The average UK student lives on a diet of spag bol, jacket potatoes, frozen pizzas, stir fry dishes and beans on toast. Other favourites include curry, microwave ready meals, pesto pasta, lasagne, spaghetti carbonara and noodles. These meals are quick, affordable and easy to make, but shouldn’t your diet include more?
In Sydney, dining as a student on a budget doesn’t have to mean making meals out of staples at home. There are a ton of options for cheap eats, meaning your diet can be varied and interesting.
First up, let’s look at the plethora of cheap finds just a stone’s throw from Lonsdale Institute. You’ve got:
Haymarket, NSW 2000
Head to Chinatown for a filling feed that won’t set you back more than $10. Chinese Noodle Restaurant (8 Quay St) offers 12 giant pork and chive dumplings for $9.80, while Ho’s Dim Sum Kitchen (429a Pitt St) lets you fill a bag of buns and dumplings for well under $10!
250 Pitt St, NSW 2000
Known for its humongous sandwiches and daily specials, every sandwich is less than $10 and fillings include rare roasted fillet of beef, chicken schnitzel and roasted vegetables. These sandwiches are enormous and incredibly delicious – talk about value for money!
129-129A Cathedral St, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
A breakfast and lunch winner that serves up classic bagels like Bagels with cream cheese ($6.50) through to Smoked Wagyu bagels with harissa mayonnaise, house made fermented cabbage, dukkah and coriander ($13.00). Vegetarians will love the mushroom bagel with pepe saya cream cheese, pickled mushroom and fried sage ($11) and dessert lovers can drool over a rhubarb or lemon bagel, cream cheese, lemon curd and meringue.
4. Banh Mi Co
76 Harris St, Pyrmont NSW 2009
Banh Mi Co has what can only be described as a cult following. The pork roll ($7) and grilled beef rolls ($8.50) are epic, and be sure to ask for extra pate. The prices are slightly higher than Sydney Pork Rolls (627 George St) but the extra couple of dollars and the stroll over to Pyrmont is worth it.
580 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
Alice’s Makan is not your average Malaysian eatery. Packed with flavour and vintage love, it’s one of Sydney’s best ‘bang for buck’ hotspots. The menu offers the best of both worlds: tasty hawker food you’d find on the streets of Malaysia and mouth-watering cakes and desserts (Alice’s signature craft). Go for a spicy Nasi Goreng for $12.50 and finish with something sweet.
6. Sea Bay
372 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
A CBD go-to-dinner staple for when you want to catch up with friends and BYO for free. The fried pumpkin dumplings are amazing, as is the stir fried pepper pork. Be prepared for it to be busy though.
7. Mr Crackles
155 Oxford St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
This takeaway-only joint offers delectable cups of crackling, pork belly and chicken katsu rolls, salads, hot dogs and sides. Everything is melt-in-your mouth delicious and prices start at $9.
The Galeries, 500 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
A CBD lunch staple – rated one of the top laksa establishments in Sydney, the queues for lunch form early, but you will find true Malaysian flavours and the freshest of ingredients at low prices. A classic laksa will set you back $11.
Other awesome finds around Sydney include:
9. Ze Pickle
6/17-51 Foveaux St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Ze Pickle the place to go for killer burgers, quality craft beer and good tunes. The Chee-ze is a classic, serving up a pressed wagyu beef patty, maple bacon, fried onion straws, zp sauce and jack cheese ($16) while the Pecan Wood Smoked Brisket ($18) will have you coming back time and time again. If you’re looking for something a little different, why not go for a Doughnutfukwitdis ($18), a hand pressed wagyu beef patty, nutella smoked bacon, double jack cheese between a grilled glazed doughnut?
10. Gozleme King
Gozleme King offers Turkish street food made-to-order to achieve a fresh, high quality customer experience. Savoury gozlemes range from $9 to $13, while sweet gozlemes will set you back $7.
11. Faheem Fast Food
194-196 Enmore Rd, Enmore NSW 2042
It might not offer the best decor or fit-out, but Faheem Fast Food is an Indian and Pakistani institution. It offers food late into the night (last serve is 12am), 11 different vegetarian options and everything on the menu will set you back less than $20. The lamb biryani is a favourite, as is the black lentil dal makhani ($12).
12. Alex Lee Kitchen
Spice Alley, Chippendale NSW 2008
Serving up an array of flavourful and authentic Singaporean dishes, acclaimed Singaporean chef Alex Lee brings a unique twist to Sydney’s Asian food scene with Alex Lee Kitchen. Favourites include his Chatterbox Chicken and Beef Rendang with Roti, both $14.00.
8/50 Burns Bay Rd, Lane Cove NSW 2066
Sharing its love for food, patisserie and coffee, La Provence Espresso Bar puts a smile on your face with its delicious food and low prices. Choose from tasty tartines ($8), pressed pork sliders ($6), pumpkin, zucchini and kale frittata with creme fraiche and onion jam ($8) or an Asian chicken salad ($15).
14. El Jannah
El Jannah can be found in Granville, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Penrith and Punchbowl and offers rotisserie cooking at its best. $11.50 will net you half a chicken, a pile of pickles, and a little bag of soft Lebanese bread with enough garlic sauce to scare away even the clingiest of Tinder dates.
15. Koa Kitchen
24 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008
Koa Kitchen is fast, hot, spicy, and your doorway into Korea. Take a seat under the bobbing red lanterns of Spice Alley and tuck into fried dumplings ($2.50), Korean vegetable pancakes ($4), spring rolls ($5) and Korean Fried Chicken ($11.90 for a large).
331 Darling St, Balmain NSW 2041
Tracey and Henry, the owners of PhoXpress Food House, put serious emphasis on freshness, honesty, nutrition, produce and hygiene. The aroma, the culture, the funky surround and the people is embraced and displayed with gusto. Their pho’s ($15) are cooked in 16 hour broth in a blend of herbs and their rolls are stuffed with tasty goodness (3 for $10). Tuck into a salad (from $13.50) and with every bite you’ll feel yourself getting healthier.
Who ever said that students can’t eat well on a budget? Next time you’re waiting for a pay check to come through head to one of these Sydney establishments for a deliciously cheap meal!