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How to Manage Your Diet as a Paying Guest in the Big Cities

Updated on May 4, 2020
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Vikram Brahma is a Digitalpreneur, Author, Blogger, Writer, & YouTuber. He loves to write content & spend time working from home.


I have stayed in the hostel and away from home for almost 10 years. During this time I learned many things, especially how to manage food, work, money and how to stay alone.

When you stay alone or away from home many times you stay as a paying guest. I remember I started living in the Katwarai Sarai near JNU but later I moved to Kherki Extension of Malviya Nagar in Delhi.

In this article, I will share what are the best practices and how we can manage our diet or food when we stay alone. These are my personal experience which I had during my stay in Delhi, India.

Select A Near By Restaurant

In the beginning, you will not have any clue related to what to eat or where to eat? Plus, no one brings a gas cylinder and whole utensils from Assam all the way to Delhi. In fact, if you have stayed in the hostel then in most cases you pay for your food and rent in advance.

Once you leave your hostel and you start living as a paying guest. Then my first advice will be to select any nearby good restaurant. In my case, I am telling you my story between 2003 to 2012.

During that time cost of food was less in comparison to today. And since I left the hostel I have no utensils to prepare my own food. And in fact, I have no clue as to how to prepare even a simple food. So, I selected a few restaurants where I use to eat almost every day.

And in the big metro cities wherever there are students or working community you will find many small restaurants which are especially started to cater to the need of paying guest. I remember every night I would spend Rs. 30 (0.40 cents) and I use to eat potato, dal, rice and sometimes egg. So, in this way, I use to spend around Rs. 1500 to 2000 per month on my food including my breakfast and lunch.

Learn From Friends’ Experience

As you progress and start adjusting with your new life. You will going to find many hostel friends living near you. Some of them will be good at cooking or at least started cooking by themselves. You will always find some of your friends like this.

I was lucky to find two such friends in Katwarai Sarai and in Malviya Nagar. Both were from Orissa and I started observing them. They use to invite me for lunch especially on Sunday. So, after observing them over time I learned the basic of cooking.

Then I first tried by assisting them while they prepare food for us. I learned how to cook different vegetables. Although we always avoided making roti and we use to manage with rice, dal, vegetable and egg.

Setting Up Your Own Kitchen
Setting Up Your Own Kitchen

Setting Up Your Own Kitchen

As the time passed I realized that it’s always better to prepare own food.
And since I learned the art after observing and testing then I set up my own small kitchen.

I use to do lots of experiments with different vegetables and dal. Slowly I started preparing good food for myself. Then I came to know the prices of vegetables, dal and other food items. As I progressed in the job I kept on doing experiments with different varieties of food.

Later time came for me to invite my friends from whom I learned those skills. We use to enjoy food together. During this stage, I came to know how much we can save money by preparing our own food. In fact, sometimes when I want to eat roti I use to prepare vegetables myself and use to bring roti from the restaurant.

For breakfast I use to take fruits, sometimes oats, sometimes bread. But I use to eat light breakfast as I have to travel a long distance to reach the office. Then in the afternoon, we use to eat either in-office or nearby restaurant of our office. And for dinner, I use to eat by preparing my own food unless I have work late at night.

Experiment As You’re Young

Although I learned many dishes during this time but there were some dishes which I couldn’t prepare myself. Dosa, idli and sambar were some of these dishes which I like a lot. So, to eat them I use to visit RK Puram and there is a building related to Tamil Sangam. Every Sunday I use to visit this small open food stall to eat these items.

Apart from these, I love to eat various paratha stuffed with onion, methi (fenugreek), potato etc. So, I use to visit a nearby restaurant to eat them. I experimented a lot with my food habits. But overall I request to take care of your health. Luckily I never became sick even after eating out a lot except two times but only for one day each.


I will definitely say if you can learn how to cook then it is one of the best skill you can learn. As a paying guest, I would also suggest that you don’t have to stock many processed packet foods like cold drink, chocolates, chips etc. Also avoid unnecessary oily food. They are definitely not good for health.

Plus, now-a-days by the help of the internet, YouTube is with you so you can watch and learn as many dishes you want. Internet was not so easily available on mobile during 2005.

If you have some time and money to spend, you can join some culinary class to become a master. But not recommended in the beginning. Just ask your Mom or friends or just use YouTube.

Always try to eat fresh because, in the long run, this will benefit you a lot. Learn from friends by observing them. Apart from these, exercise or go out and walk. And don’t worry just start and with time, you will become a good cook and you will feel proud of yourself.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Vikram Brahma


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