Downtown Lunch: Jury Duty Tripe (and More)

Every Friday we check in with Daniel Krieger for a column called “Downtown Lunch”. After all, why should we Midtowners have all the fun? Daniel’s column is a chance to make us jealous of what office workers are eating in the lower half of the island. This week, Daniel is home sick- so I’m taking over! Which works out, because this week I have jury duty… and despite reading Daniel’s column every Friday, nothing works better to create jealousy than spending two days “working” a few blocks away from Chinatown. (The photos won’t be as good, but the eatin’ was mighty fine.)


When I first posted about my jury duty, you guys came through with a ton of great recommendations near the courthouse (I was summoned to 111 Court Street.) Cheap sit down restaurants, great dim sum (my favorite), and bakeries (can’t forget the bakeries!) Some even suggested I go south, into the true heart of Downtown Lunch’ing. But naturally, the pull of Chinatown was just too much to resist, and in true Midtown Lunch fashion I shunned the close recommendations for something that required a few minutes of walking for a big time (and borderline scary) payoff. Tripe from a cart.

Jury Duty Lunch in Chinatown

Ever since I read Gordon Mark’s Guide to Chinatown Snacks on Serious Eats: New York, I have been craving some super cheap Chinatown street food. And although Daniel has done a great job covering Chinatown- he makes no secret of how grossed out he is by dirtiness… especially carts. To put it another way- ain’t no way the man is going to eat tripe from a cart. I on the other hand, see it as my duty. So, I trekked over to Grand Street, just east of Bowery- and found the recommended cart. The menu is entirely in Chinese, so it helps to look at the Serious Eats: New York translation and decide what you want in advance. They’ve got all sorts of offal goodies, but I was only there for one thing.

Jury Duty Lunch in Chinatown

A short walk up Bowery to park next to the basketball court, and I was tucking in to my tripe over rice noodle rolls. Topped with three kinds of sauces, you’ve got that sweet & savory mix, with a little bit of peanut sauce, hot sauce, and of course the unmistakable flavor and texture of beef stomach. I have avoided this stuff for a long time, and you may think getting it off a cart may not the best idea- but I’ve got to tell you, this stuff is freaking good. Stewed to a surprising tenderness, the flavor is good, and the price is right. $2.50. No joke. ($1.25 for the noodles, $1.25 for the tripe.) If only there was one of these in Midtown


My $2.50 order was pretty filling, and I could have easily called it a day- but as you know, I feel that a meal is dictated by the price, not the amount of food. $2.50 isn’t a lunch. So I headed a block north to another of Gordon’s recommendations that I had been eyeing for awhile. Roast pork over rice from Wah Fung. Another super cheap treat $2.50 buys you rice, a tiny bit of vegetables (don’t worry, it’s not that much) and some delicious roast pork.


Watching it get assembled may have been the best part. After scooping some rice into a small tin foil container, with a few string beans, the guy chops up some sweet, gooey, red roasted pork. I kind of thought, well, that’s not that much meat. I know it’s cheap, but come on. Oh but wait… there’s more. Back to the trough for another piece. Phew. That’s more like it. Now that’s a good bit a meat. Wait a second. What are you doing? Back again? More? Another piece? For me? Wha?!? How are you going to get the plastic top down over that- oh. Wow. That’s impressive. (“I’m bustin’ Jerry. Busting!”)


For $2.50. Some may think it’s too sweet (you may say the secret ingredient is the ladleful of sauce), but I thought it was just right. Some may think it’s too greasy (you may say the secret ingredient is the ladleful of grease), but I say- bring it on! Amazing. $5 and I was stuffed.


Of course not too stuffed to hit up Mei Lei Wah for a coconut bun on my way back to the courthouse. 80 cents and still warm. I think I could get used to it down here.

Steamed Food Cart w/ Tripe, Grand St. Just East of Bowery (North side of the street)

Wah Fung No 1. Fast Food, 79 Chrystie Street (btw. Grand and Hester)

Mei Lei Wah, 64 Bayard St. (nr. Elizabeth)



  • Speaking of Downtown, did anyone venture to San Gennaro for some Italian?

