10 tasty Vancouver eats that your law school budget can stomach

Ba Le


If you’re anything like me (probably better if you’re not), you like the idea of fine dining more than you actually enjoy the thing itself. Having a very stoic waiter address me as “miss” and carefully drape a napkin across my lap for me while I try to not knock three different types of spoons  off the table just makes me feel super bougie and uncomfortable.

On top of that, I’m a law student and one without a trust fund to boot, which combined, means that I’m not exactly making it rain. So in recognition of my lower-middle class roots and my empty wallet, I present to you some options for dining in Vancouver on the go and on the cheap.

  1. Tung Hing (1196 Kingsway). For the uninitiated, Vietnamese subs (or bahn mi, to be accurate) are deceptively delicious and a far superior option to that evil, weird smelling sandwich chain which shall remain unnamed. A gruff lady will slap together a baguette stuffed with things like cucumber, cilantro, hot peppers, and meat if you’re into that kind of thing, and you will marvel at the party your tastebuds are having. Tung Hing serves a vermicelli/tofu-based vegetarian option in addition to the traditional meat-based subs, and also conveniently doubles as a bakery, so you can make a meal of it with sandwich, beverage, and pastry for less than $10.
  2. Ba Le (various). There is a Ba Le in Chinatown and also one at Fraser and Kingsway. I prefer the Viet subs at Tung Hing, but Ba Le is also a strong contender. The downtown location may not be veg-friendly if I recall correctly, so be wary.
  3. Mitra Canteen (3034 Main Street). Falafels and shawarmas in a low-key, solo-dining friendly environment with beer served by the glass or by the pitcher. Good food and super friendly service.
  4. Babylon Café (various). Babylon Café was most famous for its tiny but ever-popular Robson & Granville storefront, which sadly is no longer around. However, they have various other locations, not all of which I have vetted but which hopefully all serve up the same quality and quantity of Middle Eastern food. I dream of their falafel plates.
  5. Goldies Pizza and Beer Lounge (605 West Pender Street). Respectable thin-crust pizza by the slice at their handy-dandy express window, or by the whole pie should you so choose. Strangely, I’ve never dined in here so I can’t speak to that experience, but all of the slices that I’ve tried whilst on the go have been delicious.
  6. Trilussa (4363 Main Street). Delicious Roman style pizza available by the piece or by the whole pie. They also serve panini and soup with combos available. All served by very lovely staff.
  7. House of Dosas (1391 Kingsway). On Mondays, all dosas are $5.99. Be careful when asked about preferred spice level by the waiter with a malevolent gleam in his eye – I’m usually a “Thai spicy” kind of girl, but the “hot” here is literally like 8 bird’s eye chilies cut up into your dosa, and if you order it that way, you’re going to have a bad time. Open 24 hours!
  8. The Dime (1565 Commercial Drive). All of the food here is $4.95, similar to the Factory and the Warehouse on Granville Street. I refuse to recommend the places on Granville Street on principle alone, so I shall resort to casually mentioning them as an aside if you happen to be into that kind of thing.
  9. Hawkers Delight (4127 Main Street). A bit of a hole in the wall serving Southeast Asian style “street” food at low prices. Vegetarian options available. Cash only.
  10. Bon’s Off Broadway (2451 Nanaimo Street). Bon’s is a bit of a legend, but I have not ever been, mostly because I don’t really do the whole eggs-bacon-toast breakfast thing. But if you do, go to Bon’s to get your fix for a whopping $2.95, all day erry day.

Angela is a 2L who is quickly losing steam with writing up all of these recommendations – but it’s still a better alternative to studying. You won’t find her on Facebook, but you can find her on Twitter at @ange7a or occasionally fleeing Allard Hall at top speeds if you ever want to talk about books, coffee, food, culture, the implications of technological innovation, the colonization of Mars, the meaning of life, or just about anything else.

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