Chinatown Cheap Eats

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[caption id="attachment_727" align="alignleft" width="198" caption="One of the many gates in LA's Chinatown"]One of the many gates in LA's Chinatown[/caption] So let’s face it, we’re in a recession. That doesn’t mean we have to eat poorly. Yesterday I decided to drive a few miles down the road to my local Chinatown and check out the grocery specials there. I was amazed at what I found.

Picking out a grocery store, I started in the dry goods section, looking at noodles, rices, and grains. I opted for noodles, and picked out a large package of rice noodles for $1.09. I then proceeded to vegetables, grabbing a pack of 5 garlic bulbs for .49 and a bunch of scallions for .50 as well as a small head of broccoli for .69. In the canned foods section I selected straw hat mushrooms, a small can putting me back .75. With $1.48 to go until I hit a total of $5, I entered the sauce section and picked out a bottle of chili garlic sauce, my most expensive purchase at $1.50, breaking the bank by .02. After taxes I’d surpassed my limit by a few coins. But here’s the thing: the ingredients I bought created enough food for dinner yesterday and today.

Here’s the recipe for what I did once I got my goodies home:

Mince garlic and green onions and sauté in whatever cooking oil is available. (I don’t count cooking oil as an ingredient which must be bought specifically for this meal and therefore it doesn’t count towards the $5 total.) Chop broccoli into florets and add to the pan. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add rice noodles. Cover and turn off the heat. (Rice noodles don’t need much cooking to become soft.) Add straw hat mushrooms and stir in as much sauce as you desire. (I like my stir-fry spicy!) Drain noodles and add to stir-fry pan. Toss noodles, vegetables, and sauce together until well mixed, and serve.

Voila! Two meals for $2.50 each.