Destinations With the Tastiest Cheap Eats

Destinations With the Tastiest Cheap Eats

BY Lianne Frith ON

Wherever you’re headed on your next vacation, you’re probably looking forward to some delicious, unfamiliar food. The great news is that scrumptious food doesn’t have to come at an outlandish price. In fact, you’ll probably be surprised at some of the destinations where you’ll stumble across delicious dishes that don’t break the bank. Eating out at swanky restaurants is never going to be cheap, but in almost every destination there are tasty bargains to be found elsewhere. Many places have become famous for their cheap and delectable food. We’ve picked out some of the places offering the tastiest cheap eats you can find.


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Indonesia’s long history as a spice-fueled continent is the key behind its gastronomic success. Every dish is based on fresh spices and herbs, and even the incredibly cheap street food is bursting with flavor. Local ingredients are fused with traditional cooking styles, and tasty bowls are whipped up in no time right in front of your eyes. Head to a mobile stall or night market for a filling plate of nasi goreng, fried rice mixed with shreds of meat and vegetables and topped with a fried egg. Or pick up a rice frittata, served up on a piece of paper. The frittata, known as kerak telor, is made by frying a small amount of rice with shallots, shrimp and grated coconut and then mixing in egg. You’ll certainly have enough money to try all the tasty cheap eats in Indonesia, but with so many on offer, you may run out of time.

South Africa

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The food in South Africa is a mouth-watering blend of indigenous traditions with Dutch, French and Indian influences. The vibrant cuisine that results is sure to give your tummy a treat. If you have a sweet tooth, then you’ll love the sticky cheap eats on offer. You won’t be able to visit a bakery without finding koeksister, fried dough infused with syrup, famous for being super tasty and super affordable. Or try a slice of melktert, a pastry tart filled with a creamy mix of milk, flour, sugar and eggs. When you are craving savory you’re in luck too, bunny chow not only has a cute name but is full of flavor. The sugar-bean curry is known as a bargain lunch option and since it's served in hollowed-out bread, it’s a waste-free meal to go.


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This may not be a country that you immediately associate with bargain food, but don’t be too hasty. What could be a better antidote in the gray and dreary winter months than a piping hot portion of fish and chips? Fish and chips used to be the staple meal of the working class and can still be found in every town across the country. Sure to leave you full and satisfied, fish and chips may not be the healthiest of cheap eats, but it certainly hits the spot. Fish and chips isn’t where it ends though, especially if you’re in London, where there are lots of tasty morsels to choose from. When you spot the busy bakeries serving up freshly made bagels packed to bursting point with delicious salt beef, you’ll be more than happy to wait in line.


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Authentic Mexican food is colorful, delicious and easy-going on the wallet. In a country where food is a fun experience, it would be a shame to let pricey plates get in the way. Fortunately, many of the fresh ingredients used, such as tomatoes, coriander, avocado and corn, are readily available. You’ll struggle to walk more than a few meters without encountering a freshly-made food stall. Tacos and tamales are filled to the brim with steaming meat, cheese and chillies, you may burn your mouth but never a hole in your wallet. Try tacos de canasta for the cheapest option of all. They are made inside a large container, commonly a plastic trash can. Street vendors make them at home and the can then keeps them warm. Dirt cheap yet amazingly tasty.


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At times, there are few things more satisfying than a slice of cheesy pizza piled high with your favorite toppings. Although pizza is a cheap eat that you can find almost anywhere, no place does it better than Italy (sorry, New York). In fact, the flavor you can get from a simple margherita often makes extra toppings unnecessary, making it even more of a bargain. If there is such a thing as getting fed up with beautifully crisp dough, then Italy has more tasty eats up its sleeve. Arancini, rice balls stuffed with ragu, are equally as delectable, and each region serves up its own speciality filling. You’re going to want to follow it all up with a gelato or two as well, which fortunately are also often very reasonably priced.  


Credit: ludovica nigro/iStock

Peru has a thriving restaurant industry and is renowned for its amazing cuisine. Luckily, you don’t have to have a bulging bank balance to fill up on the best Peruvian home cooking around. Street food is a big thing, and gastronomic delights can be snapped up for next to nothing. You’ll definitely stick to street food once you’ve inhaled the aroma of the cuts of meat being grilled. Served on a stick with some hot sauce, they’ll keep you warm as the sun goes down. A country creative with its many varieties of potatoes, the papa rellena is Peru’s answer to the twice-baked potato. Mashed potato is filled with the likes of beef, onions, olives and eggs and then fried to crisp perfection. Then, for a late night snack picarones are as sweet as they are cheap. The donuts are made with sweet potato and squash, giving them an orange hue that couples perfectly with a generous dollop of Peruvian honey.

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