Slippery, bouncy, spaghetti-like noodles. Caramelised ground pork with pickled mustard greens. Verdant just-blanched bok choy. And a vibrant, fiery and savoury broth spiked with five-spice powder, Sichuan pepper and chilli. We’re currently demolishing a bowl of Dan Dan noodles, a classic Chinese dish originating from the Sichuan province. It’s a heart-warming flavour bomb in a bowl. And the best part? It costs just $5.90. Yeah, we can’t believe it either.
Sydney is a lot of things. Drop dead gorgeous, safe, clean – though cheap, it ain’t. And while our core purpose here at Time Out Sydney is to encourage you to get off the couch and go experience the very best of the city, it would be remiss of us to not acknowledge that eating out can also be exy. If only money grew on trees.
The Very Good News is that alongside our fine diners and relaxed restaurants, we also have an abundance of excellent cheap eats here in Sydney. Ones that serve up delicious food that rival those found in the fancy spots.
This year we fell in love with a brilliant Korean hole-in-wall that doesn’t have a website or phone number (Instagram? Forget about it), serving up huge meals for under $20. We slurped our way around a bowl of spicy Sichuan-spiked noodles that cost $5.90. And warmed our souls with a fiery bowl of laksa that set us back around $15. And the best bit? It’s been some of the tastiest food we’ve eaten this year.
When deciding on our nominees for the Best Cheap category for 2023, we were looking for ‘wow’ factor, of course and, it goes without saying, value for money. But we were also looking for eateries with a story to tell, places that take you on a journey, and ones where you connect to the people behind the shop, as well as what you’re eating.
While we’re here, we understand ‘cheap eat’ is subjective, and what may be considered cheap to one person may not be to the next. For this category, we’re talking about a place where two people can eat well together for under $50.
So, what are you waiting for?