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MarsBlackman

Food Costs in Dalian

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MarsBlackman

I'm studying at LNU for the Spring of 2011. I've looked across these boards and various other sites and I've come to the conclusion that I should expect to pay 10 RMB per meal, roughly 30 RMB per day. I understand this is on the cheaper side. Is this a reasonable expectation for everyday eating?

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abcdefg

No. It's too little.

You will find exaggerated posts on here by people who claim to live on next to nothing because they only eat old newspapers and random insects and are tougher and more thrifty than anyone else on the planet.

But realistically you should at least double your food budget, even if you plan to cook most of your own meals.

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langxia

10 Rmb per meal is perfectly doable, in our canteen (the expensive good one) meals are between 5rmb and 9 rmb (you can eat more expensive stuff but that's usually more special stuff and designed to be eaten by 2 persons) a cup of machine coffee is 2rmb

If eating outside most of the time a set meal (means rice with a topping usually one vegtebale and meat) is not more expensive than 10 rmb (the only ones I see that are more expensive is if you want beef meat then they are 12rmb)

For example here is what I spend today on food :

Breakfast : 1 pancake, 1 egg in the canteen cup of coffee 3,8 rmb

Lunch : sheep meat with ognions on top of rice and a cup of coffee in the cantee 10 rmb

Afternoon : 1 cup of cappucion at the bakery while studying 7rmb

Dinner : spicy pepper with egg and rice 9 rmb

So I am at a total of 29,8 rmb didn't have anything during the morning at the 10 a clock break and nothing in the afternoon for tea-time. It is doable but i defenatly have days where I spend more (but sometimes also less)

SO

I would advice you to calculate with more than 30rmb a day as with that ammount you are really at the minimum. For example if you want to go out eating a good meal with friends where you order more dishes and all share you will end up having at least 20rmb per head (we usually end up between 25 rmb and 50 rmb) Also if you want to eat western food you will have to spend much more. The cheapest good coffee I have found is 7rmb but usually you pay around 25-30rmb.

So I would also advice you to double the amount just to be on the safe side.

(Btw this is in Beijing so in other citys prices might be different)

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anonymoose

What is LNU? Liaoning Normal University?

I think 30 RMB per day is doable if you eat all of your meals in the canteen, and don't spend much on snacks inbetween. I suspect you will get fed up of canteen food fairly quickly though. However, you should also be able to eat at cheaper-end restaurants for 10 RMB per meal, which doesn't necessarily mean bad food.

In fact, even in Shanghai, I know of a restaurant that gives huge and good meals for less than 10 RMB, so I could easily live on less than 30 RMB per day if I needed to, though in reality I spend closer to 20 RMB per meal as I usually go for convenience and variety rather than always eking out the cheapest.

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joshuawbb

Thanks to all of you for reassuring me that Y30 and above is considered low for a daily meal budget. I tend to spend just about that much on canteen meals and a small amount of snacks. Reading some old posts here and in other places where someone says they struggle to spend Y20 on good meals per day, I was worried that I was overspending, haha. What abcdefg said is right - Y20 or Y30 will feed you only if you eat canteen meals or snacks - for eating out in general, it's not feasible unless you're lucky enough to have a restaurant nearby offering nutritious full meals for under Y10.

Since I'm giving myself an experimental budget to go by, I set an ideal limit of Y20 per day for meals and snacks to see how far it can go. Not including other things of course. This is only doable if I eat in Xiamen Unversity's canteen:

-Breakfast: two canteen vegetable portions plus an omelette - Y4 to Y6

-Snack: apple from home, otherwise something for Y3 max, e.g. some sweet bread.

-Lunch: large bowl of rice (Y0.3), two or three canteen portions of food (vegetable, meat or tofu, etc) (Y2 to Y6)

-Dinner: either something simple at home (steamed rice, fresh tomato and egg - yum) or another canteen meal (Y3 to Y5)

Not including snacks I might choose to eat at home from the weekly shopping, I can often keep to this budget well. But as has been said, canteen food gets boring - on the occasional days I eat out in a proper restaurant the Y20 budget goes out the window and I'll spend between Y12 and Y35 per meal.

Xiamen is a 2nd tier city and also a Special Economic Zone - nowhere near as expensive as somewhere like Shanghai but also more expensive than lower-tier cities i.e. Zhangzhou or Fuzhou. Eating out will cost you the following:

-Snack meals (i.e. 沙茶面 - a local noodle snack speciality here) will cost between Y5 and Y12.

-The cheapest restaurant meals will cost between Y9 and Y18. It is getting very rare nowadays to find a place selling meals for under Y11 which are also nutritious. Cheap meals tend to be oily fried rice or noodle dishes.

-Average Chinese restaurants will set you back Y15 to Y35 per meal. These are typical meals.

-More luxurious restaurants will cost more, often Y50 to Y60 and above for a decent meal and drink.

-Large and luxurious Chinese restaurants - the ones for groups of people in which you select several dishes for everyone to share can go into the hundreds.

-Lastly, steak houses tend to be between Y40 and Y200 per steak meal.

-For comparison, McDonalds and the like will cost you around Y20 to Y35 for a full adult meal. Pizza Hut can go over Y100 per pizza, more for additional meals.

Hope I've helped a bit :)

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abcdefg

It's a shame to entirely shut yourself off from local goodies unless you absolutely must.

I sure enjoyed the fresh seafood this summer along the Fujian coast, Xiamen and Fuzhou. It was quite cheap relative to what one would pay elsewhere, but still would bust a 30 Yuan per day food budget.

In Kunming I generally made breakfast at home or had something from a street vendor for less than 10 Yuan. Lunch was often 快餐, two vegetables and a meat on rice, again for a little under 10 Yuan. But supper would often be a restaurant meal shared with friends for between 20 and 30 a head.

I seldom had access to a university canteen, although I can see how that would help one eat economically.

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joshuawbb
It's a shame to entirely shut yourself off from local goodies unless you absolutely must.

I sure enjoyed the fresh seafood this summer along the Fujian coast, Xiamen and Fuzhou. It was cheap relative to what one would pay elsewhere, but still would bust a 30 Yuan per day budget.

I agree with you, though I'm happy the way it is for now. My motivation though for doing this is to save as much money as I can from what my parents send me each month for an upcoming visit home to the UK in January, especially since I'm bringing my girlfriend. Before this, I used to let myself go sometimes and use up my monthly budget without saving.

Haha, I know it sounds like an excuse, but actually I'm not a fan of seafood. I do get involved though and enjoy it when I do - back in February this year, from saved Christmas money I treated my girlfriend to 4 days in Gulangyu, taking a cuisine tour of all the seafood and other dishes, staying in two lovely family hotels and enjoying the views.

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abcdefg

Gulangyu is indeed a treat. What a pretty place.

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joshuawbb

It really is a lovely place to visit, especially when the amounts of tourists is low. Apart from the food, Gulangyu has churches, and as I mentioned it's really worth staying in the family/individually-run hotels. We stayed in the Seventh Day Advent Hotel which was a beautiful little hotel away from the main streets. I can't remember the name of the second hotel, but it was designed alike an old-fashioned European luxury home, and done so very well without being tacky. The family hotels might not be star-rated, but they're a lot nicer than the few chain or starred hotels in my opinion.

Sorry for going a bit off topic here.

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