An inner-city hub known for its favoured wine bars, funky cafes and pubs aplenty, Surry Hills is a food haven for the curious. One short stop from the CBD, it’s accessible and home to some of our top spots – for when you’re feeling both fancy or frugal. Focusing on the latter, here’s a happy trio of dishes that’ll each get you change from a twenty.

Sri Lankan curry pie from AP Bakery – $14

From comforting pastries to moreish desserts and rustic loaves, this rooftop original is a carby mecca. For less than $20, you want the black chicken pie. The hand-held beauty always hits the spot, with its buttery, flaky top hiding a hot chicken curry filling that’s been spiced with Sri Lankan dark-roasted curry powder. Pool your change for a sweet treat, too.

Pad see ew from Spice I Am – $16.50

Don’t let the unassuming facade of this Sydney institution fool you: it’s a strong contender for the best Thai food in town. Do your best to avoid long queues at peak hours: aim for midday for a relatively easy lunchtime stop. There are several rice dishes with accompaniments from the menu that fit our $20 brief, but the pad see ew’s thick, flat rice noodles glistening with dark soy and tossed with eggs, Chinese broccoli and your choice of protein (chicken, beef, pork or tofu) has our vote.

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Eggplant and cauliflower wrap from Henrietta – $17

While the casual Crown Street eatery, from the team behind nearby Nour and Ito, is famed for its charcoal chicken, the takeaway wraps and burgers are in high demand for the office crowd. This wrap is a winner, with crispy fried eggplant, cauliflower doused generously in house-made hummus, fresh herbs and harissa – plus pickles for a touch of tang. Add the garlic toum for an extra $3 – it’s worth it.