Tag Archives: Cheap eats

Life as a Sydneysider

Since leaving Spot X I’ve been living in Sydney like a proper Sydneysider (flat, job, train to work, the whole shibang). I’ve found a few really great spots and had some lovely experiences…so much so that It’s been almost two weeks since I last posted (whoops!).

When I first got to Sydney I had Thai food with a friend I met in Coolangatta for 8 dollars…EIGHT…and it was amazing. Just outside of the Westfield complex at Bondi Junction. I can’t remember the name, but I know it was about a block from commonweath bank machines and parallel to Oxford Street. My friend couldn’t taste the difference from the thai food she had in Thailand a few weeks ago and they had lunch specials for 6 bucks! The only downside with ‘authentic’ food is ‘authentic’ spice. I think I fully cleared my sinuses and GI tract of any lingering viruses I might have accumulated along the coast. There was also a 6 dollar Ramen restaurant and dollar sushi roll restaurant close by. NOTHING makes me feel like more of a legit local than finding cheap, hole in the wall food!!

Later that week I met up with my SpotX friends! A couple girls we met were from Sydney so we got to take a look at some true local eats! First we went for Sushi at Zushi in Surrey hills. I had great rolls with tuna belly, salmon, avo, cucumber, daikon…and something else–they were delicious! Because I was saving room for gelato I didn’t try any hot food, but it looked great and the staff and atmosphere were trendy and high energy. I would definitely go back again, I was very satisfied with my one order of rolls totalling less than 20 dollars.

MESSINA GELATO. Auntie Elise, this one’s for you! So everyone from work, every young person from sydney, and most sydney food blogs mention Messina…now I know why. With a collection of signature and special flavours, they have a repertoire of flavours much classier and fresher than any Ben & Jerry’s shop (YES, there is Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream shops just like there are baskin robins!!). I had Chocolate fondant and salted caramel flavours…definitely to compete with the earl grey gelato had in Vancouver earlier this year! They had a greeter and plenty of staff that made the small space (with view of gelato being freshly made) a buzzing but comfortable place to be. There are locations in Darlinghurst and Surrey hills…perhaps elsewhere as well..but screw tim tams and UGGS, if I could ship anything back it would be Messina Gelato!

We polished off the night at Pocket Bar a small, trendy (maybe a little hipster) lounge unsuspectingly a couple blocks off of oxford. We had some Cider and called it a night…well they did.

I proceeded on to a Drag Christmas show on Oxford where I got a free [half] big mac and then to King’s Cross…Don’t go to King’s Cross….

Continuing on, I’ve gotten a job in Sydney at lululemon based on my experience back home which has been good to make some money and plant my feet a little deeper in Sydney’s vibrant culture. It’s been a really different experience working for a Canadian company in Australia, especially one that has such a strong company culture and brand power at home. To get to work is a bit of a trek, but honestly 33 bucks a week for unlimited train between Bondi Junction and Chatswood chase is pretty cheap and it includes hop-on-hop off to any locations I need to go to in the city (If you buy a weekly train pass in syd after 3pm you get the day you’re buying it on as a bonus)! ALSO I get to see the opera house as the train crosses the harbour bridge EVERY day…HOW COOL!

I also have a quick awesome holiday story. So I was an idiot and put my train pass through the wash the DAY I bought it :(. I got to the train early this morning to beg for a new one with my reciept and the supervisor basically said that my mild dew (hyperhydrosis) of nervousness combined with my foreign accent (Still getting used to being ‘foreign’) amounted to enough charm and gave me a new one!!!! I’m not by any means saying you should try and con City Rail….but I just think based on my experiences in Australia lately that maybe us North American folk could benefit from bending the rules a little more often, because the leniency here has honestly made my time tenfold better.

Proceeeeeeding on. My knee is almost better…that means MOJO SURF Round 2!! Super excited and terrified. After running form Bondi Junction to Bronte Beach and back…and 3 days later still not being able to properly flex my left leg, 3 days of surf could be excruciating for the arms/core.

That being said, being with lululemon means YOGA AGAIN. SO excited to get started into my sweat routine again, and will definitely keep you posted on any great studio finds. On the hit list: Barre and skipping classes!!

