4 December, 2022, 05:49

5 Fabulous Cheap Eats Under $8 in Tucson, Volume 5

Affordable eats that don't burn a hole in your pocket.

Although summer vacation is a thing of the past, your budget might still be hurting.

Here are five fabulous picks for cheap eats for $8 or less. Prices are subject to change.

Fried Rice Hut

1655 S. Alvernon Way

Chicken wing fried rice combo, dumplings, and egg roll at Fried Rice Hut (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Even though Fried Rice Hut’s prices have changed since we wrote about them in June, they’re still one of Tucson’s most affordable restaurants.

Most of the fried rices range from $6.99 to $7.99, while an eight-piece order of tempura costs only $5.99. A pound of chicken wings costs $7.99.

Read our June 2019 article Fried Rice Hut cooks up eccentric Asian for under $9.

For more information, visit friedricehut.com.

Jewel’s Noodle Kitchen

5683 E. Speedway Blvd.
Dumplings at Jewel's Noodle Kitchen

Dumplings at Jewel’s Noodle Kitchen (Credit: Jenn Teufel Schoenberger)

Jewel’s features a variety of dishes right at the $7.99 cusp. Come with a group and order a few different types of pork or beef dumplings along with cold dishes such as cold shredded potato salad or cold black fungus salad (it tastes much better than it sounds).

Read our September 2019 article Jewel’s Noodle Kitchen showcases Chinese noodles, dumplings & pie.

Selena’s Salvadorian Restaurant

2513 N. Campbell Ave.
Pupusa Regular at Selena's Salvadorian Food

Pupusa Regular at Selena’s Salvadorian Food (Credit: Jackie Tran)

A pupusa is a corn flatbread about the thickness of your finger. In El Salvador, they are stuffed with ingredients such as cheese, loroco buds, beans, and chicharrón (pork). They are topped with a lightly fermented slaw (curtido) and a spicy tomato salsa.

Pupusas are barely pricier than tacos, but significantly more filling. Don’t miss out on the rest of Selena’s inexpensive menu.

  • Regular Pupusa ($3.75 regular, $6.99 grande) – refried pinto beans, mozzarella cheese mix, chicharrones
  • Vegan Pupusa ($3.75 regular, $6.99 grande) – refried pinto beans, spinach mix
  • Pupusa Deluxe ($7.50 grande) – refried pinto beans, mozzarella cheese mix, spinach mix, chicharrones, chipotle chicken
  • Vegan Tamale ($3) – stuffed with spinach spring mix, diced potatoes, diced carrots, refried pinto beans; wrapped in plantain leaves
  • Yuca con Chicharrón ($4.99) – topped with curtido and salsa
  • Panes Rellenos ($6.99) – toasted bolillo roll stuffed with chicken marinated in chile guajillo, chile morita, tomatoes, onion, sesame seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, thyme, cinnamon, garlic; with mayo, mustard, cucumbers, radish, tomatoes, curtido
  • Pastelitos Salvadorenos ($4.99 for 3, $7.99 for 5) – crispy empanadas stuffed with ground beef, potatoes, onions, carrots, red bell pepper, garlic
  • El Poco Loco ($7.99) – chicken bowl layered with brown rice, potatoes, carrots, grilled green chili, curtido

Read our September 2019 article Selena’s brings Salvadorian food to former Desert Island Eatery space.

Keep up with Selena’s Salvadorian Restaurant on Facebook.

Tohono O’odham Swap Meet

5721 S. Westover Ave.
Costilla, Birria, Chicharrón en Salsa Roja, Chile Rojo, and Tripitas Tacos at El Taco Rustico at the Tohono O'odham Swap Meet

Costilla, Birria, Chicharrón en Salsa Roja, Chile Rojo, and Tripitas Tacos at El Taco Rustico at the Tohono O’odham Swap Meet (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The Tohono O’odham Swap Meet is a dream come true for the budgeting foodie. I even wrote a 2,000-word article about it.

To put it simply, you can fill up on world-class tacos for $1.50 each.

Read our September 2019 article The Tohono O’odham Swap Meet is Tucson’s secret taco heaven.

Wings & Rice

5502 E. Pima St., Ste. 110

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The Hibachi Fried Rice at Wings & Rice features a secret Japanese white sauce that earned a cult following over the past several years. From 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, order it basic or with chicken, beef, or shrimp for $7.50.

From the daily Value Menu, The $5.75 snack meal comes with three wings or two chicken strips along with a side of small fries, small fried rice or side salad. Choose the fried rice.

Read our April 2017 article #WeeklyDish (No. 8): Five Wing Combo from Wings & Rice.

For more information, visit wingsandrice.com.

To see additional affordable eating options, read:

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.