  • I totally meant to mention the San Gennaro festival in the post! I walked through, and I’m sure there’s some good eating in there- but sorry. $6 coffees is not my thing…

  • I maybe getting this all wrong, but isn’t tripe (tripas) = intestines not stomach? I mean, I have stomach all the time in my menudo, and at home I’ve had crispy fried tripas… just wondering.

  • Zach if you like tripe, I suggest you try Mondongo, if you haven’t already… a Spanish soup made with vegetables and chopped up tripe… Personally, it’s not my thing… but you’ll find most latin people eat a big bowl of this stuff with a small side of rice and a HEAVY nap after.

  • I was there last Friday (in the rain, but that meant no crowds) and had a mozzarepa, a spectacular sausage & pepper hero, and some zeppoles.

  • When I first saw “Jury Duty Tripe” I thought it was a typo and meant “Jury Duty Trip” But, no, you meant Tripe. Filipinos make tripe in a stew with peanut sauce called Kare Kare. It’s the only way I’ve eaten tripe.

  • Tripe is part of the stomach. I’ve only had two types of tripe: the honeycomb one (which is the one in the picture), and the one served with pho.

  • My favorite tripe in midtown-ish is from the crispy tripe tacos at Tehuitzingo.

  • Mamacita, tripe here is either white or black(actually dark brown) depending which stomach of the cow/bull it’s come from.

  • I think the feast is going to end this weekend, maybe I could be wrong, but they have lunch and prob dinner specials at the places on Mulberry. I had some good manacati for 8 and change, comes with bread only I know I know but it was really good and filling.

  • Yea for people who work on the B/D line in Midtown. You can totally make it to Wah Fung and be back in 45 minutes. The part that trips you up is that the line moves SLOW. There’s only one dude cutting up the meat and some people order like 5 at a time so it takes him a while. Factor this in if you make the trip.

    Done this many many times from Bryant Park to Grand St. so I know it can be done.

    And tripe is stomach. BTW Zach, if you want to try the Italian version, Al di La in Park Slope does an amazing version or they used to… it’s a change of pace from Asian renditions because of the butter.. and man, so good. Tripe can be so good!

  • Great post. For tripe, I used to enjoy the tripe soup at Teresa’s on 1st Ave. (EVil), but sadly it closed.

  • If we do dim sum, I totes love the tripe dish but rarely order it because for some reason no one in my family really likes it. (I like the brown w/sauce, radish?, and I think it has liver pieces in it I avoid, not the white one with scallions.) Yumm!
    BTW, Zach, though many many many Asian people will argue, I think the best cart for tripe is on … E. Pike? Err whatever that street is, it’s right outside HKS Supermarket on the “Fu Kien” side of Chinatown, I go there for the dried shrimp rice noodle rolls, sometimes with fish balls, ooh and htey have “curry squid” which is awesome too, and tripe, and … that’s my favorite cart in Chinatown :)

  • I tried to order tripe tacos last night at Tulcingo del Valle and they were all out. And at Tacos Nuevos Mexico by my house they hardly ever have it even when it’s on the specials menu. Why are restaurants always out of yummy tripa tacos?! I think I might have to switch to Chinese style tripe…

  • Owner of Wah Fung is the owner of the kart that used to be on Bowery and Hester. Best kart in Chinatown for many years. The ‘back’ (not really much room there) of Wah Fung still has the same menu items as that kart used to have, granted its now $1.50 and not $1. He’s still the best.

  • I’m glad you got to cover that stuff Zach because..uh yeah tripe ain’t my thang.

  • Tripe. From a cart. Is there no peril you won’t brave for us, Zach?

  • The formerly known as Mei Lai Wah is now known as Mei Li Wah. :o)

    Hey Zach, if you are still on jury duty, go try New Malaysia Restaurant. :o) So yummy!

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