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Cheapie Lunch (Under $20)

Golden Lotus Vegan

Sydney’s vegan scene is the bomb. Not only is there a wide variety with something for every occasion, they also really make the effort to get the food to taste genuinely good, as opposed just ‘good for what it is’. Even my token vegan foodie friend (yo Jillian!) agrees that the vegan food around here is rather special, and if that’s not high praise, I don’t know what is. One of the most popular casual vegan restaurants around Sydney is Golden Lotus Vegan, which serves up animal-free Vietnamese cuisine, with just a smidge of Thai and Chinese thrown in. Normally I’d avoid places like this, as I usually find the food to be overpriced and uninspired. But of course, Sydney…

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Hector’s Deli

Call me a sucker for a good sandwich. I love the way that it can be beautifully simple, or startlingly complex, yet absolutely delicious either way as long as you know what you’re doing. And today, I’m going to tell you about one of the best places in Melbourne to get that pesky sandwich craving sorted. With alumni from Attica and Stokehouse, Hector’s Deli is possibly the most over-qualified sandwich shop in all of Melbourne. Yet despite the heavy-hitting names, Hector’s is remarkably humble. Located in a whitewashed building in a quiet Richmond backstreet, the fit-out consists largely of shiny white tiles and friendly blokes, and seats a grand total of 8, with a few more milk crates loitering around…

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King’s Hot Bread

When I first moved into my current apartment, I was thrilled to discover that King’s Hot Bread, just a suburb over, is known for doing one of the best banh mi in Sydney. But hang on, you might ask, if I’m so thrilled about it, why has it taken me a year and a half to finally try it? For once I actually have a good reason, instead of having to attribute it to sheer laziness. King’s Hot Bread may only be one suburb away, but there’s another excellent Vietnamese bakery just 2 minutes from my house that also does some phenomenal pork rolls, but without lines snaking out the door morning, noon, and night. And frankly, I’m willing to…

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Ichiban Boshi

Ichiban Boshi and I go way back. I first heard of the now-iconic ramen chain over 10 years ago, when I had just started reading food blogs, and the thought of writing my own was years from even crossing my mind. I had never had proper ramen at the time, but that didn’t stop me from being completely enamoured with the idea of noodles in deliciously porky soup (in fact, I think this may be where my ramen obsession started).  And I almost, almost got to eat at Ichiban Boshi too, when I went to the Gold Coast with my family in 2008. Unfortunately that didn’t pan out, and it took another 10 years and an interstate move before the…

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Pidapipo CBD

I had promised my sister a pasta-and-gelato date for the next time I came back down to Melbourne, and despite minor shenanigans in the form of a last-minute search for a restaurant that was actually open, the first part of the operation was carried off without a hitch. After wandering around for a couple hours, digesting the ridiculous amounts of carbs we ingested, we hit up Pidapipo for our gelato fix. I had first come across Pidapipo a couple years ago, when they only had their flagship Carlton store. The deliciousness of their gelato, the hazelnut flavour especially, absolutely blew my mind. Unfortunately Carlton is just out of the way enough for me to not be able to frequent it…

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Ippudo

One great thing about Japan is that over there, Restaurant Chain is not a dirty term. With their dedication to quality, even the most pedestrian chains serve up food that would be right at home in a casual restaurant in Australia. Take Ippudo for example; despite having 69 branches in 12 countries, it is still very much known for serving up an excellent bowl of noodles that’s comparable to any ramen-ya. Ippudo may be located in a Westfield shopping complex, but the fit-out is rather swank. The dim interior with dramatic down-lighting, and eye-catching bar, makes it feel more like a high-end hotel restaurant than a casual eatery.

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