There is a common misconception that Sydney is no friend to the frugal backpacker. But when it comes to eating out, there are plenty of options available to backpackers on a budget who are looking for a top-notch meal that won’t break the bank.
Cheap food is no longer just packet noodles, dodgy sausage rolls and soggy chips from the nearby kebab shop. Sydney packs a serious culinary punch, from on-trend hot dog joints and out-of-this-world Vietnamese pork rolls, to perfect Pad Thai. Here is a pick of the best budget and seriously tasty cheap eats for backpackers in Sydney.
1. Perfect Pad thai @ Home Thai
This busy and bustling Thai restaurant never fails to deliver on generous portions of Pad Thai and tasty Thai curries that pack a punch. This place is so popular among locals that there is often a queue outside the door, and common protocol is to grab a slip of paper with a number on it from the door and wait for it to be called out.
But service is swift and you never have to wait long before you can head in and get down to the business of ordering. Expect to pay about $14 for a curry and $12.50 for chicken Pad Thai.
Website: Home Thai Where: 299 Sussex Street, Sydney
2. Malay Chinese Takeaway
Just down the road from Home Thai is Malay Chinese Takeaway. This popular restaurant is home to 11 different varieties of laksa including chicken, king prawn and vegetable. For those of you who aren’t familiar, laksa is a delicious spicy rice noodle soup made with coconut milk. It’s filling and the soup is so good you will be drinking it out of the bowl, trust us. Bowls of hot laksa start from $9.70
Website: malaychinese.com.au Where: 50 Hunter Street, Sydney
3. Harry’s Cafe de Wheels
These iconic pie carts are located all around Sydney, try Bondi beach, Woolloomooloo and Haymarket. There is nothing Aussies love more than a good pie, which explains why Harry’s have been serving fresh pies every day for over 70 years. Their signature dish is named after the founder Harry ‘Tiger’ Edwards, and is a chunky lean beef pie, with mushy peas, mash and gravy.
Expect to pay around $10 for pie and mash.
4. Marrickville Pork Rolls
We’re pretty confident that the Vietnamese pork rolls this place serves are some of the best you will ever eat. No matter what time it is, there is always a line out the front of this tiny little pork roll stand. And the best bit, these delicious pork rolls are only $4 each.
Where: 236A Illawarra Road, Sydney
5. Dollar Dogs at The Soda Factory
The Soda Factory brings you 6 different gourmet hot dogs each and every Tuesday for a $1 each. They’re so cheap, they are practically free.
Choose between classic such as ‘The Johnny Drama’ (Beef Frankfurter, Bacon, Sour Cream, Avocado & Tomato Salsa) and ‘The Buffalo Bill’ (Crispy Chicken Sausage, Spicy Buffalo Sauce & Cheese). Mmm, our mouths are watering already – bring on Tuesday!
Website: sodafactory.com.au Where: 16 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills, 2010
6. $3 Pizzas every Tuesday at the Café Lounge, Surry Hills
When you’re serving pizza for $3 each you know you’re onto a winner. If you are around the Surry Hills on a Tuesday then make sure you pop into Café Lounge on Goulburn Street. In fact, this place has great food deals on almost every night of the week, and live music. What’s not to like?
Website: facebook.com/CafeLoungeSurryHills Where: 277 Goulburn Street, Surry Hills
7. Pay what you like at Lentil as Anything
The concept behind this veggie restaurant is that you pay what you like for the food! The not-for-profit organisation in Newtown relies solely on the generosity of its customers and serves up tasty grub such as tofu sliders, veggie fajitas and lentil curries.
Website: lentilasanything.com Where: 391 King Street, Newtown 2042
8. Dinner for less than $10 at Eating World, Chinatown
This food court is great if you’re with a group of mates and serves a wide variety of Asian dishes for less than $10. From steaming dishes of meaty Japanese ramen and Indonesian fried chicken to freshly made Chinese pancakes – there are meals to suit every taste and appetite!
Where: 25 – 29 Dixon Street, Haymarket
So there you have it, some of the best cheap eats for backpackers on a budget in Sydney. If you are looking for more budget travel inspiration then check out the ultimate guide to backpacking in Australia, for more top tips on hiring a campervan, top Aussie cities and how much you can expect to spend while you’re Down Under.
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.