Australia's culinary scene never leaves anything to be desired. With taste influences coming in from every continent, there's a wide variety of flavours and styles for foodies to explore. However, along with great quality often come high costs—and that can make the hobby prohibitive for anybody who's working on a budget. That said, it doesn't have to be impossible. With the right tips and tricks, you can find great food experiences without having to break the bank. So, where to begin?
Vouchers & Offers
If you aren't already subscribed to your local voucher and coupon services, then you should certainly consider it. These companies negotiate with restaurants to secure discounts for their customers in exchange for introducing new footfall into the business. This is great news for the restaurant but even better news for you. It means you can experience some of the country's most top-notch dining for a fraction of the cost. You may be limited in terms of when you can visit and which menu options are open to you, but it's a fantastic way of visiting on a lower budget.
While people often assume that the best food is the most expensive, that's simply not always the case. Spending a lot of money on a meal is one way to ensure great quality, but if you're willing to put in a little research, you'll be able to find equally exquisite, fresh and interesting food for far less. Review aggregators such as TripAdvisor and Yelp are good places to start, but if you want tips from real foodies, find restaurant and foodie-specific forums and websites. They'll be able to tell you where to visit, and as a bonus, they'll also be able to tell you which of the luxury, big-name places are worth splashing out on and which are overrated.
Conferences & Festivals
If your area has a food festival, you should make sure that you attend. Many local restaurants will be there to sample their wares, so it's a great way of tantalising your tastebuds for less. For the price of one entry ticket, you'll have access to demonstrations and samples from a wide-ranging collection of restaurants and cuisines. From these tasters, you'll know which restaurants you should save up to experience and which don't really do it for you. Equally, some places may give out vouchers and coupons specific to event attendees, so you might save yourself some money on a future booking while you're at it. Bonus!
It's really a matter of being flexible with where you eat. If you're trying to get into a specific top-rated restaurant, then you may be hard-pressed to get a discount, but shop around and see who's got a special offer running, and you'll be much likelier to find a discounted meal. Good luck, and bon appétit!