Vancouver is an amazing city and with those crazy amazing views and crazy fun things to do, this city has been labelled as a place that is crazy expensive. However, taking a second look at the obvious and famous culinary options in this beautiful city, we will explore another facet of Vancouver: it's cheap and downright sinful grub (or chow, we don't judge). Aka, perfect for students like you and me.
Considering it's the fall currently, this list will focus on food that will warm you from the inside out.
The first place that I have in mind is a Vancouver classic: Sura Korean Royal Cuisine. Aside from having wicked set menu (check that out), they are well known for having delicious and authentic Korean food that is sure to hit home with your tastebuds!
Although I can recommend everything here just due to the sheer quality of what I have already tried, I can say that my favourites from here are Gamja-Tang and the Galbi-Tang (Sura is the place I go to for soup)!
The Gamja-Tang consists of a rich (but surprisingly light) pork broth with succulent pieces of on-the-bone pork and silky chunks of potato. It's an amazing Korean inspired take on the poor man's meal as it's not only extremely filling due to the potato, but also delicious as the broth is very flavourful.
In addition, I have fallen in love with the tamer Galbi-Tang. Succulent pieces of beef short rib boiled into an amazingly clear, white and milky soup with the addition of classic accoutrements such as glass noodles and egg. Where this soup takes a turn is that there is an amazing dipping sauce that consists simply of a sweet soy sauce that is balanced with wasabi (real wasabi might I add).The dipping sauce is so very necessary as the spice and sweetness cuts right through the richness and meatiness of the soup, allowing the overall meal to be more balanced and enjoyable. All of this is even sweeter because if you show your student card to the staff after 9:00PM, their entire menu is 50% off!
The next frugal feast that I will show talk about is Mr. Red Café (It's very close to the Vancouver campus). Anyone who is close to me knows that I have an unhealthy obsession with this cute little Vietnamese restaurant. Sometimes after class when I only have an hour to grab dinner and attend a meeting I will come here because I love the speedy service.
My favourite dish here has to be the Bún bò Huế: a traditional Vietnamese soup consisting of a delicious and complex beef broth flavoured with shallots, lemongrass, and a whole slew of other aromatic ingredients.
Trust me, there is nothing better after three hours of lectures than seeing that steaming bowl of soup being delivered to your table. Take a sip, wonder how a soup can be so aromatic and sweet while meaty and herbaceous, smile, repeat.
Of course I cannot leave without talking about the Phở. This restaurant serves some of the best and most authentic Phở that I have ever had. When I took my Vietnamese friend here, she quickly remarked how authentic and complex their broth was. I passed the obsession onto her as well!
Although I love the extra aromatic and spicy punch of the Bún bò Huế, I still come back to this classic. The best part? If you show your student card they will give you a 10% discount (you're welcome).
The third place that I had in mind is called Thai Basil. Although I have had better Thai food elsewhere, this joint serves up some of the most affordable Thai food I have ever seen. With lunch specials below $10 and a giant menu that caters to vegetarians and meat lovers alike, this place will win over your heart as soon as you step in.
My favourite item from their menu has to be the classic: Pad Thai. Their rendition is a little bit sweeter than what I consider optimal but it's still delicious. With tender rice noodles, tofu, bean sprouts, and amazing shrimp, this dish will keep you full and ready to brace those harsh fall afternoons.
Finally, the last place is kind of a cheap shot but it's the Delly in the heart of the Nest. Little do people know that this gem right on campus has a 50% off deal on things such as sandwiches, salads, soups, etc. after 3:00PM on Fridays.
I have come here so many times that I cannot really specify what my favourites are from here, but I can guarantee that all of their house made specialties (especially their soups and curries) are top notch and come up to less than $3.00 with the discount.
I truly hope that you guys have learned a thing or two about the cheap and frugal feasts that are available to you as a university student. If you're willing to put a little bit of effort and go even five to ten minutes off campus, a piping hot bowl of Bún bò Huế awaits you or if you're willing to go a little further, definitely take advantage of Sura's late night special deals!