Beggars Can Be Choosers

99¢ Fresh Pizza, left, and 2 Bros. Pizza, right. Photo: Hannah Whitaker

The Plain Cheese Slice

Critics’ Pick
99¢ Fresh Pizza

151 E. 43rd St.
Relatively light and crisp, with a garlic-powder nose and visible flecks of oregano. The flat lip has a vaguely greasy, fried flavor, but the balance is good, the components integrated, and sag nonexistent. The winner—despite a stealthily applied sales tax that edges the price up to $1.07.

2 Bros. Pizza
32 St. Marks Pl.
Doughy, saucy, and so overloaded with cheese it suffers from chronic droop syndrome. The lip is thick and somewhat detached, like deep-dish or pan pizza, and the overall flavor is cafeteria school lunch. On the plus side, it is more filling.

Manhattan Chinatown Cart, left, and Flushing Chinatown Cart, right. Photo: Hannah Whitaker

The Xinjiang Lamb Skewer

Manhattan Chinatown Cart
Forsyth St. at Division St.
Smaller chunks of meat, a modest dusting of spice, and an overall lambier flavor. All in all, a nice snack for a Chinatown stroll.

Critics’ Pick
Flushing Chinatown Cart

41st Ave., E. of Main St.
Meatier, smokier, and spicier, this skewer dominates. But then again, you have to schlep to Flushing for it.

Fried Dumpling, left, Vanessa’s Dumpling House, center, and Prosperity Dumpling, right. Photo: Hannah Whitaker

Chive-and-Pork Fried Dumplings

Vanessa’s Dumpling House
118A Eldridge St.
After a recent renovation, Vanessa’s dropped from five to four for a dollar, brazenly deviating from the going rate. But what you lose in volume, you gain in a superb contrast of textures: the crisp chewiness of the golden-seared side versus its soft, quasi-tender counterpart.

Critics’ Pick
Prosperity Dumpling

46 Eldridge St.
A five-minute wait guaranteed freshness, and the plump, irregularly shaped beauties have the tenderest wrapper and a loosely packed, juicy filling. The crisp side could be crisper, but sheer quantity and thus better value nudge the dark horse Prosperity into the winner’s seat.

Fried Dumpling
99 Allen St.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Our skinny specimens, retrieved from a warmer, tasted tired and wan, with little juice to speak of. Fresh from the pan, they might fare better, but why leave it up to chance?

Beggars Can Be Choosers