The Top Cheap Eats in Nuku'alofa©
The Top Cheap Eats in Nuku'alofa

The Top Cheap Eats in Nuku’alofa & Tongatapu


Where to Get Cheap Food in Nuku’alofa and Across Tongatapu

Indulge in a feast fit for the royal family for no more than TOP$20 when staying on Tongatapu. Tonga’s main island and especially the capital, Nuku’alofa, is brimming with affordable cuisine, the most affordable of which is often delicious local Tongan dishes! On the other hand, many international cuisines are represented across the city, providing plenty of options when it comes to cheap eats in Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu.

Check out the list of cheap food in Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu below. Otherwise, get more tips for visiting Nuku’alofa on the cheap with The Guide to Nuku’alofa on a Budget.

5 Tips to Save Money on Food in Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu

  1. Eating out is almost always much cheaper than eating at Tongatapu’s hotels and resorts
  2. For self-catering, buy produce from the stalls and the Talamahu Market – check the usual prices in Cost of Food in Tonga, so you know how much is reasonable to pay
  3. The portions in Tonga are HUGE – either buy one main to share or an entree dish to save money and your stomach
  4. Picking something vegetarian is a sure-fire way to cut the costs
  5. Scour the roadside stalls, Tahi Moana Market and evening barbecues at the Vuna Bus Station for cheap street food!

For more ways to save the dough on food, check out the 10 Ways to Save Money When Travelling in Tonga.

Top Cheap Eats in Nuku'alofa©

Cheap Eats in Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu – $10-$15

“Cheap eats” takes a whole new meaning on Tongatapu where some of the local restaurants are selling dishes for TOP$10-$15! That’s in Tongan Pa’anga! The cheapest restaurants in Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu are Tongan restaurants and takeaways, as well as fried food takeaways. Note that Tonga doesn’t have any international fast-food chains.

Cheap Restaurants Outside of Nuku’alofa

That’s right, the cheapest restaurants are, indeed, outside of the capital. Ofeina Restaurant (Veitongo) serves up Tongan dishes like lu sipi, sipi soya, naketi moa, kelevi ika and more starting from TOP$10.

Travel a little further and Keli’i and Rose Restaurant (Vaini) has a wider menu of similar Tongan dishes, with the addition of BBQ food and fried chicken, for around TOP$10.

While Costlow might not be a cheap supermarket, Costlow Food (Pea) is certainly a cheap takeaway with ultra-cheap burgers, bacon and egg, and Philly cheese steaks!

Cheap Takeaways in Nuku’alofa

The masters of fast food in Nuku’alofa, Three Men’s Fastfood (Taufau’ahau Village) have prices starting from TOP$10 with their small burgers to around TOP$15-$20 paninis.

Get your Mexican fix from Inglewood LA Snacks (Wellington Road), a hole-in-the-wall eatery with burritos, tacos, nachos and kesatias starting from TOP$12.

There are also plenty of bakeries to stuff your face for breakfast or lunch all for a reasonable price, such as Agape Donuts (Wellington Road) and A.Cowley & Sons (Fasi-Moe-Afi Road).

Super Cheap International Restaurants in Nuku’alofa

A long-established hole-in-the-wall eatery at the Tonga Post Building food court, Chand’s Curry House (Taufa’ahau Road) is a popular Indian takeaway. Treat yourself to a variety of curries with various boned and boneless meats, all served with rice, roti and a chilli chutney – amazing value for the price!

Despite being a restaurant in a hotel, Emerald Hotel (Vuna Road) has a huge menu with plenty of cheap eats available, including soups and shrimp/beef/chicken fried rice/noodles.

Mostly selling baked goods, Aloha Cafe (Wellington Road) has the odd blackboard lunch item like burgers for around TOP$15.

Top Cheap Eats in Nuku'alofa©

Cheap BBQs and Street Food in Nuku’alofa

The cheapest meals you’re going to find in Nuku’alofa are from those selling local meals on the roadsides. Along Vuna Road, you’ll see market stalls selling sweet but filling treats like manioke tama, topai and ngoua for around TOP$5. Check out our Tongan dishes in the 10 Unique Foods in Tonga You Have to Try.

