Singapore Food on a Budget – What to try and where to go!

April 13, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Singapore

Visiting Singapore has been a shock to our budget. Since leaving Australia and traveling through Asia, we’ve been a little spoiled, with most of our travel in countries having an extremely low cost of living. Since arriving in Singapore however, we have had to lay low and look for low-cost activities. Singapore is not very kind to the budget traveler. But that doesn’t mean we sit at home and twiddle our thumbs! Singapore food is amazing!

Despite the huge cost of living, Singapore food can be very affordable and in fact, you can even try Michelin Star food without breaking the bank! Street food or food hawkers offer some of the best of Singapore food and at super affordable prices. Dishes are full of flavor and are generous sized portions, which means you’ll go home happy and so will your wallet.

Today we’ve put together a list of must try Singapore food options. We are always keen to try local food so when we arrived in Singapore we put this list together for our own use, and it has been fantastic! We haven’t tried them all yet, but we are well on our way!

Singapore Food – Wanton Mee

Singapore Food - What to eat and where to go!

Wanton Mee

Strongly influenced by Hong Kong cuisine, Singapore Wanton noodles have become a mainstay of Singapore culture over the years. In Singapore, it is typically eaten ‘dry’, drenched with some light sweet sauce, slices of pork char siew and wanton dumplings filled with pork, with a small bowl of soup on the side. You may choose a spicy or non spicy version, while the non-spicy kid’s version will often have tomato sauce mixed in. The wanton dumplings are either deep fried or come in soup dumplings.

Best Wanton Mee stalls:

Fei Fei Wanton Mee: 62 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427785

Parklane Zha Yun Tun Mee House: 91 Bencoolen Street, #01-53, Sunshine Plaza, Singapore 189652

Kok Kee Wanton Mee: 380 Jalan Besar, Lavender Food Square, #01-06, Singapore 209000 (closed every 3 weeks Wed & Thur)

Singapore Food – Bak Chor Mee (Minced Meat Noodle)

Singapore Food - Bak Chor Mee

Our first taste of Singapore Food was the popular Bak Chor Mee, a noodle dish with minced pork, liver, meat balls/ fish balls, fish cake slices and a signature vinegar braised sauce that adds some wetness.

Typically, the dish is ordered ‘dry’ to savour full flavours of the sauce and you can choose between chilli or ketchup, and the type of noodle to use. Noodle choices are normally either Mee Pok (a flat noodle) or Mee Kia (thin noodle), while some stalls offer bee hoon, mee sua or mee tai mak as well.

We tried this dish at one of the two Michelin Star Hawker Stores in Singapore (read about it here), Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, and it was well worth the 30 minute wait!

Best Bak Chor mee stalls:

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle: Blk 466 Crawford Lane #01-12, Singapore 190465 (closed on 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month) – Michelin Star Hawker

58 Minced Meat Mee: 3 Yung Sheng Road, #03-150, Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre, Singapore 618495

Seng Hiang Food Stall (soup variant): Blk 85 Bedok North Street 4, Fengshan Market & FoodCentre, Singapore 460085

Seng Kee Mushroom Minced Pork Noodles: 49A Serangoon Garden Way, Serangoon Garden Market & Food Centre, Singapore 555945

Singapore Food – Fried Carrot Cake

Singapore Food - What to eat and where to go!

Fried Carrot Cake – not what we expected!

No, this is not what a Westerner might expect. In fact when we first saw a sign advertising Fried Carrot Cake we wondered if they’d displayed the wrong picture! The Singapore Fried Carrot cake is made with eggs, white radish flour cake and preserved radish (chai poh), which when mixed, resembles a ‘white carrot’.

There are variations of Fried Carrot Cake, including the ‘black’ version, which is made with sweet sauce (molasses), or a crispy version where the cake is fried on top of a beaten egg to create a crust and chunks of cake.

