Jackson Heights hounds who love the roast chicken at Pio Pio—but not the churlish service at its takeout shop—have found a cheap, friendly alternative nearby. Empire Chinese does moist, tasty, falling-off-the-bone roast chicken. A half bird is $3, a whole one is $5.85. There’s also a combo (D1 on the menu) of a half chicken, steamed vegetables, and rice for $4.75. “This is a huge meal and so very good,” declares Mike V.

For another budget bite in the neighborhood, check out the soup of the day at Latin American places, often served in a meal-size portion. “They may be the cheapest thing in the restaurant,” Brian S observes, “and they sometimes are the best.” Mike V recommends La Boina Roja, a Colombian spot whose soup specials, priced at $6 or $7, include rice, salad, and fried plantains. Typical offerings are tripe, oxtail, short rib, fish, meatball, chicken, plantain, and cream soups of asparagus, mushroom, or corn.

Empire Chinese [Jackson Heights]
37-09 83rd Street (near Northern), Jackson Heights, Queens

La Boina Roja [Jackson Heights]
80-18 37th Avenue (between 80th and 81st streets), Jackson Heights, Queens

La Boina Roja [Jackson Heights]
77-05 37th Avenue (near 77th Street), Jackson Heights, Queens

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