New York was once home to Ellis Island, where over 12 million immigrants entered the US. It’s no wonder this city is also home to so many iconic foods from all over the world. From pizza to bagels to cheesecake, you’ll find the best iconic foods in the Big Apple. You don’t need to shell out a ton of cash to enjoy these treats either; in fact, most of the items on this list cost $5 to $10.

Pizza

You can’t visit New York City without eating a slice of pizza. Even the thought of skipping this thin-crust staple would warrant some serious side-eye from New Yorkers. Luckily, there’s plenty of it in the city, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. 

A slice of cheese at Joe’s will set you back about $2.50. For the best Margarita slice in town, head to Bleecker Street Pizza. Or, if you’re on a serious budget, check out the dollar slices in Midtown.

Bagels

Jewish immigrants from Poland brought bagels to New York in the 1800s. Glossy on the outside and chewy on the inside, New Yorkers swear bagels taste better here — thanks to the high quality of the NYC public drinking water. 

Traditionally served with schmear, lox, tomato, onion and capers, the bagel itself will only set you back a few dollars. Head to Russ and Daughters for a traditional bagel or to Black Seed for an updated hipstery version.

Pickles

In the 1980s, Essex Street in the Lower East Side was inhabited by pickle purveyors. This briny treat was originally sold from pushcarts because it wouldn’t spoil easily. Eventually, pickle purveyors moved inside to stalls and storefronts. 

The last of the purveyors on Essex is the Pickle Guys. You can get just about any type of pickle here — from new pickles to full sours. If you just want a pickle to snack on, they’re only $1. They even sell pickled peppers, pickled mushrooms, pickled green tomatoes, pickled pineapple, pickled okra…

Dumplings

The best (and cheapest) dumplings in the city are in Chinatown. Dumplings were originally invented as a form of medicine and are considered extremely good luck if you eat them on New Year’s Eve. 

The veggie and pork dumplings at North Dumpling are flavorful and cost only $3 for 10 dumplings. Or, head to Tasty Dumpling for pork, chicken or beef dumplings. The pork ones are only $1.25 for five.

Falafel

Middle Easterners immigrated to NYC after our immigration policies relaxed in the late 1960s. With them, they brought their recipe for ground and seasoned chic peas, which they molded into patties and deep fried. You can get falafel at just about any street corner cart in the city, but the best is at Mamoun’s

This falafel is from Lebanon, so it’s flavored with a generous serving of parsley — which also gives the inside of the patty a bright green color. The falafel sandwich at Mamoun’s is only $3.50. Top it off with some of their signature red hot chili sauce.

Hot Dogs

Historians believe the first hot dogs were invented right down in Brooklyn’s own Coney Island by German immigrants. Today some of the city’s best hot dogs can still be found in Coney Island at Nathan’s Famous. If you don’t feel like taking the 60-minute subway ride to Brooklyn, you can always head to Shake Shack — a Manhattan favorite — for hot dogs, burgers and shakes. Most hot dogs will run you less than $5 each.

Bialys

Bialys are a distant cousin of the bagel. The biggest difference between the two is that bagels are boiled before they are baked; bialys are not. The best bialys in the city are at Kossar’s on the Lower East Side. Like bagels, a single bialy is around $1. 

You can eat them like bagels, topped with schmear, veggies and fish. 

The other difference between a bagel and a bialy? Bialys don’t have the bagel’s telltale holes in the center.

Egg Cream

If you’ve never enjoyed an egg cream before, you might be surprised to learn this beverage doesn’t even contain egg. A mixture of seltzer, flavored syrup and cream, this NYC soda shop favorite was allegedly invented at Gem Spa in the East Village. Most egg creams will only set you back around $2 or so. 

Cheesecake

Originally invented by Greek immigrants, New Yorkers know that the cheesecake recipe was perfected right here in the Big Apple. A traditional New York-style cheesecake is a plain cheesecake that’s creamy — not crumbly — thanks the hefty amounts of cream cheese inside.

Martha’s Country Bakery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is consistently rated the best cheesecake in New York. The best part? A generous slice only costs about $6.

New York City may not have invented these iconic eats, but the city sure played a role in perfecting them. And despite being infamous for its rising prices, all of the items on this list are less than $10. Good food that won’t break the bank — what could be better than that?

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