One of the reasons I love to travel is the amazing food countries around the world have to offer. But what does $5 meals around the world actually look like? We collaborated with travel bloggers who share their favourite meals for $5 or less!
Tacos in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
One of my favorite cheap meals in San Miguel de Allende, in central Mexico, is what I eat most Saturdays when I’m in town. At TOSMA, the town’s weekly organic farmers’ and artisanal market, a food court is set up in an awning-covered courtyard. There are always at least 7-8 food and drink vendors serving up Mexican delicacies, and you’d be hard put to spend much more than 5 bucks at any of them. My favorite is “Estela,” located at the rear left as you enter. She serves only tacos, sopes, and huaraches. You tell her how many you want and she pops the fresh tortillas or sopes on the griddle. Next, choose your filling from the dozen or so covered casseroles spread across the front of the table. My favorites are chicken tinga and potatoes with chorizo. I could also pick from rajas (poblano pepper slices) in cream, stewed mushroooms, moles, stewed pork, or several others.
After getting two tacos for 30 pesos ($1.80), I wander a few feet to the unnamed “aguas frescas” stand. They ladel up mugs of fresh fruit waters and horchata, a refreshing almond drink. Or I sometimes opt for a cup of good coffee/espresso or the traditional hot Mexican drink called “atole,” made with cornstarch, like hot runny pudding. Cost for my entire lunch? 50 pesos or US$3.00. Find TOSMA at Ancha de San Antonio #123.
The Poutines Rapees in Eastern Canada
If you happen to be in eastern Canada (more common in the province of New Brunswick), why not try a local meal? The Poutines Rapees (also known as “acadian poutine”, to differentiate from more renowned Quebec poutines) are made of potatoes and salt pork and typically enjoyed with butter, molasses or sugar. It’s appearance may not be the most pleasing, and many foreigners find the texture quite unique; but you won’t know what you’re missing until you try it!
Lanzhou hand-pulled beef noodles in China
These hand-pulled beef noodles are a specialty of Lanzhou in western China and available in many halal restaurants around town. Do note: this is considered a breakfast item and only available in the morning, so get up early to enjoy it! It costs less than $2 for a bowl!
10 Pork Potstickers (Fried dumplings) in Taiwan, a bowl of hot and sour soup, and soy milk… all for $3! You can find these stores all over the country. Their kitchens are usually next to the sidewalk so you can already smell the yummy potstickers from a few meters away.
Pork Schnitzel in Bratislava, Slovakia
I ordered this meal in a nice local restaurant in Bratislava, Slovakia. It is called Pork Schnitzel, and cost only $3.5. The lemonade was $1.5, so the meal was $5 in total.
Street food in Muslim Street, Xi’an, China
One of the best things to do in Xi’an is to check out the Muslim Street. We picked up snacks like Squid on a stick ($3), a lamb stew ($3.80) and a deep fried banana ($1.50).
Who doesn’t love Pizza?! Whether its a dollar slice in NYC or a $5 slice in a quiet village in Italy, I couldn’t do a list of meals around the world without including my fave dish!
Clam Chowder in San Francisco
You can’t visit San Francisco without trying a bowl of Clam Chowder! We headed to Fisherman’s Wharf and picked up a bread bowl of Chowder for exactly $5.
I enjoyed the most fabulous 2-course meal for under USD$5 at Melting Wok Warung in Ubud Bali. First up was a generous chicken coconut curry for IDR34,000 (USD$2.50). I ordered it ‘medium spicy’ and it was perfect but you could amp up the heat if you wish.
The amazing food needs to be a on your Bali Itinerary to really experience everything on offer. The fresh ingredients balanced out the rich curry perfectly. I can never resist a desert and the coco crepe (IDR25,000 USD$1.85) was sublime. The chocolatey, ice-creamy, sugary goodness was exceptionally cooked and the crunchy edges were a delight.
OK this one is not technically a meal but just a fun one to include! I am a massive Harry Potter fan and was pleasantly surprised to find that this treat cost under $5 at the Warner Bros Studio in London. However, this list is quickly putting the cost into perspective!
Biryani in India
Biryani is pretty famous with food enthusiasts all around the world, particularly the Indians. The Indian city of Hyderabad is almost synonymous with Biryani. The yellow long grained rice having chunks of meat is usually served with raita and mirch-ka-salaan. The Hyderabadi biryani is tangy in taste. It’s accompanying dish, mirch-ka-salaan is yellowish red gravy which is very rich in spice. Raita is a kind of salad. It mainly consists of cucumber and onions dipped in a bowl of yoghurt.
While touring Hyderabad, I bought a Mutton Biryani meal from Shadaab Hotel for INR 270 ($ 4.134) to satisfy my hunger!
Pho in Vietnam
When in Vietnam, you MUST get a bowl of Pho! This is a delicious noodle soup and costs as little as $2!
Both are Greek salads and both cost 5 EUROS. The salad includes: tomatoes, green bell pepper, cucumber, red onions, Kalamata olives, olive oil, and cheese (traditionally feta OR a local cheese; or a combo of feta and local cheese).
Seafood in Koh Samui, Thailand
If you venture away from the main tourist areas of Koh Samui Island and drive south of the Island you will reach a place called Ban Thong Krut (a fishing village). This area has several beachside restaurants well known for their speciality sea food dishes. I ordered Pla Pao (Thai salt crusted grilled fish) with clilli and vegetables it was served with Khao Pad (Thai friend rice) the meal cost $4.00) which included a fresh coconut which was a lovely addition to the meal, whilst looking over at the fabulous views.
Udon Noodles are possibly my favourite type of noodles so I am super excited to find them for under $5 here in Tianjin, China. This is a shot of the noodles at our local restaurant but I am counting down the weeks until we can head to Osaka and try these noodles out in japan!
So that are just some of the amazing $5 meals around the world – get exploring and send us your favourite $5 meal! We would love to include it in our PART 2!
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