how to find cheap food in Asia
Updated: Aug 18
As a rule, food in South East Asia is pretty damn cheap anyways. You’ll likely pay a couple of pounds more for western food, and more often than not it’ll leave you disappointed as it’s nothing like the food back home (unless you’re visiting a proper pub grub kinda place like an Irish bar!).
The food options in hostels tend to be more on the expensive side, so unless you’re craving something on the menu or, like me often, you can’t be arsed to venture out again after a day of exploring, I’d recommend finding elsewhere to eat.
There are always plenty of cafes and restaurants around catering to all kinds of cuisine from Italian to Iranian and Korean, and there are nicer restaurants if you fancy having a spending splurge. The best places, and always the cheapest places to grab food are the local night markets and local restaurants.
No matter which Asian city you’re in, there’ll be at least one night market! They’re all very similar with goods on sale and a food area, but some cities have food night markets and they’re fab.
I’m talking freshly fried spring rolls, pad thai, green curries, all manners of meat dishes that come in at less than a quid. It’s the perfect place to try different dishes too because they’re so cheap that if you don’t like it- it’s only 50p you’ve spent!
The local restaurants are usually pretty obvious to spot and tend to be quite small, family-run places with authentic dishes and cost a fraction of western restaurants.
HOW TO FIND THEM
Most night markets will come up in a google search of things to do anyways so it’s not too hard to find them. Many appear on the likes of google maps too! If not, just ask around at your hostel and someone will point you in the right direction.
Local restaurants are usually characterised by green or red plastic chairs around the tables and will probably be quite popular with, plot twist, the locals. This is also a good tip for knowing if the food is good: eat where the locals eat. This way you know it’s cheap and good/safe.