When I was a kid, my mom used to give me $20 for a week’s worth of “fun food.” This meant I could spend it on things like candy (or in my case, chips…I’m way more into savoury than I am sweet.) and not feel bad, as long as I was also eating my bag lunch. (FYI: I used to trade my yogurt for Dunkaroos. Sorry mom.)
Oh, the good old days! Now I’m lucky if I spend less than $20 on a single meal, nevermind a week’s worth of foodertainment (copyright, me). It takes awhile in any city to find the good food options under $20…and even more time to find ones under $15. But, intrepid reader, I’ve done the hard work for you. (Please note that I’m a meat eater, but all of the places below have veggie options. This is Vancouver, after all) Et voila:
1) Re-Up BBQ – Hornby @ Georgia St., 11am-3pm Daily
What an awesome day it was just a year or so ago when the food cart revolution finally hit Vancouver! Thanks to some forward thinking on the part of our city government, Vancouverites finally have access to some proper street food. Cream of the crop (or the Behemoth of BBQ, in this case) is Re-Up, a pulled pork truck that parks most days at the corner of Hornby and Georgia. You can get a pulled pork sammy AND a sweet tea for just $9.25 (upgrade to brisket for $2 more). They also make a mean veggie chili, and for the less nomadic folk among us, are opening a location at the New West Quay next year. Hooray for pork! Track the cart at www.reupbbq.com.
2) Hawker’s Delight – 4127 Main St.
Aside from having the best name ever, Hawker’s is also student eating at its finest—a South Asian noodle-ganza featuring Singaporean, Malaysian and Indian choices. You can grab a huge plate of Nasi Goreng (and I mean huge…these are for sharing) for—seriously—$5. In fact, you could feed a small family for under $15 at Hawker’s. What a steal!
3) Solly’s Bagels – 2873 W. Broadway; 189 E. 28th Ave.; 368 W. 7th Ave.
In the words of Solly’s itself: Jewish baking—what’s not to like? Solly’s is a Vancouver stalwart and, with three locations spread across the city, a convenient place to nosh no matter where you might be. There’s a lot to choose from here, including soups, sandwiches and some awesome cinnamon buns, but I’m partial to the Mish-Mash bagel with Lox, which you can grab for about $10. The best part about Solly’s is that they’re not skimpy on the cream cheese, and that you get a side of my aforementioned favourite, chips. Mmm…chips.
4) Finch’s Tea & Coffee House – 353 W. Pender
I don’t usually associate downtown Vancouver with a delicious, homemade dining experience, but Finch’s is the exception. Aside from delicious coffee and a lovely atmosphere, this small café also serves the best, most filling European-style baguette sandwiches you’ve had in awhile, for around $10 each. A personal favourite is the prosciutto, which comes with a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar across the bread. The sandwiches come wrapped in brown paper, and the staff is friendly and easy going. A lovely spot.
[ed note: Make sure you clear some time for Finch’s. I love that place, but it’s far from quick. Also – if you’ve seen a movie/commercial/picture shot in Vancouver that features a ‘café’, there’s a good chance they used Finch’s].
5) Sushi! Everywhere!
Let’s get real for a second: we live in the best sushi city in the world, and you could point with your eyes closed and find a little sushi joint near you. I’ve rarely been served crap sushi here, and more often than not you can stuff your gullet with fish and rice for $10 or less. Keep your eyes peeled for those 18-piece $6.95 deals, and count your lucky stars that “fast food” in Vancouver is this healthy and delicious!
Well, those are my choices. Spend well, friends, and enjoy!
We want to hear about your fave places, too! Let us know about the spots you hit on a regular basis.
Image: The Library of Virginia