Go a little too hard holiday shopping this year?
Here are five fabulous picks for affordable eats under $8. Prices are subject to change.
China Pasta House
430 N. Park Ave.
Shrimp Dumplings and Pork Steamed Buns (soup dumplings) at China Pasta House (Credit: Jackie Tran)
Not only do many of China Pasta House’s meals hover around $7.99, some don’t even break a dollar. You can even order a variety of appetizers à la carte without reaching $8.
Considering how much of the menu is house-made, including the noodles, China Pasta House just might be the best bang-for-your-buck in Tucson. Some of the dishes aren’t translated clearly, so here’s a little guidance for some of our favorites below.
- A14 Tea-Stewed Egg ($0.50) – egg boiled in black tea and special seasonings
- A1 Preserved Egg & Pork Gruel ($1.50) -minced salted preserved duck egg and roast pork in a rice porridge
- A6 Sweetened Bean Paste Buns ($1.50) – house-made steam buns, also known as bao, stuffed with sweet bean paste.
- A4 Pork Steamed Buns ($5.25) – 10 house-made pork and cabbage soup dumplings
- D6 Tomato & Egg Noodles ($6.49) – house-made noodles in a tomato and egg broth
- D12 Sauerkraut Shredded Pork Soup Noodles ($6.99) – house-made noodles in a pork broth, topped with pork and Chinese fermented cabbage
- B5 Leek & Pork Dumplings ($7.50 for 15) – house-made dumplings stuffed with leek and pork
- F2 Braised Pork Rice ($7.99) – cubes of pork braised in a star anise-spiced sweet soy sauce, served with white rice
For more information, call (520) 623-3334 or visit chinapastahousetucson.com.
Guilin Chinese Restaurant
4445 E. Broadway Blvd.
Mongolian Chicken special at Guilin Chinese Restaurant (Photo courtesy of Guilin Chinese Restaurant)
From open to 3 p.m. daily, Guilin offers a lunch special from $5.99 to $6.99 with a wider range of options than most Chinese restaurants in town. Not only is it actually good, but it also includes plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
The specials include:
- Hot & sour soup or egg drop soup (50¢ extra for take-out)
- Egg roll or crab puffs
- Fried rice, white rice, or brown rice
Lunch Special Menu Highlights
- Garlic Chicken ($5.99)
- Chicken with Black Bean Sauce ($5.99)
- Twice Cooked Pork ($5.99)
- Black Mushrooms with Snow Peas ($5.99)
- Szechuan-Style Tofu ($5.99)
- Kung Pao Shrimp ($6.99)
- Curry Vegi. Chicken ($6.99)
For more information, call (520) 320-7768 or visit guilintucson.com.
5602 E. 22nd St.
While tacos are hardly ever over $8 each, El Sur features a wide range of other hearty entrées under $8 with beans, rice, and tortillas.
- Huevos Rancheros ($6.99)
- 2 Chicken Enchiladas with Green Salsa ($6.99)
- Bistec Ranchero ($6.99)
- 3 Shrimp or Fish Soft Taquitos ($6.99)
- Pork Chop ($6.99)
- Chicken Mole ($6.99)
- 2 Chiles Rellenos Topped with Enchilada Salsa ($7.99)
- Chuck Steak (bone-in) ($7.99)
For more information, call (520) 748-1032 or visit elsurrestaurant.com.
600 N. Fourth Ave.
Bean and Rice Bowl at TallBoys (Credit: Jackie Tran)
While most of TallBoys’ menu hovers around the $10 range, one item deserves a special shout-out.
The Bean and Rice Bowl ($7) features a generous portion of beans, rice, cheese, veggies, avocado, chipotle crema, pico, pickled onions, green onions, and cilantro.
For more information, call (520) 999-8269 or visit tallboysaf.com.
Vina Vietnamese Street Food
4230 N. Oracle Rd.
Banh Mi Sandwich at Vina Vietnamese Street Food (Credit: Jackie Tran)
Vina lives up to the street food section of its name with a wide variety of menu options under $8. While the pho and chef’s specials are a barely over $8, the rest of the menu is under $8.
You can even build your own bowl in a Vietnamese fashion for $7.95; try it with rice vermicelli, lemongrass grilled chicken, and Vietnamese greens.
- Shrimp Summer Roll ($4 for 2) – rice paper roll with shrimp, rice noodles, greens
- Lemongrass Chicken Skewers ($4.95 for 3)
- Spicy Fish Sauce Wings ($5.50 for 5)
- Spicy Crispy Salad ($5.95) – crispy rolls, greens, rice noodles, nuoc cham
- Classic Banh Mi ($6.50) – chicken pate, steamed red pork, Vietnamese ham, head cheese, cucumber, carrot, daikon, jalapeño
For more information, call (520) 270-7779 or visit vina-vietnamese-street-food.business.site.