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Taking a break from indulging in retail therapy or looking for a cheap and tasty work lunch? These hidden food court eats have you covered.
Guljak Topokki Chicken
Why settle for one impossibly delicious Korean street food when you can have two? This famous Korean takeaway joint in Emporium dishes up topokki (spicy rice cakes) with K-style fried chicken. The chicken is perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and you can get it coated in your choice of sauce. The fresh and zingy lemon cream version is a must try. Load up on sides and an iced coffee for the full experience.
Tucked away inside The Paramount Centre food court, Me Dee is an unassuming takeaway shop serving some of Melbourne’s most authentic Thai food. Order cheap classics like boat noodles, basil and chilli stir-fried duck and massaman curry. Or try hard-to-find dishes like oyster omelettes and house-made fish balls in green curry. Don’t leave without tasting a classic Thai dessert.
The first of its kind in Melbourne, Dohtonbori is a popular export from Japan specialising in okonomiyaki. Plate up fresh cabbage pancakes at the helm of your personal teppanyaki hot plate. Then load it with kimchi, lobster, pork belly and more. Head to The District Docklands to go DIY at this Japanese gem.
This cafe is loved by locals for its cheap eats and lunch sets. Pop into the Kmart Centre and grab a seat in the busy Kowloon Cafe. Choose a housemade drink and your meal set from the daily specials. It won't cost you more than $16.50. Favourites include cheese baked pork chop and teriyaki chicken on rice. Pair it with a refreshing iced lemon tea or milk tea.
Spend your lunch break in Kuala Lumpur at Jom Corner. Another hidden gem in the Kmart Centre, it serves classic dishes like Hainanese chicken rice and Malaysian fried chicken (ayam goreng). Plus moorish sides like peanut butter toast and crispy, flavour-packed curry puffs. This is one of the only spots in Melbourne to try air bungkus. The hawker-style pulled milk tea (teh tarik) is served in a plastic bag to sip on the go.
This slick store in the St. Collins Lane food court specialises in delicious katsu sandwiches. The classic pork, prawn, chicken and egg options are all here, plus a special Wagyu beef variety. For sweet tooths Saint Dreux also serves mizu yokan (red bean jelly) and house-made castella (Japanese sponge cake).
If gourmet sandwich spots are a bit of a stretch for your current budget, Melbourne Central's 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, or take home a whole loaf of fluffy Japanese shokupan.
Venture down to FooDao Express in the lower ground food court at Melbourne Central for fast and filling Chinese street food snacks. Order giant ribs, porridge, congee and dumplings galore. 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. Homemade drinks include a flower tea set and sour plum tea.
Disc Taiwan Wheel Cake
This famous Taiwanese dessert is as adorable as it is delicious. Part cake, part fluffy pancake, these little UFO-shaped morsels are flying out the door at Disc Taiwan Wheel Cake. Keep it traditional with the the vibrant purple adzuki bean filling. You'll want to keep coming back to the Melbourne Central outpost to try all the sweet and savoury flavours on offer. Think matcha, Nutella custard, taro and pork floss or cheesy corn.
Some days only a giant bowl of curry will do. Foodies flock to Hanaichi in QV Melbourne for nourishing Japanese comfort food. Eat your way through a stacked menu of ramen, crispy fried chicken curry, udon noodles and teriyaki. And sample the famous Kay's chicken karaage with rice and salad. It's homestyle cooking at its best.
More lunch inspo
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Melbourne's best lunches under $10
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Last updated on Wed 28 Sep 2022
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