You spent enough on your tickets for the US Open; enjoy some local eats along the 7 line that won’t bankrupt you, then head on over to the event. By Yvo Sin.
Dumplings and wontons are easily some of the best foods to eat on a budget; generally inexpensive, filling, and very portable, they just work. White Bear’s draw: the best Wontons With Hot Sauce (actually chili oil) that you will ever eat in your entire life can be found there. Order #6 – 12 such wontons for $4.50 – and wait eagerly for the container to be passed to you as you hand over your money. Try to be patient, or you may just burn your mouth on each succulent, tender morsel. The skin is impossibly thin, breaking apart with pressure from your teeth to reveal juicy, flavorful pork. The crunchy pickled veggies tossed casually on top create a textural contrast to make you smile, while the chili oil – frighteningly bright red – adds just the slightest touch of heat to each bite. Congratulations – you’ve just experienced dumpling nirvana.
A short detour from the 7 train on your way to the game lies a place where fresh tortillas are made starting at 4 a.m. each day. Indulging yourself won’t be hard on your wallet at Tortilleria Nixtamal either – a plate of three tacos will run you about $8. The fresh tortillas are enough to make the tacos great, but the fish taco – made to order – is incredibly light and flavorful at the same time. Wash it all down with a tall horchata fresca, a refreshing rice milk drink, perfect on a hot summer day.
Nan Xiang Dumpling House
The skill of soup dumplings lies in how thin you can make the skin without it just tearing while eating before the eater wants it to. Nan Xiang has this down to an art form; the skin pliant, chewy, yet thin, and each dumpling swimming happily in its own womb of soup, waiting for the consumer to bite into it. Flavorful broth, juicy meat bits, and a thin skin all add up to being easily the best soup dumplings in New York City. Be prepared to wait, though: word is out about these beauties, and people travel from all boroughs to eat here. So if you plan on visiting before a game at Arthur Ashe Stadium (one stop away on the 7 train), allow for extra time.
Walking into Brother’s Pizza is a throwback to days of yore: a long counter with bar stools, narrow aisle, but the back opens up with more seats if you choose to stay. Sitting at the bar, you find the same guy who’s been slinging pies for at least the past 13 years, his hands working over the dough easily, muscle memory kicking in so he can chat pleasantly with customers as he preps the next pie. $2.25 gets you a slice heated quickly in the oven, with an evenly thin crust, a slightly soft tip, stretchy cheese and a perfectly balanced red sauce. The overall slice is a little floppy, chewy even, and the oil will pour off as you eat, but the extra crunchy heel will leave you munching away as you debate ordering an entire pie just for yourself. Pro tip: fresh garlic is offered as a topping here. Get it (but not with a date).
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Yvo Sin is the founder and head writer of The Feisty Foodie.