Time and time again the feedback on NZ is that the food is expensive. All I could afford was pasta. I never ate out because it was so expensive. I’m here to show you that eating cheaply is possible…let’s get stuck in!
Fun Fact: Wellington has more cafes & restaurants per square metre than New York….so why on earth would you want to live on pasta the whole time you’re here?!
Sushi: Everywhere in Wellington you can find fantastic sushi from as little as $1 per piece! My personal favourite would be TJ Katsu who have 3 locations in the Capital (Courtenay Place, Featherston & Manners Street). Now I’m not a raw fish eater but the majority of Sushi joints have veggie sushi (ever tried avo & pineapple…delish!) and even katsu chicken sushi! My personal favourite is Spicy crispy chicken sushi at $1.50 for a fairly sizable piece. 3-4 of those is more than substantial for lunch.
Chicken Katsu Bowls: One Sushi offers crispy chicken katsu pieces, crunchy cabbage salad on top of steaming hot rice, $6 small/ $8 large. One of these is filling enough for dinner let alone lunch!
Wellington Night Market: Great for street food. Expect to pay around $10 per meal. With everything ranging from Indian Roti’s to Chinese dumplings to German Bratwurst and everything in between! Every Friday at 116 Cuba Street 5pm-10:30pm & Saturdays Lower Cuba Street 5pm-10:30pm.
Cooking at home? here’s where to find the cheapest ingredients.
Fruit & Vegetables:
Harbourside Market (next to Te Papa Museum) – Every Sunday 7:30am-2:00pm
When i first saw the cost of fruit and vegetables in the supermarkets i almost had a heart attack! $5 for ONE capsicum/pepper?! That is just insane! We then came across the Harbourside market where we could pick up a bag of them for $2-3! My top tip: if you don’t have a car invest in one of those shopping trolleys. Yes, you look ridiculous, but trust me…your hands will thank you for it! We learnt the hard way- our flat is around a 15 minute walk from Te Papa & by the time we got home with our bagful’s of glorious fruit & veggie supplies for the week our hands were falling off!
The market is full of different stalls offering the same fruit and veg. Instead of diving into the first stall be sure to walk around the market and scope out the best prices first. The stall with the cheapest strawberries actually ends up being the most expensive for potatoes. It’s all about making your dollar stretch that little bit further!
And with those savings you can treat yourself to some delicious food from one of the many food trucks next to the market. With everything from Argentinian to Mexican to Lebanese….this is one of my favourite gatherings of food trucks in Welly. I definitely recommend bringing your appetite!
I’m gonna be perfectly honest with you. The price of meat sucks BIG time in NZ! I used to live on chicken breasts at home in the UK, here…definitely not! I find Countdown to be the cheaper supermarket. Also, their branch on Lambton Quay often has items reduced for a quick sale if they are going out of date. My tip- head there late afternoon and pick up some bargains. Either cook the meat up that day or freeze it for another! If you have access to a car I’ve been told Pak n Save also does big packs of cheap meat but I’m not sure if its just big packs of cheap cuts (if anyone knows, let me know in the comments!)
Another good spot for meat is Preston’s Butchers on Torrens Terrace. They often have good deals on big family sized packs on meat. Last week they had a huge 50 piece BBQ pack for just $30! I like to buy their bulk offers then freeze for later.
Chinese supermarkets: Another discovery was Yan’s Asian Supermarket. Right next door to Preston’s and full of gloriously cheap fruit and veg! Sometimes the quality isn’t 100% but i think that’s more because the shop is so god damn hot! They also have some great prices on store cupboard essentials like oil, flours, noodles & seasonings.
Moore Wilsons – Lorne Street (Just off Tory St): Now this may be debatable however I personally find Moore Wilsons to have great deals on local fruit, veg and even some great offers on meat from time to time. The Moana Fish counter has the freshest and tastiest fish in Welly (although not the cheapest!) They also have a trade supermarket where you can buy everything from rice to tins of fruit in bulk which can work out cheaper- as long as you use it! Don’t let all the fancy food blind you, stick to the fresh produce!
Because nothing says cheap eats like junk food!
Burger King offer a ‘Stunner’ Meal which is burger, fries, drink & ice-cream for $6
KFC offer snack boxes from $4.50 that consists of some chicken and fries.
McDonalds offer a ‘More bang for your buck’ menu from $5 – No dollar/pound saver menu here!
Dominos Pizza: Pizzas. From. $4.99. Yes….you read that right…a whole pizza for £2.50!!! How insane is that?! What’s the catch? Pick up only & only value range but they do have everything from plain old margarita to veggie to pepperoni. An awesome cheap treat!
Pizza Hut: They have a similar deal to Dominos only it’s $5.00 per value pizza.
If you fancy eating out and having something other than fast food then keep your eyes peeled. Wellington is bursting with weeknight deals. From all you can eat tacos to buy one get one free mains to free desserts. Here’s my pick of some of the best:
Tequila Joes: All you can eat Taco Tuesday & Wing Wednesday
Cuba St Bistro: Free desserts for every large plate ordered before 6:30pm
Chow: 2 for 1 every Monday
The Crab Shack: $0.50 wings every Wednesday between 3pm-6pm
For a more comprehensive list check out Absolutely Positively Wellington’s list here.
What’s your favourite New Zealand cheap eat? let me know in the comments below!