Living in New York City is no joke. Unless you look in my bank account, you’re allowed to laugh this one time. Everything is more expensive here (for no good reason, either). The most basic of household goods will have you looking at your Target receipt thinking that you just dropped a dime on whichever designer-of-the-month is popping.
Let me tell you, you’ve never experienced pure joy until your friend lets you borrow their EBT card so your broke ass can get some groceries. This is the part when you to the heavens and thank Jesus, Buddha, Allah — all them — because you can get a meal.
But in case this doesn’t happen to you, here are five places to eat in NYC when you’re broke.
Wah Mei Fast Food
If this is “fast food,” sign me up! It’s a Chinese spot, and they don’t speak much English, but all you need to tell them is chicken over rice, and they will fry up the most delectable crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside chicken leg (that’s right, a whole chicken leg!) that you will ever have for $5. It’s so much that you’ll have enough leftover for a second meal.
Located at 190 Hester St., New York, NY
C&L Dumpling House
It’s another Chinese restaurant, but this is the real deal. You can order 5 dumplings for $1.25 (steamed or fried), which is way better than the one by your house because they charge at least $4.50. These dumplings are soooo good and soooo big, I used to walk out of my way just to get them. And the spicy soy sauce that comes with it is perfect for dipping. Just ask for extra, because they can be a little stingy.
Located at 77 Chrystie St., New York, NY
Peppa’s Jerk Chicken
I’ve never been a huge fan of jerk anything. I’ll normally pick curry or oxtails over anything when it comes to Jamaican food. Chile, let me say that the jerk chicken from Peppa’s is IT. Spicy and moist, this chicken will have your ears ringing. The picture above? Yeah, that’s a SMALL. So you could imagine my delight when I got a medium in that tin foil container (that’s how you know it’s real) for 9 bucks. It’s will definitely feed you for a couple days, if you’re not too greedy and finish it all in one sitting.
Located at 738 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, NY
Who doesn’t love some good Mexican. This place is so amazing, and everything you try will be a favorite. Their tacos are just $3 each, and if I could make a suggestion, try the pork tacos. They’re mouthwatering good. And if you’re like, “Uh uh, there’s no pork on my fork!” I got you. Try the lamb tacos, too. And if you’re all, “I can’t eat Bambi!” then I can’t help you because you’re too picky. Their $6 flautas are also a good choice. You can get it rolled up with chicken or potatoes, and even add on rice and beans for an additional 2 bucks. I always leave full.
Located at 198 Orchard St., New York, NY
Okay, this is the moment you decided to become an adult and cook at home. Never ever go to Whole Foods because you will end up spending your whole check on just a few items. Trader Joe’s is super cost efficient, and everything is fresh. When you get paid, load up on their frozen veggies and fish so you have something to make later on down the line. (Their frozen veggies are normally under $2.) Even their prepared foods are a good option, too. I recommend the roasted pepper tomato soup. You’ll have a healthy meal that will last you a few days.
Best location 675 6th Ave., New York, NY
What are some of your go to places to eat at when you’re broke?