$1-Food Challenge in Asia

Food is an essential fuel when traveling. Without it, you’ll end up like a car whose engine is nothing but crap. And dead. However, when you’re backpacking / traveling, your gastronomic sense is in full mode—you want to try the local food for the love of it, for the experience of it, for the fun of it, for the challenge of it, or for the heck of it! For the adventurous tongue, eating disgusting food a country is famous for would be enticing. Eww!

For some (or many) of us, how much you spend on food matters. You don’t want to splurge a generous amount of dollars in every meal and snack you eat unless you are loaded. When I’m on a trip, I do eat cheap–a dollar or two a meal, if that’s possible. And it is still possible—in Asia! I don’t eat much, anyway. Breakfast food is way cheaper than lunch and dinner for sure. In the morning, there are food carts anywhere on the streets of Bangkok, Manila, Seoul, Beijing and Hongkong selling breakfast—and cheap. Yes, I tried foods being sold on streets and in small restaurants. And at dinner, after a long day of sightseeing and walking, I surely treat myself to more than a dollar good meal but nothing fancy. Truth be told: I’m a sucker for buffet. I’m not a food critic, anyway. LOL…

With the help of good souls, this $1-Food Challenge in Asia is made possible. Without their generous time and wealth, this blog entry won’t be in existence. To each one of you, I owe you a dollar. But, perhaps, by the time I see you again to personally pay you back, your dollar has increased its value.

“Thanks a lot”, my stomach says.

bangladesh food challenge in asia

Photo and text credit: Ishita and her friend.

Exchange rate: $1  =  78 Taka

Afternoon tasty snack:  Dal Puri, Alu Chop, Shingara, Piyaju (cost Tk40)
Tehari : a spicy rice dish cooked with beef.  (cost Tk70)  Lunch/ Dinner
Porota-Bhaji : Porota is flat-bread and Bhaji is mixed vegetable.  (cost Tk30) Breakfast

myanmar food challenge in asia

Photo and text credit: Jeff

Exchange rate: $1  = 880 Burmese Kyat (MMK)

* Rice and green veggies with 2 fried eggs and strawberries that were turned into juice. All of it for $1.
* For 1$ you get 20 pieces of betels.  The white liquid is a lime mix that you put on a betel leaf . Then you have 2-3 small pieces of betel nuts with all sort of tobacco and spices . You do not really eat it (although some Burmese do) but only chew. It reduces hunger.
*Htoe Mote is a small snack from Mandalay. It’s a sweet made of rice powder, sugar, oil that becomes the jelly and on top is dry coconuts. I paid 1$ for a box that contains this amount. Under the plate is a Canadian sausage wrapped in a dark reddish pant which is obviously more than $1.
South Korea food challenge

Photo credit: Sam

Exchange rate: $1  = 1,127 Korean Won (KRW)

Bottled juices and a piece of cucumber. The 225 grams biscuit costs $2. So, half of it is $1. LOL… But then, you can’t buy it in half packet.
Thai Food challenge

Photo credits: Jonel and Mimi

Exchange rate: $1  = 29 Baht (THB)

Jonel says the microwaveable food in his refrigerator all cost $1. If you stay in a hostel with microwave, then, this is good for your limited budget. The porridge with the fish salad comes free.

Mimi says that pork noodle soup can be bought anywhere in Thailand. Check out her local road asia website.

Hongkong food challenge

Photo credit: HNM

Exchange rate: $1  = 7.7 Hongkong Dollar (HKD)

Three apples cost HNM 7.9 HKD.

Indonesian Food challenge

Photo credit: Josh

Exchange rate: $1  = 9,705 Indonesia Rupiah (IDR)

Josh says chicken noodle is a common food of the Indonesians.

Indian Food Challenge

Photo credit: Lisette

Exchange rate: $1  = 54.5 Indian Rupee (INR)

Lisette says this is her dinner from her school canteen that cost her RS40 ($80 cents)! It consists of Raita (white on the top),  curd with spices, chicken biryani, chick peas in a spicy sauce, and bit of salad.

Japan Food Challenge

Photo credit: Gregor

Exchange rate: $1  = 99.5 Japanese Yen (JPY)

My friend Gregor says that this 2-piece sushi is not really the best one you can get. But, for a dollar, you can’t expect the most delicious sushi ever, right? I doubt if you can find this for a dollar in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka. The tea is free. You don’t even need to ask for it. They’ll give it to you as soon as you are seated.

Japan food challenge

Photo credit: Mochan

Mochan says this two bags of chips and biscuits cost 99 yen. Not bad for a snack, eh? 

Singapore food challenge

Photo credit: Adele

Exchange rate: $1  = 1.24 Singaporean Dollar (SGD)

“This ice cream is usually sold on the street by “ice cream uncles”, who are really just old man selling ice cream on their motorbike-powered stalls. It’s something very nostagic for Singaporeans!”, says Adele.

Photo credit: Ai

Photo credit: Ai

Exchange rate:  $1  = 6.18

It’s called liangpi, cold noodle with cucumber, peanut, vinegar and some hot spices. Ai says it’s a good street food.



A wanderer. A frustrated photographer. Hiker. Lover. Half extrovert, half introvert. Solo traveler.

1 comment

  • Steer food in Thaland used to be cheap. In China, food prices depends on who will buy; they charge more with foreigners. Some stupid restaurants have two kinds of menu in different prices.

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