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Cheap Eats NYC: $5 Lunch in the East Village

One of the best eating neighborhoods in New York, the East Village has its share of fine restaurants, but its share of cheap eats, too — especially by day. Here are five places to get lunch for $5 or under, from fancied-up hot dogs to Vietnamese tacos (yep, you read that right).


A Super Club Classic from Xe May Sandwich Shop (Photo: Courtesy Xe May Sandwich Shop)

A Super Club Classic from Xe May Sandwich Shop (Photo: Courtesy Xe May Sandwich Shop)


Xe May Sandwich Shop
At this modern Vietnamese eatery, $5 can get you two banh mi-styled tacos like lemongrass chicken with cilantro, pickled carrots,  daikon, cucumber and chili mayo. Or for just a buck-fifty more, upgrade to the sandwiches themselves. Either way, you’ll leave satisfied. 96 St. Marks Place, 212-388-1688

Crif Dogs
Head to Papaya King for classic New York dogs, but head to Crif Dogs for something a little different. The smoked, deep-fried franks come with unusual toppings, like the bacon-wrapped Tsunami with teriyaki sauce and pineapple. All the dogs clock in under $5, and if you stick with the simpler ones, you can get two for a fiver (or just a notch above). 113 St Marks Pl.; 212-614-2728;

Xi’an Famous Foods
This now well-known mini-chain, specializing in the food of China’s Shaanxi province, offers all manner of affordable meals. The chewy, springy Liang Pi “cold skin” noodles with deeply spiced sauces, a spicy cumin lamb burger, lamb meat soup — any one of those can be yours for $5 or under. 81 St. Marks Pl., no phone

Also on St. Marks Place — a hotbed for cheap eats, as it turns out — Mark griddles up mighty impressive sliders, little burgers priced as low as $2.75. And if you’ve got a few extra bucks to spare, two sliders plus fries and a soda will only set you back $8. 33 St. Marks Pl., 212-677-3132

Punjabi Grocery and Deli
It’s known as a cab-driver hangout, but every East Villager should know about the fabulous deals at this 24-hour vegetarian spot. Whether you’re looking for samosas, roti with vegetable curries or spiced potato patties, it’s all available here, and virtually nothing on the menu tops $5. 114 E. 1st St., 212-533-3356

Check out more cheap eats in Chinatown, the West Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Union Square Williamsburg and around town.

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