John X. is currently a third-year biomedicine student at the University of Melbourne. John graduates this year and aspires to study post-graduate medicine (Doctor of Medicine, MD) there.
Asian food. Some say it’s cheap, some say it’s yummy, and some say it gives them a taste of home. Regardless, most of us are poor university students looking for some cheap feeds around campus. Here I’ll take you through my top 7 asian eateries around/near campus for under $10 and tell you why.
7. Uni square cafe
If you’re hauling long study hours at the Law Library, Giblin Eunson or The Spot student lounges, this cafe is convenient for a quick bite to fuel your hungry brains before burying your head in the textbooks again. They offer the standard asian dishes, most being under $10, with a small handful being an extra $1 dearer. You can find this cafe a short way up Pelham st, in the direction of Swanston st.
6. Saigon noodle bar
If you feel like noodle box fresh from the wok, then this is the place. You can choose from a pre-selected range of dishes, or you can mix and match to your own liking. They also serve broth-based dishes too. Be mindful that there’s no eating in so you’ll have to take your meal elsewhere. You can find this bar outside Union House, between the Commonwealth ATMs and The Tree.
5. Norsiah’s kitchen
A cafeteria style restaurant for Singaporean, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines during lunch times, you pay for a bowl of rice, with your choice of side dishes. You can get 2 servings of meat and 1 serving of vegetables for $7; 1 serving of meat and 1 serving of vegetables for $6.50; extra bowl of rice for $1, half a bowl for $0.50; extra meat for $2, extra vegetables for $1. You can also order straight from the menu. You can find this place on Swanston Street, opposite Lincoln Square and its tram stop.
4. NL house
Craving mi goreng or nasi goreng? Char kuay teow or curry laksa? If you have a thirst for spices, then NL house really knows how to hit the spot. I’ll be honest, I lied in that this place isn’t under $10 – dishes range from $11-$13, unless you want the mini snack boxes ranging from $6-$8. But apart from the premium price, I just had to mention this place for the quality of food and service. You can find this house on the corner of Grattan Street and Cardigan Street, towards Lygon Street.
3. Egg sake bistro
If you haven’t heard of Egg, then you’ve been living under a rock. This underground place is swarming with hungry students every lunch time. It has a cafeteria section in the centre where you can get a standard don buri (bowl of rice with a side dish of your choice) for $7, or a bento box (bowl of rice with 2 side dishes of your choice) for $8. Alternatively, if you want to beat the queue you can order from a different range of dishes (including udon noodles) at the left entrance, or grab some reasonably priced sushi towards the right entrance. They also have a Choya bar in front of the sushi store for coffee or alcoholic drinks. You can find this place underground at Union House.
2. Oriental house
Similar to Norsiah’s kitchen, but for the Chinese cuisine. You can get a large bowl (about 1000cc) for $7.5, or a smaller box (about 500cc) for $6.5. The portions for the large bowl is huge, and you get even larger portions if you tell the staff that you’re eating in. You get a choice of 2 side dishes with the large, and a choice of 1 side dish with the small. They also have 3 dim sims for about $2.50. It gets busy during lunch time, but you can get through the line quite quickly and may be lucky enough to find a seat if you’re eating in. You can find this place at Union House, between Pronto’s Pizza and the East entrance.
1. Don Tojo
Although it may not look like much from the outside, this Japanese restaurant wins my heart for value. Dishes range from as cheap as $6.3 to $9.0, portions are good and dishes are made fresh. Need I say more? It’s a little walk from campus, but you can find this hidden gem on Cardigan Street between NL house and the university’s own Health Service clinic.
EDITOR’S NOTE: if prices quoted in this article have changed, please let us know via our Facebook page. All the images in this article are the author’s own.