There’s no such thing as a free lunch, especially in Sydney. There are however spots in Sydney’s CBD where you can grab a memorable lunch for under $10. The following is a list of my ten favourite lunches for under $10:
1. Chicken Laksa at Malay Chinese Takeaway – $8.70
I have never tasted laksa this good. Even in Malaysia. I’ve tried laksa at street hawker markets in Penang and high-end Malaysian restaurants, but none match the laksha at the MCT. This unassuming establishment is a huge hit with the financial crowd in the CBD, with a crowd of suits assembling a long line from 12 noon. Get there early to get a seat. And you may want to buy a bip (50 cents).
2. Roti canai at Mamak – $5.50
The line for Mamak often runs around the block, and there’s good reason for it. My absolute favourite dish from Mamak is the roti canai, which comes with spicy sambal sauce and curry dips.
3. Chorizo Bocadillo at Encasa Deli – $9.00
A bocadillo is basically a baguette sandwich, a common street snack in Spain. Located in Sydney’s Spanish Quarter, Encasa Deli has a whole range of bocadillos available for lunch. Try the Chorizo, which comes with capsicum, onion and aoili.
4. Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich at Via Abercrombie – ~$10.00
Located in a laneway behind the Establishment, this little sandwich shop is renowned for its huge sandwiches and extremely long wait times. The chicken schnitzel is the signature. Beware, they often tend to ‘run out’ of their popular sandwiches, so get there early (by noon) to be safe.
5. Beef in Burgundy meat pie at La Renaissance – ~$10.00
An establishment predominantly known for its artistic and delicious desserts, La Renaissance does an extremely good job with casual French cafe food as well, offering a solid range of pies, baguettes and quiches. The Beef in Burgundy pie is definitely a hit. If you feel like splurging on dessert after, definitely try a slice of the Mousse Picasso.
6. The Naked Duck Panini at The Naked Duck – $10.00
The Naked Duck is a bit of a hit in the newly constructed Darling Quarter area. The ND Panini is a delicious duck sandwich, the Chinese five spice dressing being the cherry on top. Also noteworthy is The Naked Duck Roll, choose either the 12 hour slow cooked lamb or twice cooked pulled pork.
7. El Loco Hotdog at El Loco, Slip Inn – $10.00
One of El Loco’s signatures, this hot dog is absolutely delicious! The combination of the spicy house made frank with the jalapenos and the generous serving of queso fresca on top is a hit. The tacos are also worth trying – go for the Breakfast Taco or the Camaron (prawn).
8. Lamb & Onion Dumplings at Chinese Noodle Restaurant – $9.90
Formerly known as MJ’s Eatery, this little establishment often has a crowd around peak lunch and dinner times. While known for the handmade noodles, the dumplings are a cracker as well. Each serve comes with 12 dumplings (although you can ask for a half-serve). My favourite is the lamb & onion, and I would recommend getting 1/2 steamed and 1/2 pan-fried.
9. Tiger Prawn & Green Mango Rice Paper Rolls at Miss Chu’s CBD Tuckshop – $7.50
Known as the Queen of Rice Paper Rolls, Miss Chu brings in a playfulness to a Vietnamese staple. There’s a range of rice paper rolls, duck pancakes, dumplings, banh mi and a whole lot more. If the location (corner of Bathurst and George Street) is too far for you, you’d be pleased to know that they deliver!
10. Duck Pancakes at York Lane Bar – $12.00
OK, it’s over $10, but I couldn’t leave this one out. YLB is a really quaint cafe in an lane (yes, York Lane) behind Wynyard Station. They have a great rotating menu with seasonal specials, but these duck pancakes with hoisin sauce are absolutely delish!