Best Fried Carrot Cake Stalls:

Carrot Cake (that’s the literal name of the store): 20 Kensington Park Road, Chomp Chomp Food Centre, Singapore 557269 (closed on alternate Tues)

He Zhong Carrot Cake: 51 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre, Singapore 588172

Fu Ming Carrot Cake: Blk 85 Redhill Lane, Redhill Food Centre, Singapore 150085

Hai Sheng Carrot Cake: Blk 724 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6, Market and Food Centre, #01-09, Singapore 560724


Singapore Food – Dim Sum

Singapore Food - What to eat and where to go!

Yummy Dim Sum

One of our favourite dishes throughout Asia has been Dim Sum. Super fussy Sienna has just loved it and eats a lot of it, which has made it super popular in our family! Another Hong Kong inspired dish, Dim Sum is a set of small dishes to be shared in a group – a typical Chinese dining custom. Popular dim sum dishes include the BBQ Pork Bun, Xiao Long Bao, Siew Mai, Chee Chong Fun and many more.

Best Dim Sum Stalls:

Swee Choon Tim Sum: 191 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208882 (closed on Tues)

Tim Ho Wan: 450 Toa Payoh Lorong 6, #02-02, ERA Centre, Singapore 319394

Wen Dao Shi (搵到食): 126 Sims Ave, Singapore 387449

Related Guide: Best Dim Sums in Singapore History: The Ultimate Guide

Singapore Food – Laksa

Singapore Food - What to eat and where to go!


Laksa is a dish merged from Chinese and Malay elements. The most predominant Singapore version of Laksa is a curry laksa, however, numerous variations exist including fish, broth and noodle laksa.

Traditional Singapore Curry Laksa uses vermicelli, coconut milk, tau pok (beancurd puffs), fish slices, shrimp and cockles (hum). Due to cost cutting or taste preference, some stalls might opt out of shrimp and cockles. A unique Singapore variant known as Katong Laksa has it’s vermicelli cut into short ends and is eaten only with a spoon.

Best Laksa Stalls:

328 Katong Laksa: 51/53 East Coast Road, Singapore 428770

Sungei Road Laksa: Blk 27 Jalan Berseh, #01-100 Singapore 200027

Janggut Laksa: 1 Queensway, Queensway Shopping Centre, #01-59, Singapore 149053

Singapore Food – Bak Kut Teh (Meat bone tea)

Singapore Food - What to eat and where to go!

Bak Kut Teh

The history of Bak Kut Teh stems from many years ago. Locals suggest that it stems from the olden days of Singapore, when a poor, starving man, stopped at a road-side noodle store to beg for food. The street vendor took pity and while poor himself, he wanted to help. He boiled some of his left-over pork bones and added some cheap spices to flavour the soup, and created a soup resembling tea in colour. And so, pork bone tea was born.

Bak Kut Teh has been in Singapore for many years and deserves its recognition as a simple, humble dish. Most of the Bak Kut Teh served in Singapore today are the pepper variety, with mild use of herbs like Star Anise. Choose pork rib meat in your soup for a more tender bite.

Best Bak Kut Teh stalls:

Song Fa Bak Kut Teh: 11 New Bridge Road #01-01, Singapore 059383

Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh: 7 Keppel Road, #01-05/07, PSA Tanjong Pagar Complex, Singapore 089053 (closed on Mon)

Leong Kee (Klang) Bak Kut Teh: 321 Beach Road, Singapore 199557 (closed on Wed)

Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup: 208 Rangoon Road, Hong Building Singapore 218453 (closed on Mon)

Singapore Food – Curry Fish Head


The look of this dish might initially put you off, but we are told it is absolutely delicious. Either half a head or the whole head of a Red snapper is stewed in curry with assorted vegetables like Lady’s Finger (okra) and brinjal. The Indian style of curry has heavier spices and flavours, while the Chinese styles are lighter and sweeter. With so many dishes available in this list, Curry Fish Head is one we are yet to try – to be honest, I’m not sure I can get past the evil smile on the face of the fish!

