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$20 a Day in Downtown's Grand Central Market: Pupusa, Burger, and Wonton Soup

Grand eating in LA's celebrated food hall.

China Cafe, Grand Central Market, Downtown
China Cafe, Grand Central Market, Downtown
Stan Lee

One in a many-part series about eating on a strict $20 budget around Los Angeles for Cheap Eats Week. Next up, Eater LA's video man and photographer Stan Lee drops by Downtown's Grand Central Market throughout the day.

An Andrew Jackson goes a long way at Grand Central Market. It's effortless to eat well for $20 at this historic downtown landmark. It makes the "challenge" seem more like a "simple task." The variety of affordable food vendors is GCM's biggest appeal; I picked out three food stands to demonstrate just that.

Here's one way of many ways to do GCM for under $20:

Breakfast: Bean, cheese, and pork pupusa from Sarita's Pupuseria | cost = $3.54 | $16.46 remaining

Salvadoran pupusas at Sarita’s Pupuseria

Time: 9 a.m.

Hunger level: 5 (10 being most hungry, 1 being fully satiated)

I was glad to learn that this traditional Salvadoran dish was cheaper than a cold press juice from Press Brothers Juicery (which is also in GCM). Make sure to get that hot sauce on there for maximum flavor and some heat.

Lunch: Fast Burger from Belcampo Meats | cost = $8 | $8.46 remaining

Fast Burger Belcampo

Time: 12:30 p.m.

Hunger level: 2 (10 being most hungry, 1 being fully satiated)

The fast burger buns might appear meager, but don't let that fool you. They do their job holding the grass-fed patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onions. Add bacon for another $2.50 if you want to be a baller.

Dinner: Wonton soup from China Cafe | cost = $6.75 | $1.71 remaining

China Cafe Wonton Soup Stan Lee

Time: 5:00 p.m.

Hunger level: 2 (10 being most hungry, 1 being fully satiated)

What's in the wonton soup? BBQ pork, shrimp, chicken, scallions, boiled egg and big-o-wontons. For $6.75, who the hell cares where they source their ingredients!

Total expenditures: $18.29

Grand Central Market

317 South Broadway, , CA 90013 (213) 359-6007 Visit Website