Whether you work in town or are just passing through, it’s always good to have a few go-to places for a cheap and tasty feed.
Here are our top 10 venues with meals under $10.
1. Dosa meal at Dosa Corner – $6.95
When Broadsheet saw a long line snaking out the door of Dosa Corner, we had to get involved. Here you can get a plain dosa (a south-Indian pancake made from fermented batter), idly (steamed savoury cake), vada (a deep-fried snack) and drink for $6.95. A range of other filled dosas is available, including chicken masala ($9.95) and cheese and chilli ($7.95). The dosas are all freshly cooked and the Kingfishers are cold.
169 King Street
Mon to Thu 11.30am–11pm
Fri & Sat 11.30am–11.30pm
2. Combination laksa at Malaysian Laksa House – $9.80
In a strip of the city we would like to call “Little Malaysia”, hawker delights of just about every variety are available. At Malaysian Laksa House, the combination laksa is a winner. If you can’t find a seat here try its competitors, Sarawak Kitchen or Sambal Kampung, nearby.
449 Elizabeth Street
Sun to Thu 11am–10.30pm
Fri & Sat 11am–11.30pm
3. Three sushi rolls plus miso soup at Sushi Monger – $7.50
Sushi-roll joints are a dime a dozen in the CBD, in Victoria, in Australia, and maybe even the world (but possibly not Japan). You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal than this one though: three sushi rolls of your choice and a steaming cup of miso soup for $7.50. It’s in a laneway off Bourke Street Mall joining up to Little Collins. Expect a queue.
17/309–325 Bourke Street
Mon to Fri 10.30am–3.30pm
4. Cheese and spinach gözleme at Göz City – $10
At lunchtime the two Göz City CBD outlets get slammed. Fresh pastry is rolled thin and stuffed with cheese and spinach. As Broadsheet has noted before, “Sure, it’s simple, but it’s a pleasure. Fresh pastry straight from the grill, the slight funk of cheese and a bottle of beer doesn’t need any adornment.”
50 Lonsdale Street (Madame Brussels Lane)
Mon to Fri, 7am–4pm
502 Little Collins Street
Mon to Fri 7.30am–4pm
5. American cheeseburger at Burger Project – $9.90
Chuck and brisket from from Cape Grim, Tasmania, is minced and hand-formed into patties in-house. The American cheeseburger comes with cheese, onion, pickles, secret sauce and rose mayonnaise. The burger is cooked medium, with a hint of pink, which is a testament to the quality of the raw ingredients. If you ask nicely, the crew will keep grilling until the patty’s well done, but we’re happy deferring to how owner Neil Perry would want it.
St Collins Lane, Level 2, 260 Collins Street
6. Sukiyaki don at Don Don – $6.90
You’ll have to battle for a table – this is a favourite haunt of students and city-workers alike. It may be better to get your thinly sliced beef on rice to takeaway and head across the street. From there you can people-watch from the State Library lawns, or catch a game of giant chess.
198 Little Lonsdale Street (corner Swanston Street)
7. Xiao long bao at Shanghai Street Dumplings – $9.80
When eating in the CBD, it’s often wise to heed the words of Corporal Barnes in A Few Good Men – “just follow the crowd at chow time”. We took this advice and ended up at Shanghai Street Dumplings, where you can get a plate of super-soupy Xiao Long Bao and ponder exactly how to eat them (check out this video).
342 Little Bourke Street
Daily 11.30am–3pm and 4.30pm–8.30pm
8. Lox bagel at Five & Dime – $9.50
Go for the house-cured salmon (lox) with capers, onion, tomato and cream cheese, and pair it with one of the 11 New York-style bagels on offer – our tip is the dill. It comes in a neat cardboard box with a side of quartered pickle and a fistful of sea salt Kettle Chips (which always have a pleasing proportion of doubled-over wish chips). From a seat in the cafe you can see the impressive bagel-making operation through the glass windows. It’s a two-day process to make that bagel you’re munching on.
16 Katherine Place
Mon to Fri 7am–2.30pm
9. Veggie Pack at Wonderbao – $9.50
Three courses of bao for less than 10 bucks will please the palate and the wallet. First course is a choi bao (steamed bun), filled with shiitake mushrooms, tofu and vegetables. Next up is a fried silky tofu gua bao – picture Pac-Man (he’s the steamed flat bread) eating a meal of tofu, coriander, sweet soy sauce and crushed peanuts. Completing the triple pack is the sweet taro bao. We repeat, all of this for less than $10.
Shop 4, 19–37
Mon to Fri 8am–6pm
10. Pork Bánh mì at N. Lee Bakery – $7
No guide to value-for-money eating would be complete without reference to bánh mì, crunchy Vietnamese baguettes stuffed with all manner of deliciousness. N. Lee’s pork bánh mì with Vietnamese terrine, chicken liver pâté, pickled carrot, onion, cucumber and coriander is a favourite for many. Add chilli at your peril. Many an unwitting nine-to-fiver has headed back to the office drenched in a bird’s-eye-chilli-induced sweat.
61 Little Collins Street
Mon to Fri 6am–4.30pm
422 Collins Street
Mon to Fri 6am–5pm