Top 10 Ways to Eat Like a King on a Budget

Posted July 29, 2013 by Tam Hashim in Top 10

Food is culture, and culture is food; traveling wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for regional specialities and dishes we can’t get at home (or anywhere else), though sometimes our wallets can restrict our experiences. From mouth-watering street food in Vietnam to grilled seafood in Portugal, check out our list of the best places to eat for less, so the amount of money we carry won’t affect our cultural curiosity and experiences:

1. Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnam  Market, Sa Dec, Viet Nam

Flickr photo by Lynda.

Saffron-robed monks collecting alms walk past incense filled pagodas featuring delicate carvings and tile work as the bustling northern city of Hanoi comes alive at lunchtime; follow the locals to one of the many al-fresco kitchens in the centre to sample bun cha, a famous Vietnamese delicacy cooked on a tiny coal fire and smothered with a vinegary fish sauce, served with cold vermicelli noodles and spring onion meatballs.

2. Porto, Portugal

Porto - Portugal

Flickr photo by Francisco Oliveira.

The dazzling little sister of the Algarve, Porto has plenty to beguile, meander across the endless stretches of peaceful beaches before making your way to O Escondidinho, a traditional restaurant that combines fresh ingredients with a wood burning oven. Kick back and relax with a bottle of wine and feast upon flavored baked octopus with grilled seafood dishes.

3. Bangkok, Thailand


Flickr photo by sriram bala.

The smell of spices hangs in the air as the sun rises over colonial villas and busy roads choked with countless motorbikes. Tuck into Phad Kee Mao, a traditional Thai dish of noodles, coated with thick slices of chilli and onion with succulent prawns, served with tasty Her tom yam gung, a sour prawn soup, washed down with Oilang, an authentic Thai drink.

4. Paris, France

Paris bistro

Flickr photo by Richard Taylor.

The city of romance has plenty to satisfy, even the most discerning traveller. L’Ebauchoir, located in one of the trendier parts of France, serves old-fashioned roast guinea fowl and braised pork ribs, on a budget.  Or, for a succulent juicy steak, head to Les Dingues for a set menu oozing in Parisian charm. After, meander towards the Viaduc des Arts, an old viaduct converted into artisan boutiques.

5. Madrid, Spain

Restaurante Cafe Oliver - Madrid

Flickr photo by Pablo Monteagudo.

Feast upon Spanish, French, Italian and Moroccan food at Cafe Oliver Restaurant, cooked by top chef Federic Fetivea. Kick back in the plush red sofas, with exposed brickwork and sample the extensive wine list complete with over 130 different wines from Spain and France.

6. Florence, Italy


Flickr photo by Fredrik Boegard.

If it’s more your thing, head to Da Rocco, inside the Mercato Sant’Ambrogio, a beautiful stop in the dazzling old quarter that gives no indication of the gourmet delights abound inside.  Sample the delicious Pasta Faglio or order the tasty meatballs dipped in fresh sauce, a keen favorite and the best for miles.  Unmissable is the house speciality of caramel coated pear, popular with locals who flock there in their droves.

7. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires City Scape

Flickr photo by Kyle Lease.

Well known for salsa dancing, Buenos Aires is rich in culinary delights; stop at El Disnevel, a busy eatery on the corner of town offering sizzling beef and fried empanadas. Make like a local and head for the heated patio. All languages are spoken here with friendly staff, and a lively atmosphere.

8. Stockholm, Sweden

Enchanting Stockholm has plenty to offer from great shopping to friendly locals. Perfect for foodies, the city is fond of fish and shellfish, and is home to strömming, a delicious herring from the Baltic. Make a beeline for Grill, a trendy cafe on Ostermalm, where the food is grilled to perfection and served with tasty cocktails or fruit juice.

9. Split, Croatia

Buffet Fife. Split, Croatia

Flickr photo by Michael Spencer.

For delicious far eastern dishes trail off the beaten track to Bistro Toc, a charming diner marked by a red Volkswagen beetle that has been there as long as anyone can remember. Tuck into tasty home-cooked delights from Thai curries to Mexican quesadillas. Sit in the roofed terrace outside with spectacular views of the seafront, only a short walk away.

10. Bergen, Norway


Flickr photo by diebmx.

For a taste of authentic Norwegian cooking, try Pingvinen, serving large servings of reindeer, elk, lamb and local fish, located a stone’s throw away from the thriving city centre. The restaurant turns into a stylish nightclub after hours.

If you have any tips or places where you could eat like a king on a budget, leave them in the comments below!

About the Author

Tam Hashim

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