Vancouver is ranked as the 37th most expensive city in the world — and the most expensive in North America. But that didn’t stop UBC commerce student and self-proclaimed “C Eat O” of new website Chowmenow, Aden Klein, from consistently finding lunches for under $5. Now, his goal is to share his finds with others.
Klein, who is in his third year of studying finance, said he has always been on the lookout for cheap and delicious food.
“I’m a big guy, really,” he said with a laugh, “and it’s hard to fill me up with something that won’t hurt my wallet.”
Thinking that others shared the same problem, Klein launched Chowmenow, a website that provides easy access to cheap eats around Vancouver and most of the Lower Mainland. Visitors to the site are able to choose from a list of neighbourhoods and view restaurant reviews on menu items for under $5. The website’s simple layout allows users to peruse reviews by alphabetical order and rating, and click on links to locate the restaurant on Google Maps. The site also features a list of “top five” lunch hotspots, updated on a weekly basis.
By collaborating with local sites and food bloggers, Klein has already gathered together more than 200 reviews from 197 different restaurants. Blog followers can write their own reviews and become members of the Chowmenow community as well.
Klein said he enjoys writing many of the reviews himself. “Usually I just happen to be going out for lunch with friends or my dad and I find the place,” he explained. “They’re usually just like that, where I saw something for under $5 and thought ‘I should try that.’”
Klein seemed to know his way around deals at UBC as well.
“There’s a lot of places around UBC that you’d be surprised have great $5 finds. My personal favourite is the Pit on Wednesdays. They do the burger and fries for $3.95, which is really filling and pretty good.”
“For students like me, Chowmenow is super useful when looking for a good, cheap lunch,” said Kathleen Escanan, a second-year visual arts student and an avid user of the site. “I like how you can type in a street name or postal code to find the nearest place for an affordable meal.”
As Chowmenow continues to accumulate both views and reviews, Klein hinted at plans to widen the scope of his website. “Right now, we’re looking at building a mobile app,” he said. He also said that he plans to expand the site to a second and possibly third city.
It appears Chowmenow is well on its way towards fulfilling Klein’s quest for $5 feasts — one click at a time.