Cheap Eats: Authentic Ethnic

After loads of date-worthy destinations and small perfections, our March “Cheap Eats” cover story continues with what I like to call Authentic Ethnic:

Punch Neapolitan Pizza
Margherita pizza, $5.95
While it’s always satisfying to get Punch’s most expensive pizzas—the ones loaded up with premium imported ingredients—it’s also worthwhile to remember that the cheapest pizzas, like the $5.95 Margherita, offer sublime, transporting flavor for the price of a single glass of wine at a fancy Italian place.
☛ Various metro locations,

La Loma
“The Oaxaqueno,” $3.20
Tamales are the ultimate hunger-killer, the steamed cornmeal dough and spicy center uniting to satisfy both the flavor-seeking side of appetite and the fill-me-up side. The Oaxaqueno, in which on-the-bone country pork ribs in a red-chili sauce are overloaded into a banana leaf, is everything to love about a tamale, cubed: Bigger, meatier, spicier, more intense, and even more craveable.
☛ 1515 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-728-5430,

Tea House
Dan-Dan noodles, $5.95
The Sichuan equivalent of a perfect pizza crust, these wheaty, plain, and cold noodles, with their topping of pork-chili sauce, are transcendently good in the way that only very simple, well-done dishes can be.
☛ 88 Nathan Ln., Plymouth, 763-544-3422,

For more Authentic Ethnic favorites, see “Cheap Eats.”