Eat & Drink

The Legendary American Eats That Cost Less Than US$10

Eating well doesn’t have to break the bank in the US – in fact, many of the country’s most famous feeds will leave you with change from a $10 note. From world-famous burgers to fried chicken, Texas BBQ and the perfect taco, consider this your guide to the most legendary – and cheapest – meals in America. Get ready to undo that top button to fit in the must-eat American foods.

A New York slice

 

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If there’s one dish New York is known for, it’s the slice so big it demands to be folded in half. You’re never more than a few meters from a pizza-by-the-slice joint in the Big Apple, but Joe’s Pizza is the original and the best, offering classics like pepperoni or mozzarella for a few bucks a pop.

Those looking to branch out might want to try Vinnie’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn, where you can top your slice with curveballs like mac & cheese or nacho sauce, or Scarr’s Pizza in the Lower East Side, where you can wash your food down with a glass of natural wine. Those omnipresent 99c Pizza joints are legit, too.

How much: From 99 cents up to US$6.

Where: New York City (with imitations around the country)

A hotdog from Pink’s

 

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There’s a reason Angeleno’s line up around the block for a meal at Pink’s. The Los Angeles institution has been serving up some of the country’s greatest hotdogs since 1939, when husband and wife team Betty and Paul Pink bought a hotdog cart and set up shop on La Brea avenue. 78 years after it opened, Pink’s is still a family run business, and still stupidly delicious.

How much: The classic chilli dog will set you back $4.50.

Where: 709 N La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles

A New Orleans beignet

 

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Fried chicken, cornbread, jumbo, po’boys…there’s a lot of must-eats to get through on any trip to New Orleans. But perhaps the most famous bite in the Big Easy is the beignet: a sweet donut-style pastry that’s been sold at the same Café du Monde coffee stand since 1862. It’s customary to wash them down with a café au lait.

How much: Three for US$3

Where: Café du Monde in the French Quarter, open 24 hours

A taco from anywhere in LA, but preferably Guisados

 

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Except for, well, Mexico, there’s nowhere better in the world to grab a taco than Los Angeles. Taco trucks around the city sell delicious meat, vegetarian and seafood-stuffed delights for between $1 and $4 a piece, but we’d advise ducking into one of Guisado’s five locations for the real crème de la crop.

How much: A few bucks at most

Where: You really can’t go wrong in LA, but Guisados is a local favourite for good reason

The best bagel in New York

 

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Sure, Russ and Daughters might be the most famous bagel in New York, but our vote for the best goes to Tompkins Square Bagels in the East Village.

Order faves like the Avenue B (pepper crusted sirloin, cheddar, onion and roasted capsicum) off the menu, or build your own – starting with a choice of over 25 different flavours of cream cheese, ranging from cookie dough to wasabi or the classic scallion. Go during the week if you can, it gets busy on weekends.

How much: Around $6, depending on your order

Where: Tompkins Square Bagels in New York’s East Village

The greatest fried chicken ever

 

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You may think you’ve had fried chicken before, but until you’ve been to Tennessee you haven’t had the real deal. Nashville favourite Hattie B’s Hot Chicken has been showing out-of-towners how its done since 2012, and you don’t have to take our word for it: just take a look at the hour-long line out front every lunch time for proof of its popularity.

How much: A plate of fried chicken with bread, pickles and choice of two sides goes for US$8.50

Where: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, which has three locations in Nashville as well as stores in Atlanta, Memphis, Las Vegas and Birmingham

Real Texas BBQ

 

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… But the lines at Hattie B’s are nothing compared to those at Austin’s Franklin BBQ. At what’s probably the most revered barbecue joint in the States, customers come prepared to line up for over two hours with deckchairs, decks of cards and coolers full of chilled beers.

You’ll want to join the line before 10am to make sure you get served before the food runs out – your reward will be the greatest brisket of your life.

How much: Sandwiches are priced from US$8

Where: Franklin BBQ in downtown Austin

A cupcake from Magnolia Bakery

 

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You may remember Magnolia Bakery as the spot where Carrie confessed her feelings for Aiden in season three of Sex and the City… or, more recently, as the shop skewered as “the last place tourists go before leaving New York City” in Broad City.

But even if you never cared for the escapades of Ms Bradshaw, a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery is still an essential NYC pilgrimage – their fluffy, photographic deserts are little works of art. And very Instagrammable.

How much: US$3.95 each.

Where: The West Village, NYC

A burger with Animal Style Fries at In-N-Out

 

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A list best cheap American foods without In-N-Out? Never. The legendary burger chain still reigns as the country’s best fast food outlet, thanks to their use of fresh ingredients and not-so-secret-menu favourites like Animal Style fries. Make a beeline for that drive-thru the minute you get to California.

How much: A Double Double burger, fries and a drink will set you back all of US$6.70

Where: Throughout California and at select locations in Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Utah

(Lead image: Fish tacos from Guisado’s / Facebook)