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Chicken Noodle Soup Vagabond Style

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If you have facilities to cook for yourself  (a tuna can or a camp stove or portable electric burner with a pot would do) it is possible to feed yourself high quality, nutritional food for under $5 per day just about anywhere in the world. What could be called basic, nutritional raw food  — meat, vegetables, fruit, starch (rice, noodles, couscous etc…) are generally dirt cheap all over the planet. (Go to Healthy food is the cheapest food everywhere). The trick, I suppose, is knowing how to cook these foods so they become hearty, fulfilling, and good tasting meals with an overtly simple cooking rig. Cook for yourself when traveling.

Recipe #1 of the Vagabond Cookbook is an old favorite: chicken noodle soup

As it’s title indicates, chicken noodle soup is generally made up of chicken, some vegetables, noodles, and whatever else you want to throw in boiled up together in a pot. This is one of the simplest, easiest, and healthiest meals a traveler can prepare on the road, and one that can be made in a single pot over a single burner stove in a hotel room, in camp, or, if luxury permits, a kitchen.

Supplies needed

A stove of any kind, a fuel source, a fire starter, silverware, and a pot.


To make vagabond style chicken noodle soup I suppose you only need the basics, chicken and noodles, but I know of few hobos so cash strapped and masochistic that these are the only ingredients they would chose to use. Rather, an entire array of vegetables and spices can be added to this soup as taste and regional availability allow. Depending on what we have access to, we generally throw in tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, just about anything we have in our rucksacks into the mix, along with some soup stock and spices.

Vagabond chicken noodle soup ingredients

How to prepare

  1. Fill a pot with water and put on high heat.
  2. Add soup stock (optional).
  3. As the water is heating up, chop onions, vegetables, meat, garlic, jalapeno, and anything else you want to put in the soup.
  4. When water boils put in noodles.
  5. Add in onions and other herbs or spices.
  6. Throw the meat into the mix.
  7. When the soup is nearly finished, add in vegetables. Cook the vegetables only until they are warm and palatable — do not over cook them as they will lose nutrition.
  8. The soup is finished when the noodles are ready to eat.
Total prep and cooking time: 20 minutes.
Total cost: around US$2 for a family of two adults and a toddler, less than $1.50 if solo, in Mexico. Estimated cost in the USA or Europe: $4 for the family, $2.50 if solo.

Chicken noodle soup cooking

Chicken noodle soup vagabond style

The Vagabond Cookbook is a series on Vagabondjourney.com which aims to share simple, easy to prepare recipes for good, wholesome, cheap meals on the road. All recipes are subject to local availability of ingredients, though most are polymorphous and can be made almost anywhere in the world with only minor adaptions. If you have any recipes to add to the cookbook, please email them to the author.

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Filed under: Budget Travel, Cheap Food, Food

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3134 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Zhushan Village, Kinmen, TaiwanMap