Rumblllleee. Your stomach is calling for you to get off of your butt. It is hungry. You haven’t eaten breakfast, and you’ve been a huge couch potato. You decide to finally get that Vitamin D, so you scooched into your sweatpants (no one is going to see you), slip on your boat shoes and wrap your hair into a sloppy bun.
With a quick check of your wallet, you notice you only have $15 bucks in your name. So where can you go to get the perfect meal? Easy, and here are my top five choices for cheap, delicious eats.
Lina’s Pizza in Bridgeport
With only two small tables inside the place, this is a grab-and-go pizza parlour. You can buy by by the slice, or if you have more money, order a whole pizza. Their thin crust is the tastiest in all of Chicago, because of the sweet tomato sauce and the crunchy crust. If you’re like me, you will dip the crust in some ooey-gooey fake cheese ($1.00). A slice is around $3.50, so buy a couple. Stuff yourself!
Sultan’s Market in Wicker Park
If you love Mediterranean food as much as I do, then you need to go here. Opened in a couple of other neighborhoods, this place is the OG. They have a salad bar, but I do not recommend that. The salad is weighed by the pound. Instead, go for the pre-designed sandwiches. I got the falafel sandwich, which cost me $3.75. Pour in your sauce of choice and you’re good to go.
The Tamale Lady in Bridgeport
Ok, this one is a real insider tip. The Tamale Lady is not an establishment or the name of a business. It is literally a woman selling tamales. She stands outside of Cermak Produce almost everyday around 6 AM, and she leaves once she sells every tamale. She has three flavors: pork, chicken and cheese. I go for the chicken every time for that extra kick. At $1.25 a tamale, you can stock up for the entire week.
Jim’s Original Hot Dog in South Loop
With business partners falling out, this place is a part of Chicago history. Some would even say it is a Chicago tradition to stop by after any Sox baseball game. You walk on this street that is close to the 90 highway exit to get a waft of the sweet onion carmelization. It is a must to get the onions, whether you get a hot dog or a cheeseburger. The onions are key. The Polish is $3.50 and the cheeseburger is $2.60. Look at that; you have change to share, if you’re feeling generous.
Cafe Hoang in Chinatown
Now and again, I will need my Vietnamese fix. Although Argyle is Vietnamese town, my favorite Vietnamese place is in Chinatown. It is run by Northern Vietnamese, which is fabulous if you love Bun Bo Hue, a spicy noodle soup that originated from the North. A huge bowl is around $7.50. With slurping up the flavourful soup, you will not need to order seconds. In fact, you might not be able to move afterwards.
No matter where you choose, you will have change in your pocket. These places are so affordable, but they have the quality of top restaurants. This is the real Chicago.