Meanwhile, at the Tui Mata Moana Market (Faua Wharf) walk or drive-thru to pick up local drinks like ‘otai and barbecue meals all for TOP$10 or less. Learn more about ‘otai in the 10 Drinks in Tonga You Have to Try.

Finally, catch BBQs and food trucks set up at the Vuna Wharf Bus Station every evening except Sunday!

Top Cheap Eats in Nuku'alofa©

Cheap Eats in Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu – $16-$20

If you’re willing to pay a little bit more, which let’s be honest, isn’t much more, then you’ll open up your cheap eats choices to the following restaurants in Nuku’alofa…

Cheap Tongan Restaurants in Nuku’alofa

Try Tonga favourites like ota ika (raw fish marinated in coconut cream) or lu (taro leaves wrapped in meat and coconut cream) in restaurants, such as Mum’s Cafe (Cnr Fatafehi and Laifone Road) and Maleitaha Cafe (Cnr Taufa’ahau Road and ‘Alaivahamama’o Bypass).

More Tongan delights can be found at the 12 Seafood Restaurant (Umusi Road, Popua). Indulge in super fresh fish and chips and Tongan seafood dishes, like fish curry, ota ika and sweet and sour all for under TOP$20!

Cheap International Restaurants in Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu

Siva’s Dream Cafe (Te’ekiu) offers amazing value with their creative burgers for under TOP$20, while raw fish, pele sipi, chicken curry and chicken salad are also very affordable.

For a light lunch throughout the day, Pizzeria Royale (Faua Wharf) has very small vegetarian, ham and cheese, pepperoni, Hawaiian and BBQ chicken pizzas, as well as salads for under TOP$20.

Although famous for their burgers, Builder’s Burger (Vuna Road) has very affordable fish/sausage/chicken and chips and ota ika, while their “Jack” burger just sits at the TOP$20 mark.

Although a little more expensive than other Indian restaurants in town, Little India (Cnr Taufa’ahau Road and ‘Alaivahamama’o Bypass) still keeps things affordable with their menu of thalis all under TOP$20.

The popular open-air Billfish Bar and Restaurant (Vuna Road) also offers good-value food, serving hearty burgers, curry and cheap bar snacks, even with some burgers under TOP$15.

Top Cheap Eats in Nuku'alofa©

Operating out of ‘Utu’one B&B, Mi-Chef Restaurant (Vuna Road) has plenty on the menu for an affordable price, including chicken curry, chicken nuggets, vegetarian burgers and tuna sandwiches.

Slurp on beef, lamb and chicken curries, black-bean sauce, steaks and Szechuan cabbage or delve into sweet and sour fish dishes at the Precious Stone Restaurant (Taufa’ahau Road, Tailulu). The Chinese restaurant serves up an array of dishes, including vegetarian food, for TOP$12-$20. Most of the seafood dishes, however, are much more expensive.

Although Chef Zero Restaurant (Popua) is popular for its upmarket steak/fish evening meals, they do have an affordable lunch menu with the likes of butter chicken, Thai fish curry, fish and chips, burgers and ota ika for under TOP$20.

Cheap Cafes in Nuku’alofa

Keeping things affordable for lunch, Tupu’Anga Cafe (Popua) might be famous for its coffee roasters and manioke chips, but their all-day breakfasts and lunch specials rarely pass TOP$20. They also have plenty of light bites, such as lu pies and cassava cake.

A better-priced panini or toastie than most in Nuku’alofa, Moli Green Cafe (Cnr Fatafehi and Laifone Road) is a good go-to for a reasonable breakfast or lunch. Most are under TOP$15.

More Cheap Eats in Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu

That’s it for our list of the best cheap eats and restaurants in Nuku’alofa. For more budget and food talk, take a look at the following guides:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Guide to Tongatapu on a Budget.


Robin (Lopini) C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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