Singaporeans looking for a cheap eat out in the city know to head straight to their favourite hawker stall or centre.
However, the experience, while a part of daily life for most Singaporeans, is far from a restaurant dining experience. No air conditioning, standing in queues and the rush to grab a table go hand in hand with a hawker meal.
With that in mind, we also wanted to know; can one find cheap eats in a restaurant in Singapore?
In short – yes! Dining on a budget is possible in one of the world’s most expensive cities. There are plenty of places that have cheap eats and offer a restaurant dining experience.
We’ve already detailed what we think are some of the most affordable restaurants in Singapore, but this time we’re going one better, with some of the cheapest food and drink places you can find.
We’re not saying these restaurants are fancy, but they do offer tasty food at low prices. Grab some pocket change and dig in!
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Singapore’s Best Cheap Eats
Everyone knows Chan Hon Meng’s Michelin-starred soya chicken rice. Some may not know that you can avoid the queues at the original Chinatown stall by heading to his 80-seater Hawker Chan restaurant just a few minutes down the road. There’s air conditioning and the price remains low, with chicken rice priced at just $3.80.
There are other equally cheap and tasty dishes, like the roasted pork noodle or char siew pork rice. There are also two other restaurant locations – one downtown near Clarke Quay and the other on the Geylang side of Hougang.
What should I order? Chicken rice
How cheap are we talking? $3.80
Where? 78 Smith St, Singapore 058972
The cheapest all-you-can-eat buffet in Singapore is undoubtedly that at Annalakshmi in Clarke Quay. That’s because the restaurant is run by a charity and the prices are pay what you want! Indian food is the focus and it’s vegetarian only. The dosai and oothappam – a kind of rice and lentil pancake – are the specialities here. The food is great and the restaurant cosy, which means it gets busy. Bookings are recommended, especially on weekends.
What should I order? All-you-can-eat buffet
How cheap are we talking? Donation
Where? 20 Havelock Rd, #01-04 Central Square, Singapore 059765
Subs and sandwiches with an Asian influence are the name of the game at Rebel in Orchard. That means options like banh mi and the Asian Po Boy – Rebel’s take on a po boy sandwich. Rebel is a great option for vegetarians and vegans, with cheap eat staples like the Pure sandwich, with tempeh and Quorn patties. We usually go with either the Trad or the Original Rebel, which both come in at a pocket-friendly $6.90.
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What should I order? Original Rebel sandwich
How cheap are we talking? $6.90
Where? 111 Somerset Rd, #01-K1, Singapore 238164
Fu Lin Bar & Kitchen
Restaurant by day and bar by night, Fu Lin Bar & Kitchen is a great place on Telok Ayer Street. It serves up very affordable yong tau foo with a kopitiam vibe. Head up to the bar, choose your ingredients and then wait for the chefs to fry them up and hand you the dish back covered in their house mushroom-meat sauce. A six-piece yong tau foo with noodles costs $7 and is a filling meal. You can still eat in the evenings, but you’re not free to choose your own ingredients. But that doesn’t matter – order directly from the menu and enjoy one of the great house cocktails.
What should I order? Yong tau food
How cheap are we talking? $7
Where? 127 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068596
Seng Kee Black Herbal Chicken Soup
Few cheap eats are as satisfying as the mee sua at Seng Kee. The herbal chicken soup comes in at a higher price, so for a budget option that doesn’t compromise on taste, go for the pig organ mee sua. The herbal broth is comforting, the mee sua firm and the organs add sweetness and texture to the dish. While the soup is not refillable like at some other joints, the low price here means we had to include Seng Kee.
What should I order? Pig organ mee sua
How cheap are we talking? $5
Where? 467/477 Changi Rd, Singapore 419893
Kaya toast is a breakfast and snack staple for many and is available at hundreds of spots across the city. Ya Kun itself has about 40 outlets. We suggest heading to the original one in Far East Square for a traditional grilled Singapore kaya toast experience. The decor is no frills, but sitting out on the terrace makes for a quintessential Singaporean breakfast experience.
Go for the value set, which are also traditional, as they come with a boiled egg and coffee. The kaya toast with butter value set comes in at $4.80 and is a cheap and cheerful hearty breakfast or brunch option that will keep you going for hours.
What should I order? Kaya toast with butter value set
How cheap are we talking? $4.80
Where? 18, #01-01 China St, Singapore 049560
From their locations in Tanjong Pagar and Novena, Two Men Bagel House dish out New York style bagels to hungry workers either until 4pm or when they sell out. A bagel makes a quick lunch for those who need something on the go and there are plenty of options here.
There are some interesting lunch options, like the smoked haddock or BBQ ribs bagel, but these aren’t the cheapest as they cost around $14. However, their all-day breakfast bagels prove better value, with the GuacaMoly and Whammer bagels both costing $10. The bagels are huge, ingredients top quality and there’s great coffee and milkshakes available too. Expect queues at lunchtime, but the service is quick.
What should I order? GuacaMoly Bagel
How cheap are we talking? $10
Where? 16, #01-12 Enggor St, Icon Village Altez, Singapore 079717
Previously known as ENG’s Noodle House, Lao Huo Tang (老火汤) took over the restaurant on Tanjong Katong Road and renamed it after the passing of previous owner Mr Ng. Nevertheless, the wanton mee continues to pull in both regulars and new customers thanks to the new owners sticking to the old recipe. There’s also ENG’s Char Siew Wantan Mee across the street that is owned and operated by Mr Ng’s sons.
Wantons are the local prawn and pork mix, the noodles here have the traditional springy feel and the dish comes with char siew pork and leafy greens. The deep-fried lard is kept on tables so that diners can add as much as they desire, while the place is renowned for its particularly fiery chili sauce. Those fancying wantons on their own as a snack can go for the fried or boiled wantons at $3 for small and $5 for large.
What should I order? Dry Wantan Mee
How cheap are we talking? $4.50 small / $5.50 large
Where? 287 Tanjong Katong Rd, Singapore 437036
Zam Zam in Rochor has been doing quality and affordable Indian food for over 100 years. Open every day, the restaurant has two floors and plenty of seating. Zam Zam is famous for its murtabak, but we come here for the tasty, satisfying and low-priced biryanis.
The meat is cooked together with the rice which imparts a special fragrance. The prawn and deer biryanis are more expensive, but you can get a mutton, chicken, beef or fish biryani for $6.50 (egg biryani is $6).
What should I order? Mutton biryani
How cheap are we talking? $6.50
Where? 697-699 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 198675
For budget pho that still tastes great, head straight to Mrs Pho. Located in Kallang, the beef and chicken pho come in at under $10, but there’s a full menu of other traditional Thai dishes if you want to indulge. The restaurant itself is cosy and the food has a real home-cooked feel. The small size does mean that you might have to wait a while at lunch, but trust us, if you’re watching the pennies then it will be worth it.
What should I order? Beef pho
How cheap are we talking? $8.90
Where? 221 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218459
Laksa is another classic cheap dish loved in Singapore. Hawker stalls like Roxy Laksa or Frenzlink Cafeteria offer the lowest prices, but we love the crayfish laksa at The Original Katong Laksa, which comes in at under $10 (regular laksas start from $5).
The crayfish laksa comes filled to the brim with a dried shrimp and coconut milk base, before the chefs add bean sprouts, prawns, fish cakes, cockles and laksa leaves. The laksa here is extremely aromatic and great value, with the compromise between taste and cost very fair.
For another super good and cheap laksa, 328 Katong Laksa is a Singapore institution.
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What should I order? Crayfish laksa
How cheap are we talking? $9.50
Where? 331 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 534949