1. Ruben's Empanadas
Four carts dispensing half-moons of pastry filled with everything from spinach to Argentine sausage ($3.25). Don't miss the fresh, garlicky gazpacho ($3.25).
(Broadway and 39th Street; Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street; Liberty and William Streets; Water and Wall Streets; 212-334-3351.)
2. N.Y. Dosas (pictured)
Thiru Kumar serves up the rice-flour-and-lentil crêpes of South India, including the special Pondicherry masala dosa (at $5, the costliest item here), filled with curried potatoes and a crunchy dice of onions, peppers, and tomatoes.
(West 4th Street near Sullivan Street; 917-710-2092.)
3. Sun Dou Dumpling Shop
A real lunch for a buck. Do you hear us? One dollar. Grab two hot pork buns (50 cents) on a cold day, and watch them steam as you gobble them right there.
(214–216 Grand Street; 212-965-9663.)
4. The Mudtruck
With a Starbucks at each end of Astor Place, what's a coffee lover to do? Head for the bright-orange van outside the 6-train station for a mild but rich shot of espresso ($1.50) and a pain au chocolat ($2.25). No Frappuccinos—and we love them for it.
(Fourth Avenue at 8th Street; 212-529-8766; themudtruck.com.)
5. Hallo Berlin
If you must lunch on a hot dog, at least do it in style. The sausages here—knockwurst, bratwurst, weisswurst, and currywurst, to name just a few—come with cabbage, onions, and the awesome house mustard on a crusty roll.
(Fifth Avenue and 54th Street; 212-541-6248.)