillowy roll is only $7 and packs the spice in each bite.

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New World Mall

WHERE: Flushing, Queens

The New World Mall in Queens includes many Asian retailers, a J Mart supermarket, and on the lower level, a food court with over 32 food vendors from different areas of North and South-East Asia. Noteworthy stalls include Lanzhou Handmade Noodles for lamb noodle soup, with either hand-pulled or knife-cut noodles, or Mojoilla Fresh for jianbing, a traditional Chinese street food similar to a crepe, but these thin griddled pancakes are filled with sausage and shrimp.

INSIDER TIPBring friends to divide and conquer with, as the food court can be busy and there’s a lot to sample.

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Court Street Grocers

WHERE: Multiple Locations

As far as BECs go, $9 is a little expensive, and while the American cheese-laden, bodega versions are delicious, the Court Street Grocers version is in a league of its own. This NYC mini-chain of sandwich shops serves its BEC with soft scrambled eggs, thick-cut bacon, cheddar cheese, and arugula served on Balthazar ciabatta. It is simple but outstanding. All the breakfast sandwiches ring in under $10, while lunch options are $13-16 but are hearty and easy to share. The broccoli Ruben ($13) tastes like a broccoli-cheese casserole in the best way possible and is the star of the vegetarian options.

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Manousheh

WHERE: Multiple Locations

This bakery and cafe specializes in Middle Eastern street food flatbreads called manousheh. The chewy, pizza-esque flatbreads come with an array of toppings, from zaatar and jibneh cheese to falafel topped with tomatoes, mint, pickled turnips, and tahini. Most ring in under $10, with the expectation of the lamb kofta and chicken musakhan wraps, which are still only $13.

INSIDER TIPThe extra-strong Arabic coffee ($3) and maamoul date cookies ($2) are a great cafe treat and at lower prices than the average coffee and baked goods at NYC coffee shops.

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Banh Mi Saigon

WHERE: Little Italy

This spot offers over 20 versions of the classic Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich. The #1 Bbq Pork option adds chunks of sweet glazed pork to the traditional pickled vegetables, cilantro, and jalapeno nestled in a French baguette, while the #4 is the classic ham and pate rendition. Also offered are rice vermicelli noodle bowls topped with heaps of your choice of protein. The best part? Sandwiches start at as little as $3.

INSIDER TIPThere is little seating here, so plan to take the sandwich to go—they can be enjoyed a six-minute walk away at Elizabeth Street Garden. 

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