Kim's Fried Pickles

A 6-ounce basket of fried pickles at Ms. Kim's Fish and Chicken Shack is only $1.99. Upgrade to a pint of fried pickles for only $4.99. 

Saving money is nice; nobody’s debating that. But sometimes you just need a night out. From Southern comfort food to Chinese cuisine, Columbia is full of eclectic eats on the cheap. These eight restaurants will keep your wallet and stomach full.

North

Ms. Kim’s Fish and Chicken Shack — Southern comfort

Ms. Kim’s Fish and Chicken Shack features meals perfect for one or a family at an affordable price. The restaurant offers everything from catfish to frog legs, and there are also discounted family meals and combo options. A family of four can feast on a Chicken Coop, which includes 12- to 20-piece chicken meals with three to five sides and eight to 16 hush puppies, for just $29.99.

Carlito's Cabo — Peruvian-Mexican

If you want some traditional Peruvian-Mexican food, Carlito's Cabo, known by Columbians for their carnitas tacos piled high with cilantro and onions, is the place to go. The menu has tostadas, quesadillas, tacos and eight different burritos for less than $10.

South

Peking Restaurant — Cantonese

Peking Restaurant is an inexpensive option for your Asian food fix. All of its pork and chicken dishes are less than $10, while other full meals range from $10 to $12. Peking also has a daily lunch special from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The quest for the best crab rangoon in Columbia: Peking Restaurant

Peking Restaurant offers a 4-piece crab rangoon appetizer for only $3.25. All 25 main dishes come with an egg roll, fried rice and soup. 

Mad Cow — American

Fresh patties, cheap prices and fast service; Mad Cow is all about that. Its large burgers ($5.79) have two quarter-pound beef patties while regular burgers feature one. 

East

China Chef — Chinese

With a menu that features more than 200 items, a handful of which cost less than $10, China Chef has one of the most expansive menus around town. The lunch options are only $5.50, and although the restaurant doesn’t deliver, you can get takeout.

Med Mex Cafe — Mediterranean/Mexican

If you can't decide between Mexican and Mediterranean, here's a place you can get both in one stop. Med Mex Cafe gives you bang for your buck with most entrees costing $5 to $8. The restaurant features traditional Mexican favorites such as tacos, burritos, beans and rice, as well as Greek gyros.

West

Smokin’ Chick’s BBQ — Barbecue

With nine sandwiches that come in regular and large sizes, you can get more than half-pound of barbecue with two sides for $12.99. Five of the large sandwiches cost less than $10. 

G&D Pizzaria — Pizza and steak

This pizza spot might not be as famous as some of its local competitors, but the combination steakhouse-pizzeria provides you myriad options on the cheap. G&D’s lunch specials include a hamburger and fries for less than $5, pizza slices for less than $3 and a prime rib sandwich for less than $10. 

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