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With my depleting funds, I decided to do this crazy backpacking extra challenge where I need to survive the next 4 days in Siem Reap eating healthy meals on a budget of $6. And that amount should cover my backpacking food expenses for the next 4 days.
My travel buddy had to exit Siem Reap. Since we will be travelling north in a couple of days to meet up with his gf, he decided he’ll just wait for me in Bangkok. I decided to stay behind due to financial reasons. Spending a night in Bangkok would cost me a minimum of 150 THB (~5USD) whereas staying in our guesthouse in Siem Reap will only cost me 4 dollars. Staying in Bangkok would also tempt me to splurge on Thai food. I am running low on funds and I may not resist the call of my teasing tummy and echuserang eyes once I see those yummy foods that ruined my budget last month. hehehe
My balance sheet tells me that I only have 124.50 USD left. $10 will cover for my extended stay and $8.50 will cover my fare from Siem Reap to Bangkok. As much as possible, I don’t want to spend my 100-dollar bill since the exchange rate of big bills in Bangkok are higher compared to small bills. So with only $6 left in my wallet, I had to do this extra challenge.
The great thing is our guesthouse has a shared kitchen and fridge. Still limping from a bike accident, I went to the Siem Reap Old Market to buy food that will last me for 4 days.
Oatmeal – $2.20, pineapple – 3000R, 1/2 kilo pork – 75000R, baguette – 700R, egg – 500R, garlic – 300R*
*1 USD = 4000 Cambodian Riel (R)
Cooking on a budget, I decided to buy oatmeal and pineapple for snacks, a half kilo pork and garlic that should take care of the next three days; and egg & baguette, which will cover Day 1 of the challenge. We still have a half kilo of rice and other spices so cooking won’t be a problem.
I went home happy knowing I still got change from the $6 and I am confident that I could survive eating budget meals in the next coming days. I hope. 😉
Extra Challenge: Day 1
When I arrived in Siem Reap [a month ago], I bought this bacon for $7.50. It had 44 bacon strips and it was my tummy-saver food when I felt lazy going out to eat. I never thought I would see the day that I’d consume all of those bacon! I cooked the last strips of bacon yesterday and paired it with a sunny-side-up egg and baguette.
I also divided the pork into 3 meals. I plan to cook adobo (pork cooked in soy sauce, vinegar and garlic) as this will not require many ingredients. I also marinated a portion of the pork for frying. The third dish I intend to cook would be an experiment with potato and tomato, 2 vegies I need to get rid of before I leave Siem Reap.
note: always pay attention to what you’re toasting. hehehe
I survived Day 1 by eating this meal for lunch and dinner. I tore the bread in 2 pieces and divided the bacon and eggs. I had dinner before 6 and by 9, my tummy grumbled. I was so tempted to go out and buy biko (rice cake) or noodles but I was glad I resisted the urge. Instead, I prepared oatmeal.
Some may react negatively to this challenge. Who wouldn’t? To survive with less than $1.50 worth of food per day on this backpacking trip and spread that out for 3 meals for the next four days is not something one would dream of. Then I remember a friend who told me that I’d need to budget $5 per day for food. I said I can do $2. Now I’m stretching it to $1.50 and I know I’m going to eat
almost healthy meals on a budget 😉
I realized that anything is possible, especially to one with an almost empty wallet. It’s really a wonder how your mind works to come up with budget meals when placed in a tight situation. hehe
For those who are planning to go on a backpacking trip with a very tight budget, consider getting a guesthouse which offers a kitchen, shared or not. Also, better start learning how to cook your own backpacking meals if you don’t know how. Be familiar with the basics of cooking on a budget. That’s all you need. Preparing your own food will be one great budget-saver for your journey.
When I started with this backpacking trip almost 2 months ago, Flip of flipnomad.com insisted we get a guesthouse with a kitchen. I now fully understand the importance of his tip. Thanks for the great advice Flip! 😉
Today is Day 2 of the challenge. I already had oatmeal for breakfast. I will now experiment on the pork, potato and tomato. Wish me luck! 😀
Hehe goodluck Doi! As long as healthy food naman kainin mo keri na yan. Feeling ko kung ako ang nasa situation mo, bili ako ng eggs tapos pakuluan ko na lang dahil yun lang kaya ko gawin lol =))
hahaha. nataawa ako sa itlog. sa bagay, with those eggs, laking tipid nun sa $6 budget 😆
sus jusmiyo. nsh, kung akoi gutomon, bahalag pila akong gasyuon! goodluck doi!
wow! much money kaayo ka dwin! ali diri para mawisikan ko sa imo food trip. utangan pa raba kag pungko2x hap! 😆
Wow! Challenge dyud doy!
Goodluck! In a way good ni kay naay desirable side effect hehehe
cille, challenge lang sya kung gutmon ang tiyan. so far, kaya pa 😉
doi…mala Top Chef/Master Chef ka na nyan pagbalik mo hehehe
hahaha. hindi naman. ganito lang effect when cooking on a budget. need to have more discipline lang talaga on how to eat healthy meals on a budget para di na magsplurge ng mag splurge. lol.
Wow, good luck Doi! I remember living off bread, eggs and instant noodles every day just to save up for a big trip (actually, ’til now – haha!). Indeed, if there’s a will, there’s a way!
oo nga gaye! hehehe. mahal din kasi noodles dun sa $1 country na tinitirhan namin 😆 i hope we could continue this so that we can save up for the rainy days 😉
tipid mode na hehe, galing ah ng pagba-budget ah! P64 per day, hanep! 😮
uu nga. just realized pwede pala to. dapat when we started we should have done this. lol
Whoah, budget mode at its finest. I remember when I tried to survive five days in Malaysia with a RM25 budget on food, struggle kasi malakas ako kumain hehe Mukang kakayanin mo naman yan, goodluck!
[…] might wonder how I managed to successfully pass this challenge. Well, I’ve mentioned the food I ate on Day 1. For Day 2-4, here are the following meals I […]
Excellent write-up and congrats for pulling off the challenge. I found this post because my wife and I just got to Siem Reap and we were looking for oatmeal. Since we’ve been travelling in Southeast Asia, we’ve concluded that this is a MUST-HAVE item for travelers on a strict food budget. It’s cheap, it’s filling, it’s healthy and it lasts. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any oatmeal in Indonesia or Vietnam, at least not where we were. So this would be great.
yeah, oatmeal is a great alternative when travelling on a tight food budget. you can find oatmeals on every major supermarket in SR Russ 😉 enjoy your stay in the city of Angkors!