Eat & Drink

12 Delicious Cheap Eats That’ll Make You Drop The 2020 Diet

Maybe you kicked off 2020 with the very best intentions. Cut sugar, only eat plants, skip out on Friday night drinks, exercise at 6am, etc. But you and I both know that best intentions can be exhausting.

Now March is here and we’ve bid adieu to summer, it’s time to live a little. Maybe break few (self-imposed) rules. That’s where this list of cheap eats comes in.

If you live in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane (or plan to travel interstate), here’s a few dishes you should try ASAP. Each option is delicious, satisfying and easily obtainable without a long-range booking or excessive fuss. Best of all, they’re affordable.

If nothing else, you can still feel smug about saving money.

Read on for 12 delicious cheap eats that won’t break the bank.

SYDNEY

Free fried chicken at Nakano Darling

…when you order a beer. The newly opened Nakano Darling in Sydney’s Darling Square is serving up free chicken karaage to anyone who buys a tap beer during Nakano Darling’s weekday happy hour.

From 5pm to 6pm Monday to Thursday, and 4pm to 6pm on Friday, you can choose between a heap of Japanese brews for $10 and get some free fried chicken with your order.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Nakano Darling (@nakanodarling) on

A literal plate of hummus at Shwarmama

There are only five things on the menu at Shwarmama (plus a sneaky dessert), but that doesn’t mean you’ll have an easy time deciding what to eat. While the NHSP (Not Halal Snack Pack) and the namesake Shawarma are both excellent choices, who could honestly go past the Hummus Plate?

$10 will get you a whole plate of the best food known to man with chickpeas, tahini, harissa and laffa bread to spoon it all up with.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by SHWARMAMA (@shwarmama) on

Dude food dumplings at Harajuku Gyoza

Harajuku Gyoza really do be out here making mac and cheese dumplings. We didn’t think it was possible to improve on dumplings until the restaurant launched these bad boys as part of the Sumo Dude Food range.

They’ve also got a pepperoni pizza gyoza and a Buffalo chicken wing gyoza, and they’re bringing back two of their most famous speciality dumplings, the cheeseburger gyoza and the super-stretchy mozzarella gyoza.

The restaurant has confirmed these are a limited time offer, but haven’t confirmed when they’ll be disappearing from the menu. That just means you’d better get in quick because these dumplings are here for a good time, not a long time.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Loretta (@wheresmy_dang_food) on

Rougamo at Biang Biang

There’s a good reason why Biang Biang keeps multiplying around Sydney. The Chinese noodle shop is delicious, affordable and unafraid of spice.

You’ll find its dreamy X’ian noodles at the original restaurant in Haymarket, plus outposts in Chatswood, Parramatta and the Sydney CBD.

For a hearty lunch you can get your hands around, try the rougamo. It’s a flaky sandwich of sorts with tender cumin beef or pork inside. I mean, just look at this thing of beauty.

MELBOURNE

Everything at the Garlic Bread Festival

We hope you’ve paid the appropriate attention to the existence of a Garlic Bread Festival in Melbourne.

The humble-yet-godly snack takes over the Welcome To Thornbury food truck park on Saturday, March 21. Yes, one day only.

The Garlic Bread Festival runs from 12pm until midnight. That’s 12 full hours to sample countless variations on the garlicky, oily wonder – plus cocktails too.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

The sun is making a comeback! Head in today for a tropical Sunday sesh in our truckyard. Open 12pm til late.

A post shared by Welcome To Thornbury (@welcometothornbury) on

Vego burger at Beer and Burger Bar

If you’re a crazy person with something to prove, by all means order The Don 2.0 at The Beer and Burger Bar in Richmond. Just know it weighs 3.5 kilos and could lay you out for days.

For the more conservative burger craving, go for the $14 Yes, I’m A Vego (key ingredient: blessed haloumi) or the $12 Classic Cheese Burger. As the name suggests, you’ll also find an array of beers on tap.

Pepperoni slice at Slice Shop

If you have no immediate plans to be drunk and craving pizza on a Manhattan street corner at 1am, can we suggest a local alternative?

Slice Shop in Footscray is all about the simple pleasure of a New York slice. The neon sign beckons you off the street for a late-night wedge of perfectly thin, cheesy pizza.

Try the New York Cheese, the Pepperoni or anything else that catches your eye.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Open from Tuesday to Sunday nights for all your pizza needs. #sliceshoppizza #sliceshop #pizza #pizzabytheslice #footscray #melbourne

A post shared by Slice Shop (@slice_shop_pizza) on

A bao feast at Wonderbao 

There are few things in life (yes, in life) as pleasing as a well-executed bao. And that’s exactly what you get at Wonderbao.

This intimate outpost delivers a bao fix for every taste. Try the traditional pork and chicken baos ($4.20 each) or branch out with fried chicken or fried silky tofu ($5.40 each). Even if you swerve in the direction of burgers and popcorn chicken, you can’t go wrong.

Students also get a $10 special on Mondays.

BRISBANE

Happy hour ramen at Hai Hai Ramen

Is there anything more satisfying than getting stuck in to a big, fragrant bowl of ramen?

The dreamy Japanese invention takes centre stage at Hai Hai Ramen in the foodie suburb of Paddington. Whether you’re a tonkotsu loyalist or a committed vegetarian, they’ve got a bowl for you.

However, the real wins are found between 5pm and 6pm on Mondays and Tuesdays. In that power hour, Hai Hai Ramen serves all its brothy creations for just 10 bucks. Just try to resist a side of karaage.

Charcoal chicken (and fries) at The Defiant Duck

The Defiant Duck sounds like a pub, but it does a lot more than pull beers.

For example, the Newstead destination has an express coffee window that opens at the very un-pubby hour of 6am to sling flat whites, bircher muesli and bacon-and-egg rolls.

Come nighttime, there’s always a food special to save you a few bucks. While we’d gladly go for their $5 burgers and hotdogs on Tuesdays, Thursdays present a healthier option: half a charcoal chicken for $10.

But hey, don’t deny yourself the side of fries.

$10 burgers at Red Hook

If you need a dose of New York escapism in your Brisbane reality, head for Red Hook. The laneway bar has served NYC-inspired street food since 2014, and they’ve got some great penny-pinching specials.

From 4pm every Monday, Red Hook serves up four signature burgers for just 10 bucks. Our picks: the Wu-Tang inspired Shaolin Soul, featuring crumbed chicken and miso mayo, and its vego counterpart, The RZA.

Who said Mondays were sad?

Tight Greek Tuesday at The Yiros Shop

With five locations around Brisbane, The Yiros Shop isn’t messing around. If you find yourself beset by an early-in-the-week hangover (hey, we don’t judge), you’ll want to hit up this $11.95 Tight Greek Tuesday deal.

That’s under 12 bucks for a fortifying yiros and a can of drink. You can choose chicken or pork, or level up $2 for lamb. If you’re vegetarian, a yiros with Cypriot haloumi (the best cheese?) costs $11 any day of the week, hangover or not.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A TRIPLE THREAT 😉🌯 Head into The Yiros Shop today for some delicious Greek eats!

A post shared by The Yiros Shop (@theyirosshop) on

(Lead Image: Biang Biang)