J.R. Tolkien

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R. Tolkien

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

10 meals from around the world for under $10

Do you know that JCPS has over 107 languages spoken in its classrooms?  It’s an indication of the great cultural hot pot we have in our lovely city.  Internationals brighten our social fabric and make a city just a tad more interesting with their rich cultural heritage.  For us foodies, it also means great eats from around the world without stepping foot very far.  Even better, we can enjoy these delicious feast for $10 or under.

Half chicken 
Yummy Pollo (Peruvian) 
This new comer in the Newburg neighborhood offers great free ranged charcoal chicken starting at $6.25 (quartered chicken) to $ 8.45 (half).  All meals come with two sides and sauces.  The chicken is tender and fall off the bone good.  The owner is the friendliest, he’s always ready with a big smile and a hearty hello.
Chicago hot dog & chili cheese fries
Lonnie’s Best Taste of Chicago (American)
You’re immediately transported to another time and place as soon as you step into Lonnie’s small Chicago style diner.  The prices and hospitality are definitely from a bygone era, you can get a Chicago hot dog (large pieces of tomato, cucumber, peppers and relish) for $3.59.  Complete your meal with an order of fries for $2.49 and a soft drink.  If hot dog is not your thing, they also have Italian beef, sausage, burgers, gyros, po’boys etc. for under $10.

New Orleans Roll 
Sapporo Sushi & Sake Bar & Restaurant (Japanese)
This hip and happening sushi joint is not known for cheap eats, but there’s a strategy.  Come at happy hours (5 – 6:30 p.m. Monday - Sunday), grab a seat at the bar and order from the happy hour menu.  You’ll be seated faster, get the cucumber salad for free and your meal comes with refreshing orange slices for dessert.  You’ll be happily stuffed with the VIP Roll for $10 or choose from the 12 items priced at $3, $6 or $10.  If you don’t want to limit yourself to happy hours, check out ToGo Sushi, they have a lot of great sushi rolls for $10 and under.  Your meal comes with a free miso soup and orange slices for dessert.

Fish tacos
Taqueria Ramirez (Mexican)
There are so many cheap taco places but I’m settling for this new restaurant in the Buechel Area.  The fresh tacos cost only $1.99/each.  You can easily be stuffed with three, complete your meal with the rich and delicious flan ($2.99).  I usually don’t like corn tortilla but it’s really delicious here.  Ask for the jalapeno curtidos (it’s free), these pickled vegetables are my favorite new discoveries.

Phnom Phenh Noodles 
Cafe Thuy Van (Vietnamese)
You might be the odd man out in this mainly Vietnamese restaurant, but it’s worth the awkwardness when you finally sink your teeth into the flavorful $4 grilled pork banh mi sandwich.  Order two or add 2 egg/spring rolls for only $3.50.  For a great hang over cure, get the $7.50 pho (beef noodle soup) or any of the other soupy noodle dishes for under $10.

Photo source: Sam's Gyros
Sam’s Gyros (Mediterranean)
My husband will be disappointed if I don’t include his absolute favorite gyro place.  For only $6.87, you will get an overstuffed gyros (beef or chicken), French fries and a drink.  My husband loves that the gyros has lots of meat, unlimited toppings and the sauce on the side compliments the flavor.  I’m not a gyros fan in general, my favorite here is the Egyptian gentleman manning the business.

Spicy basil with tofu
 Ginza Asian Bistro (Thai)
Yes, you can get cheap Thai food in town, just make sure you go during lunch hours.  Ginza offers pad thai, spicy basil, pad kee mow, red or green curry starting at $6.95 (chicken), $7.50 (beef) and $8.50 (shrimp).  Use your Pinpoint Perks coupon and you can get this meal for a dollar cheaper.  Or go with a friend get $5 off of $25. The lunch special comes with a choice of miso soup or salad.  The spicy basil is my favorite.  Even though the meal is cheap, the presentation and the restaurant atmosphere is anything but.

Goodies from the buffet
Abyssinia (Ethiopian)
Travel to the other side of the world to Ethiopia via a buffet of exotic flavors during lunch (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) for only $7.95.  The all you can eat menu consisting of tender vegetables, a salad bar, meats, stews and cookies.  It’s a great way to be adventurous without the risk of not liking your meal.  Just grab a bit of everything and come back to the ones you like for more.

A little bit of everything
Oriental House (Chinese) 
If you want your Chinese food a little less fast and generic, stop by Oriental for a slow paced authentic experience.  You can easily find $10 and under big portion meals with top notch flavors (the flat stir fry noodles is delicious!).  For a super cheap meal, order from a dozen small items on the dim sum menu, all are under $5.50.  If you must splurge, get the $11.95 shrimps with glazed pecans, it’s nicknamed the “cracked shrimp”.  It’s that addicting.

Photo: Javier, Yelp
Shandaar (Indian) - CLOSED
This came highly recommended by a fellow Yelper who’s Indian and is on the top of my "new restaurants to try" list.  The restaurant offers buffet for only $8.99, which judging from the photos, has lots of options.  Check their facebook page for the buffet menu.  It’s updated daily 30 minutes before they open.  

With so many restaurants in Louisville, it’s hard to include them all. I’ll be back for more top 10 list of other great international places to eat.