Financial freedom, sometimes, is more than simply having wealth.
It’s a simple reality that not everyone has twice their salary in a pension plan by the time they’re thirty.
Not everyone has capital gains that look like a part-time (or full-time, if you’re lucky) job.
So, what do these members of the population do? Do they starve, or eat day-old bread every day of the week? Hardly.
Those that cannot find cheap places to grab bite to eat in Malta are simply not trying.
1. Every Pastizzeria on the Island
The ever-ubiquitous Maltese pastizzeria isn’t popular for nothing.
The calorific, though delicious, selection of qassatat, pastizzi, sausage rolls, and pizzas may be a bit too popular with the Maltese stomach but they are also incredibly cheap, so much so that most of the items on the menu, as filling as they are, rarely ever cost you more than a euro, or a euro-something.
All day long, you can spot cars with their hazard lights stopped outside glass-counter storefront that separates the shop from the street, picking up their fix of puff-pastry foods.
An exception here being the ever-famous Crystal Palace Tas-Serkin, which offers its own pastizzi as well as all the other trappings of cheap Maltese eating and drinking: tea, coffee, and pasti too.
2. Euro Saver Meals
This might be cheating, but the euro-burgers at places like Burger King or McDonald’s are the most valuable things on the menu.
Two or three of those with a shake and maybe some fries are more than enough for the average human stomach.
Eat in, takeaway, or drive-through, it’s a cheap place with many options that are easy to share with friends.
3. Andrew’s Bar
Lunchtime, Birkirkara – several working-class men and women make their way to the time-capsule-like eatery: Andrew’s Bar.
Between té fit-tazza, heaping portions of pasta, food from the grill, and excellent sandwich snacks with options ranging from cold cuts to fried eggs or Maltese sausage.
The closest thing to Americana and Diner culture in Malta, Andrew’s Bar is a cornerstone of affordable eating at a relatively cheap place.
While not technically a restaurant, Arthur Azzopardi’s local, artisanal work as a chocolatier is not only stellar but makes the mass-produced variants from overseas actually seem weak in comparison.
5. Duke’s Snack Bar
Famous with Junior College crowd as well as the surrounded workplaces, Duke’s Snack Bar offers a build-your-own snack bar experience with hot food from the grill, too.
At the perfect price point for its customers, and their stipends, Duke’s shall hopefully be a long-time favourite.
6. Blue Bar
The recently revamped Blue Bar, also popular with the adjacent Junio College, might be hinting that eateries near schools might be a good place to find a quick and cheap bite.
Blue Bar has recently revisited their look and their menu, and their quality skyrocketed – but the prices haven’t. Definitely worth checking them out, assuming you haven’t before.
On Rue D’Argens, right past the bus stop on the way down from Savoy, you can come across a door at the corner of a small building with a sign, above, that reads Buchman’s Snack Bar.
What could arguably be the best, and one of the cheapest, ftajjar locations in Malta.
You can buy half a ftira or a whole one, you can go with the traditional tuna ftira or a ham and cheese one, you can also buy a drink.
It’s simple and stripped down, but it is a destination unto itself.
It’s hard to justify not getting the tuna ftira, with how well-oiled and balanced all the ingredients are, with how close this comes to the ideal ftira, but it’s hard to ever be dissatisfied with food at this price point.
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Malta is overrun with cheap places that have amazing food, so enjoy finding these little treasures on the island.