It seems that the two words, New York and overpriced always go together. Sure, NYC is going to be more pricey than your average U.S. suburb, but what do you expect? It’s New York City. Just be glad your there.
After spending last summer in the city and traveling to the area back again, I’ve come up with a couple of tips for everyone to eat in New York on the cheap and experience all that the city has to gastronomically offer. That cute little restaurant with the outdoor seating in SoHo make look like the picturesque New York you imagined while watching re-runs of Sex and the City, but trust me, that establishment will break your NYC budget alone. If you’re an adventurous eater, you should have no problem with this plan. New York City is full of cheap eats!
1) Food Trucks: Food trucks are the “in thing” when it comes to eating on the go. Becoming popular throughout the United States, the trucks can range from serving burger and fries, to pizza, waffles, ice cream & frozen yogurt, halal food (more on that later), schnitzel and tacos. The food is cheap, the wait is not bad, and the cute and kitschy factor is way up there. Most food trucks travel to new locations each day, therefore the best way to find where they’re at is to follow them on Twitter. Here is a list of my NYC favorites:
- Wafels and Dinges – waffle truck. Yes, I said waffles.
- Berry FroYo- Cheap, and I mean cheap frozen yogurt with loads of toppings to choose from
- Korilla BBQ- Korean-fused BBQ
- Street Sweets– whoopee pies & cookies
- Bistro Truck
- Schnitzel and Things
- Big Gay Ice Cream Truck (Think, Mr.Softee, but with grown-up toppings)
- Steak Truck
- The Treat Truck
- 53rd and 6th Halal Truck
2) Halal Carts: These are a New York staple and have satiated my appetite plenty of times. Don’t be afraid of these carts, because what they have inside is delicious. They are all regulated by the NYC Health Department. I always get the chicken on a pita (chicken gyro) with veggies, lettuce, tomato, hot sauce, and white sauce. The white sauce, which is a mayo-based sauce with seasonings is what seals the deal. You haven’t truly ate in New York without trying one of these, and for only $5 you’d be foolish not to.
3) Restaurants: Below are some restaurants and/or NYC neighborhoods that I have encountered that actually do serve budget friendly food. Word of warning, you will not see the Olive Garden, Red Lobster, TGIFridays, or any fast food chain on this list. Why? Because you are in NYC.
This list is small because honestly, I like my halal carts too much.
- S’Mac (Sarita’s Mac and Cheese)
- Chinatown If you don’t see or hear a speck of English, you’ve come to the right part of town. Same goes for Koreatown
- Katz Delicatessan- An NYC institution
- Habana Outpost (Brooklyn)- Cuban food with a twist. Try their Cuban sandwich and a mixed drink!
- Not Ray’s Pizza (Brooklyn)- This is NYC pizza
- Cake Man Raven– Okay, so this place is not technically a restaurant, but it sells the best red velvet cake you will ever have. Trust.