I wish I knew of the Dumpling House at 118 Eldridge when I first came to New York and was young and poor (as opposed to now, when I'm older and still poor). It would have been a cure-all to a lot of nights when I ate Raman noodles or a slice or charges $7 worth of stupid gourmet goods I couldn't afford at Second Avenue's Indiana Foods. This straight-ahead eatery will give you five fantastic dumplings for a single buck or the splendiferous sesame pancake with beef for $1.50). It's one of the best deals in town, and I stop by anytime I'm in the Lower East Side.
Recently, I discovered that the same owners have a more obscure, less dolled-up (if that's possible) location on Mosco Street in Chinatown. It's perched in the middle of that slanting, noirish one-black lane. And the serving women are even grumpier than on Eldridge Street! But the dumplings are just as good, and still 5 for $1.