From Monday to Friday this week, the Go Away team will be revealing the 50 foods we believe will define your dining experience in Singapore. A mix of international and local flavours, these lists comprise of old-time favourites, well-known populars, as well as little-known gems. Part 3 of our 5-part series shares some of the best cheap and delicious dishes in Singapore we love.
You never have to wander too far to find satisfying meals at wallet-friendly prices in Singapore, but amazingly cheap eats that promise to hit the spot every single time may require a bit more research. Well, you’re in luck, because the Go Away team has done the homework for you and hunted down some of the shiok-est cheap food across our island!
1. Nasi Padang, price varies
Sina Pagi Nasi Padang
13 Circular Road
First, the variety of dishes you can choose to go with your nasi (rice) is bewildering. Second, the chillis, sambals, and curries are yummy and fiery hot! Third, the portions are generous. If you are craving for steaming white rice with a dollop of rich, comforting curry, this is the place to go. The bright colours make for a great food picture too!
2. Everything! From $7
Ah Bong’s Italian
56 Eng Hoon Road, #01-46
A kopitiam stall selling Italian nosh. The serving size at Ah Bong’s is modest but the pasta is big on taste and flavour. The menu has about 4 – 5 offerings each day but what keep us coming back have to be familiar favourites like the mac and cheese, the fresh pesto pasta and the Birthday Pasta. Opens from 10am to 2pm, Mon to Sat, this is a lunch date you have to make.
3. NZ Ribeye 250g, $19.50
iSteaks Grill House
33 Lorong Liput, Holland Village Food Court
We love our meat and so we zoomed in straight on the larger cut of 250g. Each grilled item comes with 2 complementary sides (choose from fries, mashed potato, coleslaw, corn on a cob, etc.). We visited on a Friday night and, despite being swamped with orders, our steaks were cooked to the requested doneness. This attention to detail definitely scored well with us. If you’re looking to satisfy a steak craving on a budget, iSteaks is definitely the place to go.
4. Laksa, $4.50
East Coast Lagoon Food Village
Those who aren’t so familiar with Singapore’s eastside and who want to sample the famous “Katong laksa” usually visit one of the many outlets along East Coast Road. But those who are truly in the know will head straight to Roxy Laksa at East Coast Lagoon Food Village. We prefer this outlet because the noodles haven’t been cut up into tiny bits, and because the gravy is more well-rounded, with a stronger flavour of coconut milk. The prawns used are also always reliably fresh.
5. Chicken Rice, from $2.50
Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice
S11, Blk 304 Woodlands St 31
What makes a damn awesome plate of Hainanese chicken rice? First, the unmistakable aroma of the rice only should entice you to the stall. Next, you bite into flavourful grains that are coated with just the right amount of grease, followed by tender, succulent chicken whose glistening skin boasts a smooth and gelatinous texture. Of course, you can’t eat chicken rice without the appetite-whetting garlic-chilli sauce! It should be fragrant and not overly spicy so as not to take the taste away from the lovely rice. Well, you don’t have to look THAT far for one of the best-tasting chicken rice in Singapore. This Hainanese chicken rice stall in Woodlands has gotten the formula down pat since 1991. The best part? It only costs $2.50 a plate! Tip: Go during off-peak hours to avoid the queue.
6. Chicken Dum Briyani, $13.50
137 East Coast Road (Tel: 6440 6786)
The first thing that struck us about this dish was that the rice wasn’t dyed an almost toxic-looking orange after we broke the dough layer on top, so we gathered that the bright colours came from the natural ingredients used to prepare the dish. The chicken leg within the rice was tender and flavourful. Another thing we appreciated was that while the dish was well spiced, we didn’t find ourselves biting into any or having to pick out a lot of spices while eating – a problem we had with other dum briyanis we sampled. For the price, the portions are more than generous, so be sure to order just one to share between two or three people so you can sample the other South Indian delights on offer.
7. Fried Carrot Cake, from $3
Seng Kee Carrot Cake
Bukit Timah Food Centre, 116 Upper Bukit Timah Road
While most diners flock to He Zhong, we are of the opinion that Seng Kee’s fried carrot cake is way better. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, this carrot cake is tasty and not too oily. The stall-owner has nailed the ratio of carrot cake to preserved radish (chye por) so you get a little of the salty, crunchy bits with every bite. Wiping off a big portion has never been a problem. It’s THAT awesome!
8. Yong Tau Foo, price varies
109 Teochew Yong Tau Foo
90 Circular Road
It is so difficult to find good yong tau foo these days. This yong tau foo starts off on the right note with the dollop of gravy added to your bowl of food. And this has the effect of tying everything together, making it all taste like food that’s been cooked by professionals. You can still add your own chilli sauce and sweet sauce but you really don’t need to drown everything in sauces – every piece of yong tau foo tastes fresh and does not have that frozen food taste. We can understand why it’s got a snaking queue during lunchtime every day.
9. Big Prawn Sang Mee, from $16.30
Kok Sen Restaurant
30 Keong Saik Road (6223 2005)
Kok Sen is well-known for its delicious, unpretentious Cantonese fare, and the Big Prawn Sang Mee is especially popular. There’s nothing shy or unassuming about this dish at all – the prawns are huge and succulent, the veggies thick and crunchy, and the noodles full of springy bite. But the star is the gravy – a starchy, spicy concoction that has hints of spicy dried shrimp (hae bi hiam). You’ll find yourself slurping up the gravy long after you’re done with the noodles. Oh, and the smallest serving portion is more than enough to serve two hungry foodies!
10. Fish Maw Bak Chor Mee, $9
Seng Kee Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle
Serangoon Garden Market, 267 Serangoon Ave 3
If you love that umami sweetness fish maw gives to double-boiled soups, you’ll love this bak chor mee. A $9 serving gets you a massive bowl of noodles with 4 pieces of fish maw and, lots of pork liver, minced meat and pork slices. The soup may look like a cloudy mess but it tastes like heaven. If you want to eat your noodles dry (which, by the way, is a good idea cos the chilli is damn shiok!), the soup is served separately.
Fellow foodies in Singapore, we know this list is by no means exhaustive. Let us know your personal recommendation too!