Ginger, 212 Queen West, at duncan, 416-977-8778
For the first time in nearly 20 years, we've had to bump up our cheap eats champ from five to six bucks. Sure, credit-crunch lunches are still doable for a fiver - a couple of Saigon subs from Rose Café on Broadview, the $3.75 barbecued pork fried rice at Kom Jug Yuen on Spadina - but none pack the nutritional punch of the $6 veggie combo at the latest outpost of this popular pan-Asian eatery. Here's what you get: a Thai-style bed of wide linguini-like rice stick topped with a stir-fry of grease-free deep-fried tofu and astoundingly al dente veg - carrot, zucchini, water chestnut, green beans - in lemongrass, as well as a salad of slivered napa cabbage, carrot thread and bean sprouts in a light citrus vinaigrette. Finished with lime wedges, a splash of potent Sriracha hot sauce and a sprig of fresh cilantro, the combo deserves a permanent place on all of the family-run chain's menus.