My observation of NY cheap eats (I am an LA hound):
Cheap, delicious food that shines and is widely available in NY:
- Americanized Chinese food
- Hot dogs
Cheap, delicious food that shines and is widely available in Los Angeles:
- really authentic, delicious al pastor tacos for $1 each (taco table on Vermont just north of the 10 freeway)
- a giant bowl of hand pulled noodles and spicy beef tendon soup for $5 (at Malan in Hacienca Heights)
- fantastic korean hotpot and bulgogi for $10 (enough food for 2 people at Beverly Soon Tofu in Koreatown... free raw spicy crab panchan included at the joint across the street)
- huge bowl of vietnamese pho for $4 (enough for 2 people in Little Saigon)
- big plate of authentic chicken pad see ew for $6 (enough for 2 people: Sanamluang Cafe in Thai Town)
In LA, there is a virtually endless list of these types of meals... most of them quite healthy, Asian foods cooked not primarily for "the white man", but for those members of the community who live there. (Having spent 7 months traveling through Asia last year, I can vouch for the fact that there is no "dumbing down" of the cuisines that I refer to above, and all are excellent examples of their kind, whether here or in their representative Asian countries)
Help me, New York hounds........ I refuse to believe that your options for an outstanding $5/person meal are limited to pizza, hot dogs, and Americanized Chinese!
I have a feeling Indian food must be somewhere on your list.
(who is staying with his sister in Brooklyn, Clinton Hill just south of Williamsburg-- but as always, will travel for excellent chow)