How To Eat Cheap In Wellington

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.

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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!

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Meat:
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!


Fast Food:

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.

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Restaurants

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!

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23 Replies to “How To Eat Cheap In Wellington”

  1. Oh New Zealand is truly beautiful, but yup, food could really be expensive. Thank you so much for this guide! Might really be useful for the future. 🙂

    1. It sure is! I can’t wait to explore the area more.

  2. Great list. I loved the Wellington foodie scene when I was there years ago. Great tip on the markets. They really are the healthiest and cheapest in most countries.

    1. Definitely. I nearly died when I saw the prices in the supermarkets…farmers markets all the way!

  3. Wow! I didn’t realise NZ food was so affordable and so diverse! Although I shouldn’t have read this whilst on a diet, all I can think about now is Taco Tuesdays!!

    1. I’m now wishing today was taco Tuesday! 🙁

  4. I love shopping for food in local markets! And just like you I tend to avoid supermarkets for fruit and the likes, also in Hawaii the fruit was pricey and somehow it didn’t even look so fresh. Yet the local markets had the best fruits and vegetables for a cheap price: I got addicted!

    1. So true! I expected to be living on fresh fruit all the time in Hawaii but it all looked so sad in the stores! Markets are definitely the way forward 🙂

  5. Oh it all looks so good! I had no idea the food was so expensive there – nice to know and to be able to plan for in the future. I love Taco Tuesday & Wing night LOL!! Thank you for sharing.

    1. I wish it was tacos every night! 🙁

  6. Great ideas. I had the same quest in Copenhagen – it is also a very expensive city to eat.

    1. I loved Copenhagen but so true, not the cheapest! Just don’t jump into the first place you find, shop around for cheap eats!

  7. It was so interesting to read about the prices. The Dominos pizza is pretty much the same price and more expensive here in Bulgaria considering it is one of the cheapest countries in Europe. I would definitely invest time in the fruit and veg market if I was there. I have also heard about the notorious prices in NZ and Australia.

    1. You just need to shop around and know where to find those cheap eats!

  8. When I go to Wellington, I will definitely be eating at the Night Market. It sounds like my kind of place.

  9. Cool suggestions. I like the sound of Chicken Katsu Bowls. They sound really interesting. What was that ice cream drink? It looks fabulous!

    1. That’s an iced latte…normally in the likes of Starbucks you just get a normal latte poured over ice…here, they mix it with ice cream and add all the bells and whistles they can think of! Delicious!

  10. Ooooo, I just love foodie posts and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. Chicken katsu is my favorite so I’d definitely go for the bowls. Great posts, thanks for sharing 🙂
    Carmen’s Luxury Travel recently posted…Top 5 NYC Restaurants to Try in 2017My Profile

    1. I made the mistake of ordering the big bowl for lunch yesterday…it was huuuuuge! So much katsu goodness!

  11. I haven’t been to NZ (yet), but I love exploring the food scene in different countries. Will have to save this list!

    1. The food scene in Wellington is incredible! They say there are more bars, cafes & restaurants per sq foot here than there are in New York!

  12. I LOVE foodie posts, especially when it comes to saving money! Good food doesn’t have to be expensive. Bookmarking this for when I’m in Wellington – thanks for sharing 🙂 Happy travels!
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted…A Luxurious Stay in the City of Lights – Hilton Opera ParisMy Profile

    1. Exactly! I think people always assume eating out has to mean stuff like McDonald’s but look around a little more and you really can find some delicious bargains.

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