7. Ice cream, Cuba
Due in part to trade restrictions and food-supply issues, Cuban cuisine doesn’t tend to be as exciting as many of its Caribbean neighbours. Eating at local restaurants, outside of the most touristed areas, is certainly cheap, but it’s rarely a gastronomical delight.
But, for a mouthwatering, inexpensive treat, go to one of the popular Coppelia ice-cream shops – here you can buy the sweet stuff for next to nothing.
Ice cream from Coppelia © Inspired by Maps/Shutterstock
One of the most delicious dishes in Morocco, tajine is also fantastic value. Interestingly, the word “tajine” describes the vessel that the meal is cooked in – a tall, earthenware pot – rather than the food itself.
Tajines tend to include slow-cooked red meat with dried fruit, vegetables and nuts, or chicken with lemons and olives, and can cost just 30dh. It’s a good idea to seek out small restaurants in the Medina for the best prices.
Tajines © Peter Wollinga/Shutterstock
If you’re a fan of fiery food, try a Sri Lankan “lunch packet” for the cheapest afternoon meal around.
These packets, served between 11am and 2pm, stacked up in towers of boxes outside stalls and cafés, tend to include steamed rice, curried meat or fish, vegetables and sambol (a coconut dish often sprinkled over meals). Try one and you’ll feel like a real Sri Lankan local.
10. Shawarma, Oman
While its roots are in the eastern Mediterranean, shawarma is one of Oman’s most popular meals, and some shops sell thousands of portions each day.
Marinated chicken, beef or mutton is spit-roasted before being wrapped in bread with layers of salad. In the evening, shawarma shops teem with people tucking in at tables or queueing for bargain-priced takeaway orders.
Shawarma outlet © Nadir Keklik/Shutterstock
The tacos in Mexico are a little different to their western namesake – rather than a hard shell, they’re encased in a small, soft, round wrap.
Find a street-corner kiosk and you may be able to purchase these tasty little parcels for just 60 pesos. Along with the meat filling, you’ll discover all sorts of toppings on offer, including fresh vegetables and, of course, Mexico’s most famous export: salsa.
Taco stand © Kartinkin77/Shutterstock
Just visiting Thailand’s colourful, crowded, food-stall-packed markets is a tantalising, sensory experience in itself – and then there’s the food.
Pad thai, a tempting stir-fried noodle dish, is one of the best-value options. It is even said to have promoted unity in the country in the 20th century, when the then-Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram used it to encourage patriotism by hailing pad thai a national dish.
Pad thai © Room98/Shutterstock
13. Jerk chicken, Jamaica
While jerk chicken now pops up from London to Los Angeles, the fiery wings’ roots are in Jamaica. Cooked over an open fire, the spiced, marinated chicken or pork (or even fish) is at its best flaking off the bone, eaten as the sun goes down.
Or, for a street feast, try pan chicken. Fired in the same marinade over coal in an ex-oil barrel, it pops up on street corners on weekend evenings.
Jerk chicken © VisFineArt/Shutterstock
14. Ta’amiya, Egypt
Egypt’s answer to falafel, ta’amiya is made from coriander- or parsley-flavoured, deep-fried fava-bean patties. Using fava beans rather than chickpeas makes it moister and arguably more flavoursome than its Middle Eastern cousin.
Indeed, it turns out that Egypt was probably the first to create these balls of veggie goodness, as evidence of the recipe has apparently been found as early as 3000 years ago, during the time of the pharaohs. Sandwiched between pitta bread, it’s one of Egypt’s tastiest street foods.
15. Pizza, Italy
Pizza, pasta, gelato, espresso: Italy’s gastronomy is one of the best in the world. And, while pizza is a relatively cheap eat the world over, it’s at its most flavoursome and, naturally, most authentic in its home country – and in Italy you can find margheritas for a few euros. Stay off the beaten track for the very best.
Pizza preparation © Monika Wisniewska/Shutterstock