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This $1.25 Breakfast Sandwich Is a Tasty, Minimalist Marvel

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A continuing series exploring this favorite New York City food

A thin piece of omelet with one slice of ham on a round roll at Harpers Bread House
This may be the cheapest version of the New York breakfast sandwich that’s ever been.

No edible item is more New Yorky than the breakfast sandwich, made with egg, American cheese, and bacon, sausage, or boiled ham on a kaiser roll — available at nearly every deli and bodega. But this cherished sandwich has been modified by time and contemporary preferences, and now variations can be found, or created. Appearing every Wednesday for the rest of summer and into the fall, this breakfast sandwich hack column will ferret out those wayward modifications.

Ham & Egg

Given the universal admiration for the classic New York breakfast sandwich, it was inevitable that other institutions besides delis and bodegas would start to make them, especially those sorts of places that were open early hours already. Thus it was that the sandwich became a regular offering of the city’s Chinese bakeries, but in reconfigured form. One payoff was that these new versions were considerably cheaper, while retaining many of the ingredients.

In the midst of Greater Chinatown on the traditional Lower East Side, Harper’s Bread House specializes in dan tat (egg custard tarts) and onigiri (Japanese rice balls). A range of premade sandwiches includes “ham and egg,” a submarine-shaped roll made on the premises, with a porous slice of omelet plopped down on it, and on top of that a simple slice of ham.

It’s like the classic breakfast sandwich was reconceived by a minimalist artist, and all the flavors are there in pure form, without cheese. The cost is mind-bogglingly cheap: $1.25. Buy an extra for a friend. 271 Grand St., at Forsyth Street, Lower East Side

Colorful signs line the windows at the entrance to Harper’s Bread House
Harper’s Bread House

Harper's Bread House Inc.

275 Grand St, New York, NY 10002