Taste the Far East and still get change from a tenner.
By Steph Dye (follow Steph on Twitter: @HelloIAmSteph)
It’s easy to get caught out when ordering Asian-inspired dishes. All too often, eyes-bigger-than-stomach syndrome gets the better of us and the temptation to over-order leaves us with overly full stomachs and disastrously empty pockets – especially in London. However, in the seven budget Asian restaurants below, you can eat to your heart’s desire for under £10 per person (not including drinks) without being caught short when it comes to paying the bill.
Alternatively, if you are looking for cheap food on the move, check out the top ten budget street food stalls here.
The £ symbol next to each location indicates whether the place is more or less expensive (from £ = super cheap to £££££ = very expensive).
#1 Indian Veg | Indian | Angel | £
What is it?: Originally set up in 1985, Indian Veg is a vegetarian Indian buffet is constantly changing, meaning that no two visits will ever be the same. What’s more, the buffet is scandalously cheap, so you can eat your fill without ever feeling guilty.
How much is it?: £4.50 per person
Where is it?: 92-93 Chapel Market, N1 9EX
Try the: pea and paneer curry (available Wednesdays and Fridays, £4.50).
#2 BAO | Taiwanese | Soho | £
What is it?: Tiny Taiwanese restaurant in Soho that takes no reservations so there’s always a queue for the fluffy, Instagram-ready buns. Pop into BAO for an early lunch or a very late dinner to catch it at it’s least busy. Originally a street stall, the venture has made difficult transition into a fully-fledged restaurant.
How much is it?: Buns and small eats range from £3.50-£6. Sides are £1.50-£3.
Where is it?: 53 Lexington Street, W1F 9AS.
Try the: confit pork bao (£4.50).
#3 Kati Roll Company | Indian | Oxford Street | ££
What is it?: A Bollywood theme – complete with Hindi posters and sound track – gives an authentic, Indian street-food vibe to this restaurant that offers both eat-in and grab-and-go service. The Kati roll is a thin paratha, coated in omelette and filled with all sorts of delicious meat and vegetable fillings.
How much is it?: Two rolls (enough for a big lunch) costs between £5.40-£9.90.
Where is it?: 24 Poland Street, W1F 8QL
Try the: shrimp masala roll – grilled tiger shrimp, marinated in coconut milk and spices (£5.20).
#4 Hoppers | Sri Lankan | Soho | ££
What is it?: A sort-of fermented, rice pancake – traditionally a breakfast item, it is served with lots of delicious fillings and a fried egg (if you fancy). Like BAO, Hoppers doesn’t take reservations, so you will have to queue – the best times to go are probably the opening of lunch or dinner (12 pm or 5.30 pm).
How much is it?: Hoppers and dosas are £3 each (or £3.50) with a fried egg on top. Eat with a meat or vegetable curry (£5-£6) for a delicious lunch or dinner.
Where is it?: 49 Frith Street, W1D 4SG
Try the: egg hopper and black pork kari (£9 in total).
#5 Wellbeing Kitchen | Korean | Tottenham Court Road | ££
What is it?: Chilled out vibe with an emphasis on huge portions. This means great value for money whilst maintaining a high quality. The menu is mostly a mixture of hot and cold Korean favourites although a few Japanese classics (yakidori, miso) are thrown in for good measure.
How much is it?: Most dishes range between £3 and £6 and the generous portions make a perfect lunch or dinner.
Where is it?: 232 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8EG
Try the: jeyuk Deopbap – rice topped with spicy, pan-fried pork and vegetables. (£3.90/£5.50 depending on size).
#6 Café East | Vietnamese | Rotherhithe | £££
What is it?: Tucked away in the corner of a car park in Surrey Quays, Café East is about as close as you can get to an south-east Asian greasy spoon. However, what it lacks in decor and location, it certainly makes up for in flavour and value.
How much is it?: Most main courses hover at about the £8.50 mark and are hugely filling, leaving you satisfied and with change from a tenner.
Where is it?: Surrey Quays Leisure Park, SE16 7LH
Try the: pho Tai – lean, rare beef served in a spicy, delicate broth (£8).
#7 Tonkostu East | Japanese | Haggerston | £££
What is it?: Grab gyoza and ramen at this Japanese joint (the second in the chain) which is nestled under the railway arches in Haggerston.
How much is it?: The menu is seriously minimal, offering only four different variations on ramen. However, averaging out about £10 a bowl, you are unlikely to go home hungry and without smile on your face.
Where is it?: Arch 334, 1a Dunston Street, E8 4AB
Try the: Tokyo Ramen – noodles, pork belly, half a soft-boiled egg, and spring onions in a light chicken and pork based broth.
Or, if it’s not necessarily Asian food you are on the look out for, why not check out the Swindian’s pick of the top 5 international restaurants in London.
Do you have a favourite Asian restaurant? Leave a comment below to let us know which one is it!