For $5.25 you get a generous portion of chopped roast meat over rice, tender with creamy fat and a hint of caramelization around the edges.
There's plenty of great food at Nyonya, the Malaysian restaurant right below our office, but not much of it is vegetarian friendly. Even their vegetable dishes seem to come with salted fish or shrimp paste by default. But this excellent Mixed Vegetable Curry is an exception.
We were crestfallen when we saw that Bluebird Sky, our friendly neighborhood coffee shop, lunch spot, and meeting space, had closed. But a new nice-ish spot has opened in its place, and it's serving homestyle Malaysian food we'd be happy to eat again. A couple dishes after the jump.
This pasta to-go comes is generously portioned and all-around a winner, given the high quality homemade pasta and its $8 pricetag.
Catfish isn't really lunch routine—even less so in Chinatown where it's hardly common—but this Ca Kho To (Caramel Fish, $9.95) at Pho Grand fits the bill surprisingly well.
This East Broadway noodle shop does a broth-free bowl of noodles well worth ordering, along with some of my favorite dumplings in Chinatown.
You may remember Paris Sandwich in Chinatown from our Manhattan banh mi tasting, where its pre-made and reheated sandwiches came in last place. With a redundant store nearby on Grand Street, the Mott Street location transformed itself into a full-service restaurant where sub-$10 satisfy and then some.
I don't usually eat lunch in Brooklyn—that whole "office in Manhattan" thing—but when subways are limited and buses are so packed as to be almost un-rideable, you end up wandering around your own borough quite a bit. Which brought me to SCRATCHbread in Bed-Stuy.
The lunch specials at Shanghai 456 aren't that different than elsewhere in Chinatown, but they're much higher quality. I suspect the Eggplant in Garlic Sauce will become a new personal go-to while lunching in the area.
With the arrival of fall and the occasional chilly, gloomy day, we've been looking for 1. warming, soothing lunch options that 2. don't make us stray far from our office. So the soups at Nyonya, right downstairs, start sounding pretty appealing.
Is it a traditional Greek salad with perfect ingredients? No. But as a tasty ten buck pile of fresh vegetables in a neighborhood desperate for healthy, affordable lunches that don't suck? It's a fine thing.
The Anticuchos, veal heart skewers on a bed of Peruvian corn and lettuce at Morocho are filling but not too heavy, a perfect summertime lunch.
Don't expect smoky wok hei flavors here; instead look for light, tender, slightly sweet rice cakes fragrant with mild pickled cabbage and punctuated by quiet bites of pork and mushroom. Kudos to any restaurant that can make a plate of pasta, pork, and oil taste restorative.
I'll just go ahead and say that everyone should have a place that delivers massive piles of eggs, beef, tomatoes, peppers, and onions, with rice, beans, and tortillas, for less than six dollars.
Head to Hing Won for a salty, meaty, and porky Midtown lunch sure to satisfy.
We came to YaYa Tea Garden for its well crafted onigiri, but we keep coming back for its Tokyo Fried Chicken ($4.95).
The wontons at Tasty Dumpling are made with the same ridiculously juicy pork that goes into their potstickers, but crisp-tender shrimp and bright greens make the texture and flavor light and plenty interesting.
So the real name of this dish on the Vietnamese restaurant Xe Lua is Banh Hoi Salad Voi Chao Tom Nuong ($12). If that doesn't quite roll off the tongue, how about this: finely ground spiced shrimp wrapped around sugar cane and cooked on the grill. It's served with little nests of rice noodles, herbs and pickled vegetables, rice paper sheets which you soften in a bowl of hot water, and lettuce. It's a slightly ridiculous table-hogging assortment of food, but it's also one of the best renditions of Vietnamese sugar cane skewered meat I've had in New York.
You may know this place as "The Chatham Square restaurant next to the more famous Chatham Square." And I'll admit that were 6 Chatham Square not closed for renovations, I never would have stepped into Hop Shing next door. The place looks like its last redesign was in the 70's and they stopped halfway, but it's a charming (in its own way) little spot with some surprising bites if you're lucky.
The pikilia ($12) includes a choice of four of their five dips (greatly improved odds in my book), along with hand-cut fries and pita bread. The fries are just the right amount of greasy, with nice browned bits here and there. They're also beautifully seasoned with oregano, so you can still feel sophisticated while shoveling them into your mouth by the handful. The pita gets major points for achieving a slightly crisp crust that gives way to a soft, warm, doughy interior. It's the perfect vessel for the gems of the meal: taramasalata, hummus, melitzanosalata, and tzatziki.