When you stay up all night cramming and have to pick between showering for the first time in two days or making a lunch, finding cheap food on-the-go can be a necessity. It’s easy to grab a sandwich at Tim’s or a McDicks burger on the cheap, but some days you just want to eat like royalty without royally screwing your credit score.
Here are three options under $10 at each campus to keep you off the corner and the collection agency’s call list.
1. Pho Tam
Located directly across the street from the Surrey Central SkyTrain entrance/exit, this gem is usually packed because everyone from Surrey knows it’s the place to go for Pho. The portions are huge, and for $7 you get a bowl of soup large enough to feed a small family. Even if soup with floating meats isn’t your jam, only one of the dinner items is more than $9, and it’s enough food to share with someone else. If you’re feeling fancy, get the Salted Lemon Soda. It might sound weird but it’s refreshing and worth the extra $2.75.
2. Top King’s
With a mix of Canadianized Chinese and traditional dishes, Top King’s is another Surrey favourite. Located in the same complex as Pho Tam but directly facing the station, their buffet-style menu is insanely affordable. Three items with steamed rice is a whopping $5.50 while two will only set you back $4.75. Everything there is good, but the beef and green beans and the sesame chicken really do it for me.
3. Boston Pizza on a Tuesday
Ok, so you’ll have to spend $9.95, but deal with it. Pasta Tuesdays mean what would normally be a $16 pasta dish is yours, with a side of garlic toast, for $9.95. This is the perfect option for post-cram session eats. If you’re able to drive, BP is open until 1:00 a.m. (later than the SkyTrain), so you can wallow in spaghetti until the wee hours after flunking that midterm or treat a date to a dinner that turns into late dessert that turns into breakfast. Schwing!
1. The Famous Warehouse
Once a food-primary dive-bar that kept menu prices low so bros could keep drinking without having to spend a mint, The Warehouse now has multiple locations whose food menu contains nothing over $4.95. And we’re not talking “french fries” and “grilled cheese.” On Sundays you can get steak and prawns for $4.95. Some people question the quality, but when you’re getting a full meal with wrapped cutlery for under $5, don’t expect gastronomie.
2. Nu Greek
A short walk down Hastings onto Water St, Nu Greek offers Souvlaki in a pita for $7, or $5 for students with a valid ID. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can grab a chicken lunch plate for $9 which comes with all the fixings you’d expect with a usual souvlaki dinner. It’s fresh and it has a really cute vintage café if you have time to eat in.
3. The Cambie
The Cambie recently released a student-budget centred menu, most likely to compete with the newly erected Hasting’s Warehouse. Really, who cares why. Cash in while you can. Their $5 menu is in effect from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and includes pulled pork tacos, cobb salad and mac ‘n’ cheese. Pitchers are usually cheap, too. I’m just sayin’.
1. Club Ilia
Newly moved into the MBC food court, Ilia’s lunch buffet offers a decent daily variety and good value for the money paid. This isn’t your usual cafeteria-style dining experience. The baba ganoush is fresh, and the fish has never disappointed. It’s hard to cook fish right at the best of time, but en masse and kept warm in a bain-marie behind a sneeze guard? Kudos to them. You won’t be disappointed.
2. The Ladle
For $9 here, you can feed three people moderately. But if you’re the only one ordering, you can eat like a damn king. Get a large soup AND a panini or grilled cheese or tofu nuggets. Get mac-n-cheese and get them to put some tomato soup on top. Go buck wild, because you won’t be paying more than $9. And if they have the Arabian Nights hummus soup, get it all while you can. It is hands-down their best.
3. The Highland Pub on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Unadvertised, but after 5, Tuesdays are Toonie Tuesdays at the Highland, where you can get a cheeseburger, a basket of fries, jalapeno poppers, cheese sticks or edamame, all for $2. Wing Wednesdays offer ¢25 wings (they come in dozens, so it works out to $3 a basket). The pub has saved me countless times when I’m screwed until Friday payday. Tuesdays and Wednesdays make up for paying regular price other days at the pub, and frankly, you’re not an SFU student until Darryl, one of the managers at the pub, knows your name.