Melbourne's best lunches under $15
Can’t look at another sushi roll? There’s much more exciting lunchtime fare to be had on the cheap.
FooDao Express, $7
Venture down to FooDao Express in the lower ground food court at Melbourne Central for fast and filling Chinese street food snacks. Be sure to try the house specialty – baked-to-order fooshao wheat pastries. They're stuffed with your choice of filling, perhaps black pepper beef or spicy Korean chicken and cheese. And at just $7 - $7.50 a pop, you can try them all. More treats under $7 include congee, spring rolls and sour plum tea.
Heartbaker BunMee, $12.50
Uncover a hidden pork roll gem in Melbourne's tiniest laneway. Heartbaker Bun Mee has six fresh flavours, including signature crispy pork belly and caramelised tofu. There's even a vegan roll for plant-based foodies. All the banh mi clock in under fifteen bucks, so it'd be rude not to smash a Vietnamese iced coffee or two while you're there.
Udon Yasan, from $5
Build your own bowl at Melbourne's cheapest Japanese noodle bar. The bowls from Udon Yasan at 186 Bourke Street start at under $5 for flavours like teriyaki chicken, sukiyaki beef or beancurd. Customise your bowl with all your favourite noodle toppings. Add on tempura, kimchi and soft boiled eggs for $1 to $2 each. Then go hard at the self-serve garnish station.
Pizza Pizza Pizza, $5
Slices of NYC-style pie at Pizza Pizza Pizza cost just five bucks a pop. That includes the oozy triple cheese or de rigueur pepperoni and pepper. Whole pizzas start at $32. With eight massive slices they're big enough to feed a crew of famished friends.
Can't decide between a cheeseburger or dumplings for lunch? Easy, just have both! The iconic dumpling slingers at Drumplings have returned to Melbourne with their unauthentic flavours. Try a plate of the famous cheeseburger dumplings for just a tenner. Or get them filled with mushroom massaman curry, mac and cheese or butter chicken. The entire menu ranges from $9-$15, and the lunch special includes a drink.
Seoul Toast Bong, under $10
Bong Seoul Toast (or Sukbong) is a famous chain with more than 200 stores in Korea. Their one and only Australian store just opened in Healeys Lane. Start simple with egg and cheese, or go OTT with added hash browns and beef bulgogi. A tonne of the menu items are under $10, and the signature bulgogi toastie will only set you back $8.50.
All-you-can-eat vegetarian, under $10
Hearty, healthy and kind on the earth. Head to Om Vegetarian where the bestselling meal is the $9.90 all-you-can-eat thali meal. You get three curries, rice and naan all of which you can refill to your hearts content. Or follow the sounds of the Hare Krishnas to Crossways at 147 Swanston St, where yet another all-you-can-eat vegetarian feed awaits for $9.50 (concession $7.50).
Coppe Pan, from $6
If gourmet sandwich spots are a bit of a stretch for your current budget, Coppe Pan has you covered. These thick, juicy cuts of crumbed chicken breast cushioned in freshly baked bread will set you back a slight $6. You can also skip straight to dessert and enjoy a matcha custard filled cube puff for $9, or take home a whole loaf of fluffy Japanese shokupan for $10.
Soi 38, $10
Soi 38 serves all kinds of noodle soups and dry noodle dishes, but the boat noodles are the rightful signature, the broth rich in galangal and lemongrass, slowly simmered meat and springy noodles. The best bit about Soi 38, though? You’ll be eating lunch in a corner of a CBD carpark, along with a buzzy huddle of other diners in the know. It doesn’t get much more Melbourne than that.
Butchers Diner, $9.90
Butchers Diner is Melbourne’s best all-day burger joints, open from midday to midnight Tuesday to Saturday. Cop a no-mess, no-fuss hamburger with pickles and mayo for under a tenner. The grilled cheese toastie is an excellent grab-and-go cheap eat option for $9.90, too.
Information correct at time of writing. Prices may change at short notice.
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Last updated on Mon 20 Mar 2023
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