Chrissy at Bondi…the typical backpackers/orphan christmas. Good thing that Christmas and boxing day (my only days off) were probably the only bad weather days that Bondi has seen since I arrived almost 2 weeeks ago. As we do, we rallied up some goon and trekked to the beach anyway. With our portable bbq’s (YES, amazing right!! What looks like a lasagna tray and has coles, a grill, and matches ready to smoke away) burgers and condiments we had a great day. We had the security guards tell us many times not to drink on the beach…then the police came, told us we could get cheap tickets to the beach party, Sunburnt, and left without a problem. Our theory, the security guards were just jealous of our fun.

Also, Chatswood chase: Upscale mall….Chatswood (the street its on) is basically mini china town. I’m seriously struggling passing by all the asian dollar stores and cheap restaurants on the way to and from work every day. For the first week of work they actually had street vendors as well-big love (There’s ALWAYS free samples:P).

Upcoming, we have 10 days left in our rental flat (WHICH IS LUXURIOUS)….then I will be moving to a double room in Wake Up Sydney to ease the transition back to hostels and live in the heart of the action of Sydney’s CBD…then Wollongong….then Melbourne…then NEW COUNTRY: New Zealand. And before that all happens, New years in Sydney!! Apparently the biggest most epic fireworks in the world–keep you posted!

Bites in Byron

As if I didn’t love it enough already Byron Bay has an unreal, diverse food scene.  As my friend Danny would say, they replicate things VERY well in Australia.  I feel like my taste buds have already travelled the globe.  Favourite spots so far?

1)Belporto Portugese style chicken burgers.  SO fresh, healthy, and tasty.  They have their own chili sauce that adds a mad kick to any of the options on their small but deadly menu.  Hidden in a bit of an allyway, even though it’s not a secret at all it adds to the ‘whole in the wall’ appreciation. Less than $8 for a massive burger that will fill you up!

2) slice pizza.  Also down an allyway close to the beach.  It was a bit pricy…for a backpacker ($10 for 2 slices and a pop).  Seriously better pizza than I had in Italy.  All sorts of amazing flavours from veggie, to bolognese definitely a worth while stop pre or post sunset walk!

3)I can’t remember the names of 3 or 4…but if you see a Mexican joint and a bakery next to each other they are the ones I’m talking about.  (Byron is small enough that you’ll figure it out).  Mexican burritos etc. …pretty good…$4 fish tacos: amazing.  You probably need 2, but they are so flavorful…and they have cilantro, so I’m happy.

4) the bakery, savory croissants that put Edmonton’s Duchess Bake Shop to shame. What look like amazing baguettes and macarons as well.

5)Vegan/vegetarian place….name also forgotten.  If I had those recipes I wouldn’t eat meat or dairy every again either.  I’ve only tried the pumpkin cake…but it was amazing. (Aussies love their pumpkin & Beetroot…)

6) Mokha.  Treated myself to a good breakfast today to counteract the damage goon 3 nights in a row has probably done.  I got the “Bay Omelette”…$15 for a 3 free range egg omelette with salmon, cream cheese, dill, avocado, and a roasted tomato.  Served with home made organic sourdough bread.  Not greasy at all. Simply great.

7) some Indian place down the asian allyway…its an ally parallel to the beach that has japanese, thai, indian, and a random greek place.  The indian was so flavorful and less than $10 for a bowl of rice with 3 curries.  So full, and such great flavors for a relatively excellent price.

8) Euro Sushi.  $2.50 per role which is about 3 inches wide…like an uncut 3 rolls in North America.  Super fresh, TONS of options…and pretty cheap considering 2 rolls typically fills me up.  It is interesting how sushi in every beach town so far has meant rolls…never just fish…and rarely any cooked Japanese food.


On my backpacker budget that’s been as far as I’ve gotten….although I think I’ve done pretty well and found some pretty good deals along the way as well.  I’m currently trying really hard not to let myself indulge in the handmade jewlery as much as I have in the food.  Both because metal is heavy to carry…and I’m really not as loaded as I seem to think I am these days.