This week I’m letting you in on the best (and cheapest) things I ate in Sydney.
I was visiting over Christmas 2016, and was at the beginning of a long backpacking trip; so being careful not to spend all my money. I was there for two weeks an whilst staying on-budget, I tried to get out to as many foodie hot spots as I could afford.
Sydney is an expensive city (£3 for one avocado?!) so all my ventures out were of the ‘cheap eats’ variety. Here’s my top five recommendations:
Magical, Mystery Dumplings
Eating out in Sydney was pretty delightful. It was the height of summer. The weather was scorching. Everybody was out. So many al-fresco dining options. The list of places to eat was endless. Armed with a copy of the Sydney Good Food Guide and my friend in tow who’s lived there for five years e hit the city. So naturally, our first stop was straight inside a dingy looking Chinese place for dumplings…
My friend kept calling this place ‘magic dumplings’, but I soon realised that’s not its name. It’s actually called ‘Chinese Noodle Restaurant’ and it’s here, in the middle of Sydney’s CBD (Central Business District) in Chinatown.
If there’s not green and red plastic grapes hanging from the ceiling, you’re in the wrong place:
It’s a very small eatery and packed full most lunchtimes, but it doesn’t take too long to get seated.
The lady who works in there is suitably passive-aggressive and will serve you hot tea as you sit down. There’s a window to the kitchen where you can see the old Chinese chef making noodles by hand.
We ordered egg and chives dumplings, soy marinated egg-plant (it’s a HUGE portion) and hot and sour dumpling soup (this one’s with pork dumplings). It was all ahhh-may-zing.
The cost? The bill was $30 between four of us, the equivalent of £4.5 for a huge meal and drinks. It doesn’t get cheaper than that! Especially in Sydney!
Belles Hot Chicken
Well, this place is pretty sexy. Next up was a visit to the newly built food district in the Barangaroo area of the city for some HOT CHICKEN.
Belles was new when I visited, and was packed with people all sitting out on the gorgeous terrace overlooking the harbour. I was accompanied by my BFF (best food friend) TJ Harrop – a foodie as gluttonous as I, so naturally we ordered half the menu to match our eager appetites.
All in all the bill was around $30 each (£17) including all sides and alcoholic beverages (they make a mean G&T too). My favourite part? The spice-o-meter ranges from ‘southern’ to ‘medium’ to ‘really f**kin hot’ and it is not for the fainthearted ❤️
Do I have laksa all over my face?
Soon realising the Asian food offering in Sydney is nothing short of excellent, I was hungry for more. Next stop; I headed to Malay Chinese Laksa on Hunter St just down the road from Wynyard Station.
I’d read a lot about laksa before my trip and was sure I’d eat loads of it in Southeast Asia. Turns out, they don’t serve it much, so I’m glad I got my fix at this no-frills eatery in the heart of Sydney.
These guys serve an impressive 14 varieties of laksa, and I arrived just as they were about to close, but they seemed surprised to see a Westerner coming it so late in the day for a laksa fix (they close at 8pm).
They let me choose a laksa and cleaned and packed away around me as I ate, asking me endless questions about where I was from and what I was doing in Sydney. They were a really nice Malay-Chinese family, and I’m glad I got to meet them. The broth was insanely tasty and the king prawns were huge and juicy.
And the best thing about it? It’s all already ready, some of the best ‘fast food’ I’ve ever eaten. And for $14 (£8) it’s a huge bowl of affordable goodness!!!
The ‘Trufflenator’ needs no other intro
I mean, just LOOK AT IT:
Served up at Dee Why Hotel, just a short bus trip out-of-town (heading towards the northern beaches) this bad boy is honestly worth the trip.
It consists of a DOUBLE waygu beef pattie, truffle mayo, truffle butter, truffle infused havarti cheese, truffle maple syrup, bacon, American cheddar, onion ring and a milk bun. WOWZERS.
All for $20 (£11), and trust me, it keeps you full ALL DAY LONG. If you want to make it even more of a cheap eat, be sure to join The Fatties Burger Appreciation Society on Facebook to qualify for free fries too.
They also serve amazing tacos, pizzas, jalapeño poppers and wings, if you’re interested:
The Hold, Manly
For all the carnivores out there, there’s an increasing number of strictly plant-based peeps too. Some of Sydney’s BEST cheap-eats cater to the vegan and veggie diet so well.
Top of the list thought is The Hold, in Manly. Epic cauliflower cheese, mac and cheese and huge burgers – all VEGAN! Meat options are available too, but this place really makes those who prefer a plant-powered diet feel right at home.
A vegan burger and fries is $20 (£11), and sides like the mac and cheese are $11 (£6.5) and are perfect for sharing or as a lighter main. BARGAIN!