Northcote has long been home to some of Melbourne’s sweetest cheap food options. You can meander for hours up Ruckers Hill and down through the bustling High Street shopping strip, but we’ve done the legwork for you and pulled out some of our favourite dishes for under $12.

1. Grilled pork rib on broken rice at Lam Lam – $12
209 High Street, Northcote
Cheap food and fast service is the drawcard at Lam Lam, a Vietnamese hot spot at the top of the hill on High Street. Diners constantly pour in and out of this place, and there are more than a handful of dishes under $12 here. Our pick is the grilled pork rib on broken rice – a signature dish for breakfast (it opens at 11am), lunch or dinner.

2. The breakfast tart at Red Door Corner Store – $9.50
This might be a “breakfast tart”, but this can be eaten at any time of the day because here, breakfast is served until 3pm. This one’s got bacon, cherry tomatoes, ricotta and caramelised onion. And Red Door makes its own pastry, too.

3. Blended drink #2 at Barry – $10.50
This bright, new(ish) cafe in Westgarth, from the guys behind Pillar of Salt feels more south side than Northcote. Few items sit before the $12 mark at Barry, so we’re on a liquid diet with a green juice or “Blended drink #2” of apple, kale, cucumber, spinach, parsley, mint, ginger and lime. It will fill you up, though.

4. JFC at DoJo Ramen Bar – $9.50
333 High Street, Northcote
This might be a ramen bar, but there are other reasons to stop in to DoJo – take the JFC, Japanese Fried Chicken with miso mayonnaise.

5. Veggie ciabatta at Penny Farthing – $11
Now this might sound like something reminiscent of original roast veggie foccacia from the ‘90s, and we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t, but there was a reason the veggie foccacia was popular. This one is made on ciabatta and is pretty spot on. It comes with roasted pumpkin and capsicum, mixed greens, pepita butter and house-marinated feta.