What $1 buys you around the world


People at the Bangkok food markets
People at the Bangkok food markets
If you only had $1 in your pocket, what could you spend it on?

The days when a loaf of bread or a carton of milk cost a dollar are long gone. These days that dollar will not stretch too far – in fact when I asked in the MiNDFOOD office we were all stumped.

Perhaps a chocolate on sale at the supermarket checkout, or a starting bid on eBay? Although it seems like a small amount in the Western  world, a dollar can much further abroad. Perhaps you’d like to spend yours on a long, relaxing massage in the Philippines or an unlimited rice meal in India.

Currency values vary significantly from country to country, leading to varying levels of purchasing power. While the purchasing power of $1 may not be the same everywhere, it’s fascinating to explore what this humble amount can buy you in different parts of the world.

Hindu bengali devotees eating velpuri, a roadside Indian bengali food dish, celebarting bengali new year known as Gajan or Charak festival.

Here’s a glimpse of what $1 can get you in various countries:

  1. India: In many local markets, you can enjoy a full meal, complete with rice, curry, and vegetables, for around $1.
  2. Indonesia: $1 can buy you a plate of delicious street food, like nasi goreng (fried rice) or mie goreng (fried noodles).
  3. Vietnam: You can savour a hearty bowl of pho, a traditional noodle soup, from a local street vendor for around $1.
  4. Egypt: Experience the flavours of falafel wrapped in pita bread or indulge in a delicious serving of koshari, a popular Egyptian dish.
  5. Mexico: Enjoy mouthwatering street tacos filled with meat, vegetables, and various toppings, all for just a dollar.
  6. Thailand: Treat yourself to a variety of street snacks like pad thai or mango sticky rice from a local market.
  7. Pakistan: You can enjoy a plate of biryani, a fragrant rice dish often prepared with meat and spices, for around $1.
  8. Philippines: Satisfy your sweet tooth with traditional Filipino snacks like bibingka (rice cake) or puto (steamed rice cakes).
  9. Ukraine: Indulge in a slice of hearty and delicious varenyky, also known as pierogi, a popular Ukrainian dumpling dish.
  10. South Africa: Enjoy a satisfying bunny chow, a South African fast food dish made with a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry.
  11. China: Experience the diverse flavours of street food with options like baozi (steamed buns) or jianbing (savory crepes).
  12. Argentina: Treat yourself to an empanada, a pastry filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables, for around $1.
  13. Kenya: Relish a plate of delicious nyama choma (grilled meat) or samosas from a local street vendor.
  14. Cambodia: Dig into a bowl of delicious and comforting Cambodian noodle soup, such as kuy teav or num banh chok.
  15. United States: Grab a small coffee or a budget-friendly fast food item from many popular chains.
  16. New Zealand: An apple at the supermarket, or perhaps a chocolate bar on special. 
  17. Australia: Fresh fruit in Australia can often come in under a dollar. And perhaps even a coffee at a chain fast food outlet. 

While $1 may not seem like much in some places, it can provide a satisfying and culturally rich experience in others.

Exploring these culinary delights highlights the incredible diversity of cuisines and lifestyles around the world, reminding us that the value of a dollar can greatly differ depending on where you are.


What can you buy for a dollar? Let us know in the comments below 


Print Recipe


Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe. 

Member Login