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How to eat out in Berkeley for under $15 a day

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OCTOBER 24, 2022

As the start of this endeavor, I wasn’t entirely sure that this would be entirely possible. I mean, it’s hard enough to find a good day’s worth of food for under $15, let alone three. But through the combined experiences of my friends and my frugal nature, I’ve managed to compile three full day’s worth of meals for under $15 (before tax and tip, sorry). 

Day 1

Pastry and milk tea from Sheng Kee — $5.75

Located conveniently right next to campus, Sheng Kee is a great place to grab a quick pastry and coffee before heading to class. Its pastries are consistently inexpensive and tasty (around $2-3), and a milk tea is only $3.75. 

Small banh mi from Bańh Mi & Rolls Factory — $5

Any banh mi with you could ever want — and for only $5! With selections including  turkey, pork belly, five spice chicken and a veggie option, these sandwiches are guaranteed to give you some bang for your buck. 

Slice of the day from Sliver — $3.50

With two convenient locations in Berkeley, sliver is a pizza staple. Its pizza of the day is always vegetarian and always hits the spot. Plus, they always give you two slices for the price of one! If you’re extra hungry, just pile on the green sauce.

Day 2

Any hot dog from Top Dog — $4

I deeply apologize for making you eat a hot dog for breakfast, but this is a tough task, okay? The Top Dog hot dogs are reliable and cheap, and they even have a veggie dog option!

Items from the Taco Bell value menu — $4

Taco Bell is a classic choice for the broke college student. For only $4, you can get two beefy melt burritos, or a whole four spicy potato tacos! When it comes to the Taco Bell value menu, the possibilities are endless. 

Mushroom and scallion buns from Dumpling express — $4.58

Dumpling express has several options for low-cost dumplings and steamed buns. The mushroom and scallion buns are author-tested and approved, especially for the low price of $4.58.

Day 3

Donut from Kingpin Donuts — $2.95

Start your day off like a cop from a vintage movie with a classic donut from Kingpin. For less than $3, you can choose from a selection of, glazed or old-fashioned donuts. And if you have a little bit of extra money to spend, the shop sells a half dozen donut holes for $3.95.

Grilled cheese (or PB&J) from Bunz — $6.50

Although I personally have never been to Bunz before 1 am, I’m sure that getting lunch there is theoretically possible. I will personally stand by the Bunz grilled cheese as being one of the best munchie foods to currently exist within Berkeley. For $6.50, you can purchase one of these delicious sandwiches, or you can opt for their grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the same price. 

Cheese slice and a fountain drink from Blondie’s — $5.51

While Blondie’s is one of the more controversial pizza places in Berkeley, it’s impossible to deny that it gives out generous servings. The $5 cheese slice is about the size of two typical slices of pizza, and the crust is thick and filling. And if you’re craving something sweet, the fountain drink and cheese slice combo is less than a dollar more. 

While I cannot officially recommend following any of the diets listed above due to the egregious amounts of cheese and lack of any sorts of vegetables, I can say that your wallet will thank you.  It can also be helpful to keep track of special deals, both on Snackpass and what you see visibly advertised. Good luck!

Contact Lauren von Aspen at 


OCTOBER 24, 2022