Thursday 17 May 2012

Bachelor Chow: Budget Eats

Due to popular demand, I will enrich you, Internet, with my secrets of culinary frugality.

And, by popular demand, I mean of course that while nobody has specifically asked me about this I have pre-empted your needs and will deliver to you a list of ways to eat on a shoestring budget.

As the name suggests, this is not a healthy lifestyle; It is a bachelor lifestyle. Attempting to live on this list alone may in fact kill you if adhered to long enough.

A quick word on my scoring system; It's all based on the universally acknowledged and accepted Dick Butt scale. It's much like the star rating system, but funnier. Meaning the more stars it has got, the better. The reason I'm clarifying this now is because these are the metrics I will be judging them
  • Effort: The amount of effort that is required to make the dish. This takes into account preparation of ingredients, time it takes to cook and also the time it takes to eat. Why? 'Cause sometimes I haven't got time to eat, dammit. I'm playing games and require sustenance quickly.
  • Effect: The effect it has on you in a biological sense. This includes hunger satisfaction after completing meal, potential indigestion traps and even possible gastronomical side effects.
  • Taste: This one is fairly self explanatory, I hope.
  • Overall (with Tilt): This is a the final score I will give a dish that will most likely represent the aggregate score of the previous measures, however I may tilt the scale either way due to a) variables unknown to yourself, b) An pro of con somehow unaccounted for in the previous scales, or c) Due to my dubious math skills. Either way, you'll never know.
So, to summarise: The higher the star rating, the better. A "high" effort rating is actually a low effort meal. Get it? Well I don't care, I'm doing it anyway.

The first dish here is one that may of you will be familiar with, and those of you who are will also know that no budget eating list on the planet would be complete without it.

1. Indomie Mi Goreng Noodles
There's not really much to say about Mi Goreng, other than to point out that it basically invented Bachelor Chow. Uni students as far back as 1983 have been cooking these delicious noodles, and there is even Facebook Fan Pages in its honour. Wait, isn't there a Facebook Fan page on everything? Well, almost. Shut up, it's great anyway.

It's quite easy to cook, as everything on this list. Everyone makes their Mi Goreng different, however this is how I do it.

  • Mi Goreng Noodle Packet
  •, that's it.
Price: Anywhere from 30c to about 80c a packet, depending where you buy them
  1. Chuck the noodles in a saucepan with boiling water
  2. Open the 17 thousand different flavour sachets and chuck them in a bowl. Okay, there's only like 5 or 6. But, they require scissors to open; There's a point deduction right there.
  3. Drain the water from your now-cooked noodii and dump it in the bowl. You know, the one with the ingredients.
  4. Mix through, and let stand for 1-2 minutes.

They taste delicious, but are not very filling. Protip though: Do not eat too close to bedtime or you'll wake up at about 4 am with a fire in your chest. Unless, you know, that's what you're going for. Whatever.

2. Cheese and Pepper Pasta
Okay, so I haven't actually tried this exact version of the dish, but I've had just pasta and cheese so I assume it's pretty much the same... except for pepper. Apparently the pepper is an awesome addition, so I'll put it up here. It's basically a bastardised version of a traditional Italian dish, and it's easy to make.

  • Pasta
  • Tasty cheese
  • Pepper
Price: $10-$12 or so will get you enough ingredients to make about 4 meals, so the price average is pretty good.
  1. Bring water to the boil and throw in pasta
  2. Grate cheese
  3. Drain cooked pasta and stir in grated cheese and cracked pepper

It's pretty tasty (on account of that tasty cheese no doubt), and it is also quite filling. The only issue I personally have with it is the dairy content doesn't agree with me so well sometimes, but most people should be fine with it.

3. Sausage Jaffle
I have no idea how common this dish it, but I suspect not very. A cursory Google search didn't turn up any results, so it's entirely possible that this secret has been kept entirely in our family. Until now.

As far as I know, this was invented either by kungfucolin, my other brother Ken or my father. Either way, it's a good way to get a nice hot meal pretty quickly.

  • 1 Sausage
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Butter
  • Cheese (optional)
  • Condiment, any condiment at all really
Price: Getting a pack of sausage and the rest will set you back about $20, but that's good for at least 10 meals.
  1. Cut open sausage lengthways to access its delicious innards
  2. Spread this crude mixture on to a slice of bread (okay, I know it sounds gross at this point, but stay the course). You may add cheese to taste now if you've got any.
  3. Slap the other bit of bread on the top, and eat. No, no.. I'm kidding. We're not done yet.
  4. Butter the outward faces of the sausage sammich, and put into a jaffel iron that presumably you've preheated at this point. Probably should have told you that earlier.
  5. Cook until cooked. You'll work it out.
  6. Add condiment of choice
It's a meal that's reminiscent of a sausage roll, without the disappointment of discovering that it is stale after purchasing from a service station at 2300. No real downsides, unless you don't properly cook the sausage, in which case it has downsides a-plenty.

4. Sweet Chilli Rice
The sweet chilli rice combo is admittedly something I haven't actually tried, however kungfucolin swears by it and we're generally in agreement when it comes to food and its inherent tastiness. This is one of those bare-cupboard concoctions that'll save you for another day.

  • Rice
  • Sweet Chilli Sauce

Price: A massive bag of rice and a bottle of sweet chilli might cost you about $15, and last a couple of months, as long as you keep the weevils out.
  1. Cook rice by via any method you find most efficient
  2. Add sweet chilli sauce and eat it
I didn't lose many of you with the overly complicated instructions, I hope. For me, rice is filling and will adequately stave off hunger for a little while, but I always want more later.

5. Eat Fresh for lunch

Okay, so this last one is probably totally cheating. Well, I set the rules so deal with it. Basically, here it is. Subway sandwiches are bloody amazing, I can't get enough sammich. You can approach this one of two ways, if you're sensible enough.
  1. Go to Subway
  2. Eat Fresh from their $7 footlong menu (meatball or ham would be my recommendation), and fill 'er up on salads and delicious condiments
The way it works is you either have a partner in crime, and each have a $3.50 six-inch lunch. Win. Or, if you're disciplined enough you can save the other half for dinner. Problem for me is, if I've got a footlong to eat I'll eat it... so I stick with the double-team approach.

There's absolutely no effort because you don't have to make it yourself, it fills you up with delicious sammich and the taste is different every day 'cause there's like infinity different sandwich combos you can have. Use a Buy One Get One Free coupon for epic wins.
The problem for most people is that they're not situated anywhere near a Subway that's convenient for them.

Well, it just so happens that I am, therefore I win! HA HA!


  1. It was Kungfu Colin that introduced you to the sausage jaffle, with sauce but without cheese. I have vivid memories of that day.

    1. Yeah no cheese in my toasted sausage sadwich. Save that shit for the pasta.
      By the way it looks like you're angling for a paid product placement hehe.. Imagine that.

      You could be like Jared and eat free subway for life.

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  2. Handy hint, use two packets of Mi Goreng noodles (60c to $1.60) to increase satisfaction levels. Purchased as two five packs from the supermarket (approx $4.50), you get five good meals. Throw in a load of bread for an extra treat.