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It’s 13:00, and your stomach is rumbling. You’re on the quest of finding a place that is close by so you can go back to class or back to revision. You might have also stretched out your budget a little bit this weekend and are finding yourself on the true student quest: the search for cheap eats.  

Well, I got your back. 

UCL’s cafés 

Let’s face it, even high-end from a student budget point of view, the traditional Prêt à Manger and Eat options aren’t friendly for your wallet. So, as an alternative, you can turn to one of the many cafés around campus – Print Room, George Farha and many others – which have a variety of salads, sandwiches and wraps; as well as hot food such as curry. 

The Campus’ Refectory 

At the Refectory there are a great variety of meal options and a three-pound meal deal! It features also a wide range of caterers. Feel like devouring some chicken? Turn to Yardbird. Want to spice it up? Go to Spice, which will take you on a world tour of spicy food. Feel like a traditional British fool? The Original is here for you. Want something a bit healthier? You have the Vegan counter, the Med Deli, the soup counter – conveniently called SUPP – or Live.  

Hare Krisha 

Wednesdays will be the cheapest day yet. And by cheapest, I mean free. Yes, you heard me right: free. Hare Krishna has two stands around campus – on right next to Student Central, and one between SOAS and the Institute of Education. They give out free curry or pasta every Wednesday, and it’s always vegetarian as well! If you love thier food and want to give something back then you can volunteer your time to hand out food as well. 

Bloomsbury Farmer’s Market 

Thursday is quite the exciting day because you are going down to the street food market that is held right in the middle of the Birkbeck and SOAS courtyard: it’s the Bloomsbury Farmer’s Market. You will find here pies, moussaka, fresh fruits, cakes, crêpes, Asian comfort food, roasted pork, Indian food, tacos and burritos, pasta, burgers, ice cream; and many other.  

Lovely International Food Market

Unlike the Bloomsbury Market, this one is open everyday during lunchtime. It is located in Tottenham Court Road, besides Goodge Street station. There is a wide selection of different cuisines -from Italian to Korean. The prices are also similar to the Bloomsbury market but sometimes there could be a queue for some stands. Every stand will give you a box ( from 5 to 8 pounds) that you can enjoy in the little square or bring it along with you in UCL campus.

The Gallery at Student Central 

On Friday’s I’m going straight to Student Central, straight to the first floor at The Gallery – which by the way has a very nice terrace to lounge on when it is sunny. The food menu is vast, and you will find here tacos, pork belly, falafel, hot dogs, and burgers. Not many come around there during the day, and they have pretty big tables – you can also go to the adjacent bar, The Library, which is closed during the day but which you can still use to sit down – so you should be able to sit down all of your friends in the same place. 

Planet Organic

As the name suggests, it’s healthy, organic and unprocessed food. There’s nice salads and hot boxes with the prices of soups almost the same price as the Refectory, but with a wider selection.

Falafel Stall

A healthier alternative to kebab or the usual wraps is a falafel.

Especially if you are studying in Central Library, since there is a colourful and cheerful stand in the portico of S. Pancras Church where you can buy a nice falafel box - which includes a huge dollop of houmous, dolmades, pickles, potatoes, salad and 8 falafels- or wrap for 3.5 pounds

A fast, cheap and easy going street food that you can’t miss.

Ever heard of Too Good to Go?

This is an amazing app! You can filter shops around campus so you can rescue delicious food that will otherwise go to waste. And it isn’t just a cold salad that you get. The other day I got a warm Thai Red Curry and rice for only £3.50. There was so much that I couldn’t finish it all! 

Now remember, the cheapest and healthiest is always to make you own food for the week, whether it is a salad that you will be able to enjoy cold, or something to warm up in one of the microwaves that you can find around campus.

Written by Lola Kveton and Irma Delmonte