I am a single-mom with a teenaged son, newly arrived migrant, working full-time, and doing my best to adapt to life in the so-called most isolated city in world - Perth, Western Australia.
Published June 22nd 2013
Mini Mixed Roll for $3.80
One of the perks of working in the Perth Central Business District (CBD) is the luxury of having a variety of restaurants and food outlets nearby. However, it becomes a challenge to temper one's appetite especially if you are sticking to a healthy diet and a limited lunch budget at the same time.
In the vicinity of the western end of CBD, I have discovered a few food outlets that offer healthy lunches that do not cost a fortune. Of course, I'm referring mostly to take-away joints and delis, so forget about those fancy sit-down cafes with cosy but costly ambience. The idea is to grab a take-away and eat in the comfort of your office desk or kitchenette or better yet, get your dose of Vitamin D and sit somewhere in various open areas such as in Central Park, Woodside Plaza or my personal choice, the QV1, because of its refreshing waterfall.
First on my list is Asaka. It's a Japanese restaurant behind His Majesty's Theatre on King Street, Perth's designer district. This small restaurant offers a variety of sushi, sashimi, salads and combo meals. I usually order the mini mixed sushi rolls which costs $3.80 or a small miso soup for $1.70 with fish and chicken katsu that cost $1.50 each. Although the serving portions looks small, I still find this combination really filling and enough to get me throughto the end of the work day.
If you fancy an Italian treat, head to Stuzzico along Milligan Street or Hay Street. For $5, you can get a slice of an authentic Roman style gourmet pizza. Apparently, because no oil is used when the pizza is cooked and real mozzarella cheese is used, you can devour the pizza minus the guilt of getting unwanted fats.
For a really healthy lunch routine, why not burn some calories and take a stroll to Woolworths supermarket in Enex Shopping Mall along St Georges Terrace. You can choose from a variety of ready-made vegetable and fruit salads under $5 from the deli counter. As an alternative, just pick a banana, an apple and other in-season fruits to munch. Just be sure to refrain from looking at the bakery shelves for those yummy freshly-baked muffins.
Another option is Mama Tran along Milligan St. It offers a variety of Vietnamese rice paper rolls, noodles, salads, baguettes and Asian groceries but priced a bit beyond our budget of $5 and way too big a serving for me. However, I recently discovered, when I was on a medically-prescribed diet, that you can just order a bowl of broth for $3 and buy bread in nearby bakery to eat with your soup. This works really well especially during cold winter lunchtimes.
If you had a heavy breakfast or have plans for a gourmet dinner later, then just have a smoothie or freshly squeezed juice from various Java Juice outlets around CBD. For $4.70 you can get a small cup packed with tasty nutrients from various fruits, veggies and herbs/roots. Its website announces that it will be adding food to its menu soon, so we'll see if there would be some healthy options under $5.
Perth CBD workers are spoilt with heaps of gastronomic options around, but it will always be a challenge to be smart and mindful about food choices. They have to be sure that they pick foods that provide the essential nutrients their body needs and complement their spending boundaries as well. I'm sure there are still a lot of cheap, tasty and healthy food options amidst the hustle and bustle of CBD, so watch this space as I continue with my quest for healthy meals that won't break your budget.