Little Italy in New York City.
Little Italy in New York City. Picasa

TRAVEL: New York City dining on the cheap

DESPITE the exchange rate, you can eat out in New York on the cheap if you slip on a local's shoes.

Here's a list of 10 of the best places for memorable cheap eats I discovered with Big Apple Greeter Ellen Gasnich.

Big Apple Greeter Tours is a free service where locals show visitors around their city.

1. Find the best value dumplings in Chinatown at Fried Dumpling, 106 Mosco St. You can buy five fried dumplings for $1. Although the sign says they do pork buns, it's best not to ask as the response is rarely favourable.

2. Pop into 69 Chinese Restaurant at 69 Bayard St to see the walls papered with signed $1 notes. Try Chinese comfort food classics such as Beef Cho Fun and Minced Beef with Peas and Raw Egg. The average order is under $10.

3. It's easy to find Jing Fong Restaurant, 20 Elizabeth St, by the people queueing on the street outside. This large Cantonese restaurant seating 800 people draws crowds on weekends for dim sum rolled out on carts.

4. Deluxe Food Market, 79 Elizabeth St, is a long, narrow supermarket selling Chinese groceries, baked goods, sticky rice and Asian-style sandwiches. Wind your way through the crowds to find tasty marinated meats and seafood. Check for samples too.

5. Look for the sign on Canal St corner, fire hydrants painted in red, white and green and you'll know you are in Little Italy where the street vendors sell almond biscotti and fig cookies, roasted chickpeas and honey roasted peanuts by the bag or pound.

6. A Lobster Tail, crisp puff pastry filled with cream at Ferrara Bakery and Café at 195 Grand St, along with some cannoli is a must-try.

7. Katz's Deli, 204 E Houston St, is where Where Harry met Sally was filmed in 1989. People queue up outside the door, and there's a ticket system to get inside. Take a ticket and it doesn't matter if you don't buy anything, although you will be sorely tempted.

8. Established in 1920, Piemonte Ravioli, 190 Grand St, Co makes ravioli, tortellini and other take-out pasta, all made fresh pasta daily the old-school way.

9. La Esquina Corner Deli at 114 Kenmare St, is a casual corner taqueria hiding a dimly lit subterranean brasserie serving upmarket Mexican fare.

10. Dean & Deluca, 560 Broadway, has been providing the world's best epicurean treats for more than 35 years. It's a wonder just to walk through the doors but head to the back where you are sure to find samples or just try the sushi bar.

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