Surf on over to Chowhound.com for this great board thread on cheap eats in Birmingham. "Dax," a new transplant to the Magic City, notes, "While I love to dine at Icon, Gianmarco's, etc. as much as the next 'hound, sometimes such destinations fall outside of my budget.... While I hate to specify cheap, what are your favorite take-out or eat in dishes for say under ~ $7ish? For example, the bahn mi at Que Huong, the carnitas taco at Cantina.."
The suggestions are almost guaranteed to make your mouth water, including Crawfish pie (served only at lunch on Fridays) at O.T.'s, a pesto wrap with turkey at BottleTree, the carnitas at Habaneros (behind John's City Diner on Gadsden Hwy), bacon fried rice and egg rolls at Chop Suey Inn on Green Springs, the gyro at Costa's on Lorna Road, Surin's chicken noodle bowl, wings at On Top Sports Grill, and more. The discussion veers off a bit into the authenticity of ethnic foods in the area, but that's interesting, too.