5 Budget Friendly eats to keep you warm this winter

Girl enjoying her ramen noodle with chopsticks

In the winter, the cold sets in and night comes early, so Canadians often turn to food for comfort, warmth and feelings of coziness. When the days get shorter and the thermometers drop below zero, people enjoy getting together with friends and family for a meal that is typically hot and hearty (think getting a hug from your food).

Eating out can be expensive though, especially if you eat out frequently. So, below you will find 5 foods that Torontonians seek out to fill their stomachs without emptying their wallets.

1. Ramen

Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup that has seen an explosion in popularity in North America over the past decade. This dish is typically served in a large bowl, with long wheat-based noodles, in either a miso, shoyu or shio broth, and often topped with a boiled egg, sliced pork, bean sprouts, corn, or green onions. Kinton Ramen is one of the most popular ramen restaurants in Toronto and offers a variety of bowls starting at $15 CAD. When considering the fact that Kinton Ramen has “Bowler” club for people who consume the entire contents of their bowls in one sitting, you begin to realize the value for money at this spot!

2. Bibimbap

Another great winter choice is the Korean dish, bibimbap. Truthfully, this list could have been composed entirely of Korean food, as many Korean dishes are served piping hot. This is not an exaggeration, as dishes will often arrive at a diner’s table, sizzling or still boiling!

Bibimbap is a medley of rice, kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage), red pepper paste, egg, a mix of raw and sauteed vegetables, and a choice of protein. In other words, it is a heaping bowl of food. All the ingredients are placed in a dolsot (stone bowl) that is then heated up to the point where the rice will begin to crisp up at the bottom of the bowl. Try a bowl in Koreatown at Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu, a Toronto favourite, for $19.20 CAD. There is nothing like a warm stone bowl full of delicious food to chase the winter chills away!

3. Trinidadian Curry

Caribbean countries are probably not the first countries that come to mind when you think of winter weather, but despite Trinidad’s tropical climate, its curry is a Canadian winter essential. Trinidadian curry, or Trini curry for short, is a hearty and spicy stew of either meat or vegetables that is rich in flavour and aroma. Ali’s Roti, a mainstay in the west-end neighbourhood of Parkdale, serves up curry and rice dishes or curry wrapped in a dhalpourie roti (split-pea filled flat-bread) starting at $17.95 and $15.95 CAD, respectively. Grab a hot meal here, thaw your bones, and envision being on a tropical island.

4. Phở

No list of budget friendly winter eats could be complete without mentioning phở. This Vietnamese noodle-soup is characterized by its light but flavourful broth and delicate rice noodles called bánh phở in Vietnamese, or vermicelli in English. Phở can be ordered with a variety of meats and vegetables, while diners often add their own basil, bean sprouts, cilantro, lime, hoisin sauce and sriracha sauce to taste. Chinatown’s Phở Hung has been pleasing Toronto tastebuds since 1985 and offers pho bowls in small and large sizes starting $10 CAD for a large bowl! At such low prices, this steamy bowl of soup can keep you warm and full all winter long!

5. Congee

The final dish on this list, congee, which is an affordable dish that feels like a warm blanket in a bowl. Congee is a type of rice porridge, popular in China and many other Asian countries that is typically prepared as a savoury dish with either meat, fish or seafood, but can also be served up as a dessert. The consistency of this porridge is silky smooth and Congee Queen in downtown Toronto has a selection of choices to appeal to those who prefer a more mainstream flavour profile as well as those who are a little more adventurous. Wherever your taste takes you, at an average price of $10 CAD a bowl, you cannot go wrong.

This winter, experience the rich diversity of Toronto’s culinary landscape while staying warm and full.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What should I eat for winter dinner?

In the cold winter months, Canadians typically enjoy hot and filling meals like soups, stews and curries.

What is the most popular winter food?

There are many winter meals that are popular in Canada, including beaver tails, poutine and tourtiere! Additionally, many dishes from around the globe are popular foods to help Canadians keep warm, such as ramen, congee, curries and pastas.

What is the cheapest meal to make?

Ramen is a very affordable meal available at most grocery and convenience stores. Ramen can be found for as little as a dollar in some locations.

What is the best food for cold weather?

The best foods to keep you warm and full in winter are foods served piping hot. Soups, stews and curries are great options, because they can be packed with carbohydrates, protein and vegetables.


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