If you’re looking for cheap eats in downtown Sydney, and you like south-east Asian food, don’t miss Spice Alley.
It’s just a short stroll from Central Station. Perfectly located if you’re visiting the White Rabbit or other Chippendale galleries. The food is good, the vibe is friendly and you can choose from a dozen different cuisines.
Cheap Eats Hawker Style
Spice Alley is a small alleyway just off Broadway. You enter via Kensington Street. It’s foot traffic only with stalls and restaurants lining both sides of the alley.
Between the two are lots of courtyards filled with tables and chairs and festooned with lights and whatever decorations apply for that time of year.
You choose your food from any stall and sit wherever you see a table. None of the outlets accept cash, it’s payment by credit/debit card only.
Although there’s a drinks station you cannot buy alcohol there, it’s all soft – juices, waters and so on. If you want a drink with your meal you can BYO. And some stalls have a small selection of drinks which can include alcohol (usually beer of the country).
If you still want a drink when you’re done there are a couple of very nice bars in Kensington Street.
There’s the Old Clare Hotel at the Broadway end – a very classy, fairly recent reno of a classic old pub. And anchoring the other end is the Handpicked Cellar Door – a great selection of wines by the glass and very friendly service. I like them both.
Back in Spice Alley, the outside tables can get busy at peak lunch and dinner times, but there are lots of them and they turn over quite quickly so it’s rarely a problem. If you think the wait is a bit long for you, then go inside any of the restaurants that line the alley. You’ll almost certainly be able to be seated straight away. Sitting outside is more fun, though.
Snacks and Desserts Too
Spice Alley is not just mains. If you simply want a snack or a dessert you’ll be well suited here.
My weakness – correction, among my many weaknesses, is Eis Cendol, a Malaysian treat with shaved ice, jelly, beans and coconut milk (among other things) and I have to stop myself from ordering the same treat each time I’m there.
Because there are many other, equally lovely ways to finish your meal.
I often bring visitors here – they all love it. It’s buzzy, easy for everyone to find cheap eats they like and you’ll walk away with change from $20 each, without stinting yourself. You can shave it to around $10 if you’re on a really tight budget and you’ll still love it.
If you’re using public transport to get to Spice Alley, the nearest bus stop is Railway Square. If you’re coming by train get off at Central and head towards Railway Square/Broadway.