I hate to steal a line from Justin Trudeau, but I have to say that here in London, diversity is our strength. The Prime Minister was talking about multiculturalism… I’m talking about the kitchen.

The best part of living in the city is the wide array of food from around the world available in all corners of the city.

Being a guy who doesn’t really stray from bus routes, most of my favourite places are pretty close to one another.

Being a cheap son of a bitch, most of my favourite places are also easy on the wallet.

ENAT – 379 Horton Street East

Enat is my favourite place to eat in the city, hands down!

This small Ethiopian restaurant on Horton Street literally has something for all five senses.

Sight – The interior is brightly coloured with plenty of Ethiopian adornments on the walls.

Smell – Walk into the place and the scent of spices and (if you’re lucky) roasting coffee will make waiting for your food utter agony.

Enat restaurant - 379 Horton Street.
Enat restaurant – 379 Horton Street.

Sound – There is always upbeat African music playing, complete with a television playing music videos non-stop.

Touch – Since your hands are your cutlery here, this one is a given. It makes your meal a more meaningful experience, especially when sharing.

Taste – I don’t have the words to justify how delicious the food is at Enat (which makes me a terrible food writer). But, the injera bread is a tangy delight and the perfect vehicle for your doro wat, tibs, or anything else you desire.

The Enat platter – which comes with a little bit of everything – is a steal at $11.95 per person.

Wear a long shirt when you go so you can discreetly unbutton your pants when you inevitably get way too full.

VIET THAI – 216 Horton Street

Now that Fuse is over on Bathurst Street, this is my favourite place for an inexpensive lunch.

Tucked into the corner of Horton and Clarence Street, Viet Thai is another place to go if you want something quick, spicy, and affordable. Eat-in, pickup or delivery, this place is great for all your pan-Asian needs.

Viet Thai Restaurant - 216 Horton Street,
Viet Thai Restaurant – 216 Horton Street.

My go-to here is the spicy beef soup with vermicelli (#207 on the menu). While I’ve sampled many of their tasty offerings, nothing hits the spot like this nectar of the beef gods.

If you take my advice and order the soup, get it extra spicy. It will cure pretty much anything that ails you.

When I’m sick with a cold and need something to get the sinuses unblocked, I just give Viet Thai a call and within 15 minutes, I have the remedy ready and waiting.

Unless you are absolutely starving, make sure you start with a small soup. It’s anything but.

Once you throw in the generous amounts of vermicelli noodles and sprouts, you got yourself a full meal. At $6.95, I’d challenge anyone to fill up at a more reasonable rate.

WOK N CHOPSTICKS – 198 Dundas

Until I googled the place to find its street address for this article, I always thought the name was a play on rockin’ chopsticks – as in the place rocks. I never once thought it was walk-in, which is how this place serves its customers.

Wok 'N Chopsticks - 198 Dundas.
Wok ‘N Chopsticks – 198 Dundas.

Each day of the week, they have a different $5.95 lunch special that can easily serve as both lunch and dinner. They also serve pizza and several other dishes, but as I said… I’m cheap and the food is good.

Any time I’m roaming the downtown streets and need an affordable bite to eat, I stop in. The only seating in the place are stools and high counters along the walls, lending itself perfectly to the notion of a quick bite.

Tuesday is Pad Thai day. It’s sweet, hot, and meaty (I’ve been called the same) and just what you need to get through another long afternoon at work.

KLEIBER’S DELI – Covent Garden Market

The Covent Garden Market is a wonderful escape from the city streets, and provides an almost anxiety-inducing amount of choice for where to eat.

However, there is one place that stands above them all when it comes to home-style eating at reasonable rates, and that’s Kleiber’s Delicatessen. I’m German on my mother’s side, and have eaten my fair share of the cuisine over the years.

Kleiber's Deli in the Covent Garden Market.
Kleiber’s Deli in the Covent Garden Market.

Kleiber’s serves up one of my all-time favourite foods, and one that I would rather order than make myself…

Cabbage rolls.

They are cheap ($3 I think? – It’s been a month or so), and super filling. They are just like the ones your mom makes, minus the smell of cabbage lingering in the house for two weeks afterward.

I’d recommend bringing your own cutlery, however, because when you get close to the cabbage stem, those plastic jobbies just don’t ‘cut it’.

BURGER KING

Yeah, you may say it’s low-brow, but Burger King is THE best fast food joint in the history of fast food joints.

Two reasons:

1 – the Whopper Junior

2 – another Whopper Junior

Perfection in a tiny package... The Whopper Junior.
Perfection in a tiny package… The Whopper Junior.

I’m a big fan of the junior myself. Two of these little babies and you’re off to the races, or the polo grounds, or wherever burger royalty gather. Why not just order a regular Whopper, Gerard?

Because Whoppers, while heavenly, are sloppy. They are a big burger and require two hands at all times. With the Whopper Junior, you can (but shouldn’t) eat while driving, reading, choking a subordinate using only the Force…

You get the point. Now go get a Whopper Junior.

HELP ME, HELP YOU

Now that I’ve spilled the metaphorical beans, I could use your help. I’m always on the lookout for a tasty deal.

Where do you go when you’re big on hunger and low on cash, London? Help this humble author get his next nosh and fill up the comments with delicious destinations!

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