Outside of pizza, chicken+rice, hot dogs, and dumplings, there’s not a lot of diverse meal options in Manhattan where you can plop down a fiver, maybe get some change back, and be satisfied afterwards. Enter Punjabi Grocery & Deli on East 1st street between Avenue A and 1st Avenue. Punjabi Grocery & Deli isn’t much to look at from the outside, but like most affordable joints in the city, it isn’t about the exterior as it is what’s offered on the inside.
An Indian Meal For Under $6
When inside, it isn’t much either. It’s basically a counter and a deli case. Te magic happens inside the deli case where you can choose from six options including dishes like yogurt curry, lentils, saag, spinach paneer, chickpeas, stews, and more.
Choose the three you want on your rice bowl (hint: use the letters A, B, C, D, E, F when ordering) and they’ll warm it up in a microwave. Afterwards, you hand the cashier $5.50 and you can enjoy your buffet bowl.
If you’re not that hungry, get the two item dish and pay just $3.50. There’s a lot of other options too — samosa, roti, tikkis, and a variety of other items.
The great benefit about the food that Punjabi offers is that all options are veggie, so they’re “healthy” from that standpoint.They’re also quite friendly. It’s no wonder the place is so highly-rated on Yelp.
I’ve only been to Punjabi Grocery & Deli three times as of this post, but the guys that work there are really smiley and helpful –and you just don’t normally get (nor should you expect) smiles when you’re spending five bucks for dinner.