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Bánh mì ga roti at Cô Châm. All photos by Melissa Lefebvre.

Best Of: Cheap Eats in Chinatown, Little Italy, and Hintonburg

By Melissa Lefebvre on July 8, 2016

Whether you are on a tight budget or just a fan of being frugal, Ottawa has a great selection of cheap eats to keep your belly and wallet full. In fact, there are so many great spots that if we tried to cover them all in one post, too many good places would be left out. That’s why we’ve narrowed it down to just a few neighborhoods this time, but stay tuned for more.

Kaashi Food Centre, 802 Somerset St W

Kaashi Food Centre has an excellent variety of South Asian snacks (savory and sweet) all made fresh by Jyotika. The last time I was there, she had fenugreek naan, chapati rolls, onion bhaji, vegetable pakora, and my favourite, her baked samosas! The prices are very low, a couple of dollars at most, depending on what you get. Jyotika also makes butter chicken, curries, and more to take home for about $6. If you like South Asian food, you definitely have to try Kaashi.

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Cô Châm, 780 Somerset St W

Cô Châm is cute little Vietnamese restaurant that offers great food at a great price. They do 5 different kinds of bánh mì sandwiches for take-out, each for only $3. If you buy 5, you get one free. I’m a big fan of their chicken roti sandwich (bánh mì ga roti), with its sweet and spicy chicken pieces, pickled carrots, and cilantro. Their assorted pork pâté sandwiches are also really popular. If you’re looking for a sit-down dining experience, they have soups and noodle and rice dishes too, all for under $10.

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Kowloon Market, 712 Somerset St W

When you first enter Kowloon Market, you’ll find yourself in their bakery section, where they have a sizable selection of savory and sweet buns. Among their many buns you’ll find BBQ pork, beef curry, and tuna on the savory side, and custard and pineapple if you’re looking for something sweet. The buns are only $1.29 a piece, and if you buy in bulk they are even cheaper. You can also get 4 spring rolls for just $1

DiRienzo’s Grocery & Deli, 111 Beech St

DiRienzo’s on Beech is famous in Ottawa for their gigantic $6 sandwiches filled with Italian deli meats sliced to order. Insider tip: ask them to add their spicy eggplant to your sandwich. They also have a selection of hot pastas for the same price. If you have a sweet tooth or want to treat your family and friends, they have Italian pastries like cannolis and sfogliatelle up at the cash (even more variety on weekends). Don’t be alarmed by the lineup, especially at lunchtime. They move things along quickly and the reward is worth the wait.

Sam’s Café, 102 Fairmont Ave

Sam’s Cafe in the Fairmont Confectionery is a cheap eats gem that sits on the corner of Gladstone and Fairmont. They have a variety of bánh mì sandwiches for $3 and $4, like my favourite, chicken curry. If Vietnamese sandwiches are not your thing, they also do soups, vermicelli bowls, curries and more for a very reasonable price. There are a few tables inside, and in the summer they set up a nice little patio outside, complete with fans to keep you cool and water for your dog. Not only is the food good, but the owners, Sam and Sandy, make the experience even more enjoyable.

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Sherwood Market & Deli, 111 Sherwood Dr.

Sherwood Market is another place you may have gone past many times without knowing that within was one of the best (and cheapest) sandwiches in town. Located just off of Carling, it looks like a regular convenience store at first, but at the back, you’ll find their famous sandwich counter. My favorite is the BBQ chicken and avocado sandwich. It comes on Rideau Bakery egg bread, and is packed full of fresh rotisserie chicken, and topped with their Sherwood sauce. It is messy, delicious, and will only cost you $5.49.

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These are some of my favourite cheap eats, what are yours? Comment below.