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.
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