10 Cities, 10 Restaurants, 10 Dinners under $10

A huge part of the 'Americana' experience is undoubtedly the food. Whether it's juicy burgers, lip-smacking ribs or a salad like none you’ve experienced before, the city food scenes are to die for here. Explore the bustling Chinatown of New York. Feel Cuban vibes on Miami Beach. Indulge in a Philly cheesesteak. Check out Los Angeles’ creative plant-based scene.

Whatever you do, make sure that the food you try is a focal point of this life-changing trip. What's more? You don't even need to break the bank to do it. Here are our top recommended eateries for ten cities, where you can tantalise your tastebuds for under $10...

Chicago: Lito's Empanadas

Lito's Empanadas in Chicago
source: flickr / Mumumío

Located in Lincoln Park, Lito's Empanadas fry up crusty empanadas in ten different ways, such as the beef, stuffed with olives, raisins, onions, potatoes and tomatoes. The spice chori-cheese boasts chorizo, cheese and potatoes. And if you have a sweet tooth, why not nab the Nutella and banana empanada? Owned by Colombian-born Lito and Eve Escalante, this place pretty much sums up the multicultural cosmopolis that is Chicago.


Galleria Umberto
source: flickr/ Jason Lam

On Hanover Street, you will find this great pizza eatery. Galleria Umberto serves its famous Sicilian Squares for under $2, cheese browned, layered with tomato sauce and burnt all around the edges. Grab a few of them for under $10 and top them up with ground beef or fried risotto balls. The restaurant shuts at 3pm, while individual menu items are sold on a first come first served basis.

New York: Xi'an Famous Foods

Xi'an Famous Foods
source:  flickr / Jason Lam

Manhattan can often be a pricey place to eat, but Asian food fests come cheap in Chinatown. There are tonnes of places here that aren't expensive but Xi'an Famous Foods is a particular highlight. Munch into some handmade noodles, such as a bowl of liang pi (cold skin), slippery wheat noodles in a cool and spicy vinegar sauce, or try the spicy beef hand-pulled noodles if you dare. Either way, this is somewhere you may come back to, again and again.

Philadelphia: Pat's King of Steaks

Pat's King of Steaks
source: flickr / jeffreyw

You can't go to Philly and not try the cheesesteak. Shreds of steak topped with layers of cheese, onions and peppers, all in a warm baguette; it may be a heart attack on a plate, but it's a tasty one! Your best bet is the original home of the dish, Pat's King of Steaks, which is still owned by its founding Olivieri family. According to Philly legend, the original Pat Olivieri invented the sandwich in 1930 and the rest is history!

Washington DC: Ben’s Chilli Bowl

Ben’s Chilli Bowl
source:  Ben’s Chilli Bowl

DC's growing foodie scene is packed with delicious dishes to try. One of our favourites is iconic all-American fast food joint Ben’s Chilli Bowl, with two restaurants in the city. Their signature dish is the Chilli Half-Smoke, a juicy hot dog with Ben’s famous homemade chilli. Veggie? There are veggie chilli, hot dog and burger options available. REALLY skint? A bag of fries is just 99¢.

Miami: El Mago de las Fritas

Miami Cubano Sandwich
source:  flickr / jeffreyw

Our last stop on the East Coast, Miami has a rich and expansive Cuban community, so it is hardly a surprise that the Sandwich Cubano will be on your list of must-trys. If you want to have a go at the frita, a paprika-spiced burger with chorizo, onions and french fries, head to El Mago de las Fritas. Owner Ortelio Cardenas, known locally as 'the magician', has been serving these up for over 30 years. Add a dollar for an egg on top, just like Obama did when he came here!

Austin: Three Little Pigs

Three Little Pigs
source:  flickr / leyla.a

With a thriving food trucks scene, Austin is a haven for foodies. No place highlights this better than Three Little Pigs. There are just three things on the menu, all cooked by owner Raymond Tatum and costing $7 each. The most popular one is the Cracklin' Meatloaf, with ground beef dotted with carrot and celery, all topped with a thick brown gravy.

New Orleans: Domisile’s Po-Boy and Bar

Domisile’s Po-Boy and Barsource: Domisile’s Po-Boy and Bar

The land of food and drink, New Orleans will blow your mind. Po-boys are the staple sandwich of this city’s Creole and Cajun heritage, and not trying one while you’re in town is one major Deep South faux pas. At Domisile’s Po-Boy and Bar, most of the regular size po-boys come in under $10 – although we’d recommend going over budget slightly to make it a large if you’re hungry! 

San Francisco: Kasa Indian Eatery

Kasa Indian Eatery

San Francisco is known as a pretty pricey city, but with a bit of foodie knowledge, you’ll be able to find some bargain eats here. A multicultural, cosmopolitan city, the range of cuisines available here (and done well) is seriously impressive, and if Indian’s your thing, Kasa Indian Eatery’s Kasi Rolls are a street food delight.

Los Angeles: Pink's Hot Dogs

Pink's Hot Dogs
source:  flickr / Sam Howzit

LA may be the home for the rich and famous, but that doesn't mean you have to burn a hole in your wallet eating out here. Pink's Hot Dogs in the centre of Hollywood has 15 different varieties of hot dog, such as the bacon chili cheese dog and a NYC dog with red onions. Serving since 1939, this cart is a favourite among stars such as Betty White and Jay Leno, and with it staying open after midnight, it's the perfect snack after a heavy night out.

There are so many different tour types with Trek, even for those foodies out there, so be sure to check out what your next big adventure may entail!

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