In New York -- though the most authentic and probably best Asian food really shows up in Flushing, Queens -- Manhattan's ever growing Chinatown offers plenty of great cheap choices if you know where to look. Over my days in New York I walk the streets looking for those out of the way or sometimes known dive spots known for food not frills.
I actually go out of my way to find Taste of Northern China. I knew that the "restaurant's " name is not on their sign and that the entrance is not on the street with the their address, I still walked by it several times.
Barely a building -- more a vinyl tent attached to an open collection of appliances one might generously call a kitchen, Taste of Northern China has garnered a stellar reputation among eaters willing to saunter past the storage shed and grocery back room atmosphere to order at the tiny perch by the cash register.