Tuesday, May 10, 2005


For months — possibly by now it’s for years — I’ve been eating lunch for $3.10 a day by sticking to a bean and rice quesadilla at Anna’s Taqueria. For this you can add salsa, hot sauce, lettuce and jalapenos, but not such things as sour cream or guacamole.

Forced to eat sometimes in Boston rather than Cambridge, I’ve discovered a $3-a-day meal at Ding Ho Fast Food, where Harrison meets Kneeland in Chinatown. This gets you three kinds of food, generously ladled into a styrofoam container. There’s almost always a vegetable or vegetarian option as well as the usual carnivore’s fare, in addition to the basic fried rice, lo mein and rice noodle sides.

Ding Ho is the ultimate in fast food. The food’s waiting behind a sneeze guard, not prepared for each order. You walk in one side and leave on the other. And keep it moving. It’s almost Soup Nazi-ish, although I’ve never seen anyone banished for asking impertinent questions or failing to queue up properly. Ding Ho is also surprisingly under the radar for such a cheap and obvious lunch choice; a variety of Google searches fails to elicit much coverage of this not-so-hidden gem.

My point, I guess, is that if anyone has a lunch option that costs $2.90, I’m keen to hear of it. If I can keep whittling away, a dime per step, I could soon be eating for free.

(I could go down to two dishes at Ding Ho for $2, but it seems like cheating.)


wrecking_ball said...

Okay, no one has made any suggestions yet, so I'll say that the slice-of-the-day at Upper Crust Pizza is a tasty and filling lunch for $2.85. This is a massive slice, with toppings that vary from day to day. Two locations, one on Charles St. and one in Coolidge Corner. (The one on Charles St. is preferable, for its strange and beautiful metal ceiling.)

Scape7 said...

It sounds like a good deal — too good, in fact. It cuts my lunch costs by 15 cents rather than by 10, and I'm not sure if I'm ready to take such a big leap. On the other hand, even the Upper Crust Pizza on Charles Street is terribly out of my way.

That might be worth a nickel.

jlb said...

Oh but Anna's is great and so your place! Variety is good, I encourage variety. But, can you really beat Anna's? Really?

Scape7 said...

I'd be willing to say "No." But Ding Ho Fast Food, I discovered this week, has probably the most delicious tofu I've ever had — soft and creamy and delectable. I always regret not having Anna's, but I'm looking forward to my next opportunity to have Ding Ho.