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New York’s best $2 lunch plus more tasty, cheap Chinatown options

One diner’s hole in the wall is another one’s heaven. Such is the case with these three eateries on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Chinatown, all within a short walk from the B train station at Grand St.

Best $2 lunch in town

The decor may be minimal at Shu Jiao Fuzhouese Cuisine — it’s mainly the restaurant’s 13-item menu, posted on the wall — but that’s fine for most customers, who are here for one of Chinatown’s best affordable lunches. Order at the half-moon counter by number, and your food arrives at your seat almost as quickly as you do.

This is simple Fuzhouese fast food — Fuzhou is the capital of the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian — like steamed, frilly-edged, thin-skinned dumplings filled with pork and chive or pork and cabbage. For $2 you get six, for $3 you’ll get 10.

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The bulk of the menu is soups. A fermented greens and noodle soup called “sour vegetable” is $3.50. There are also pork-stuffed fish balls in broth with a little Chinese celery ($2 for a small); or various types of noodles with various types of beef, all for $3.50 each.

A must-try for any first-time visitor, however, is the plate of hot wheat noodles with peanut sauce ($2) you’ll no doubt spot on every table. Toss the noodles with the sauce, dress it with vinegar, and a dash or two of soy, hot and fish sauces, and it’ll be the most delicious $2 you ever spent.

Shu Jiao Fuzhouese Cuisine: 118 Eldridge St., at Broome St., (212) 625-2532

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