Best Curry Fish head stalls:

Zai Shun Curry Fish Head (Chinese style): Blk 253 Jurong East St 24, First Cooked Food Point, #01-205, Singapore 600253 (closed wed)

Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant (Indian style): 808/810, Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 678145

Samy’s Curry (Indian style): 25 Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249670

Gu Ma Jia (assam style): 45 Tai Thong Crescent, Singapore 347866

Bao Ma Curry Fish Head (Chinese style): #B1-01/07, 505 Beach Road, Golden Mile Food Centre, Singapore 199583

Singapore Food – Oyster Omelette (Orh Lua)

A dish popular at Singapore Hawker stalls, this is a dish many foreigners and locals love. Stalls that sell carrot cake typically also sell Oyster omelets as it has a similar cooking process, along with a common ingredient – eggs. Potato starch is usually mixed when frying the egg and gives a thicker, fuller taste. Variations include a version without the starch, (a little higher in price due to the need for more eggs) and a special vinegar chilli, that is also paired exclusively with oyster omelettes in Singapore.

Best Oyster Omelette stalls:

Simon Road Oyster Omelette: 965 Upper Serangoon Road, Mee Sek Coffeeshop, Singapore 534721 (closed Tue)

Ang Sa Lee Oyster Omelette: 20 Kensington Park Road, Chomp Chomp, Singapore 557269 (closed alt. Wed)

Bedok 85 Fried Oyster Omelette: Blk 85 Bedok North Street 4, Fengshan Market & FoodCentre, Singapore 460085

Ah Hock Fried Oyster Hougang: Blk 90 Whampoa Dr, #01-54, Whampoa Hawker Centre, Singapore 320090 (closed Weds)

Singapore Food – Durian

Best Singapore Food - What to eat and where to go

Durian Fruit

Widely popular throughout South East Asia, Durian is well known for its strong pungent smell. The durian is actually the national fruit of Singapore and Singapore even has a building modeled after one (Esplanade). Most foreigners are turned off by the strong smell, which has been compared to the smell of rotting meat, however if you can get past it, the fruit is said to be quite delicious. So far, we haven’t managed to get past the smell – but I’m determined to pluck up the courage before I leave Asia! Locals use durian in desserts, cakes, tarts and even shakes.

Best Durian stalls:

Wonderful Fruit Enterprise: 147 Sims Avenue, Singapore 387469

Ah Seng Durian: Blk 20 Ghim Moh Road, #01-197, Singapore 270020

Hoe Seng Heng Durian Centre: 49 Sims Ave, Singapore 387413

Singapore Food – Hokkien Prawn Mee

Singapore Food - What to eat and Where to go!

Hokkien Prawn Mee

The Singapore Hokkien Mee fries a combination of egg noodles and rice noodles in a rich prawn stock, with cubes of fried pork fat, prawns, fish cake and squid. Some vendors add pork strips as well to add more flavour. This dish was a product of post-war Hokkien noodle factory workers who would gather along Rochor road and fry any excess noodles they had. Another version easily confused by the same name is called the Hokkien Char mee, which is covered in a signature thick dark sauce and uses only 1 type of egg noodle.

Best Hokkien Prawn Mee stalls:

Eng Ho Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee: 409 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, #01-34, Teck Ghee Square Food Centre, Singapore 560409

Chia Keng Fried Hokkien Mee: 20 Kensington Park Road, Chomp Chomp, Singapore 557269

Original Serangoon Fried Hokkien Mee: 556 Serangoon Road, Singapore 218175

Ah Hock Fried Hokkien Noodles: 20 Kensington Park Road, Chomp Chomp, Singapore 557269 (closed once every fortnight)

Singapore Food – Satay


Satay is a dish of skewered, Turmeric marinated meat that is grilled on an open fire. It originates from Indonesia but has become a common hawker fare in Singapore. Typical meats include chicken, beef, mutton and even pork which is sold by the Chinese stall owners. From our experience, the pork has been incredible! Ketupat (rice cake), onions and cucumbers usually accompany the Satay. A spicy peanut dip is also provided for the Satay and sides as well.

Best Satay Stalls:

Kwong Satay: 549 Lorong 29 Geylang Road, Sing Lian Eating House, Singapore 389504 (closed alt. Wed)

Haron Satay: 1220 East Coast Parkway, East Coast Lagoon Food Village, Singapore 468960

Chuan Kee Satay: Block 51 Old Airport Road, #01-85, Old Airport Road Food Centre Singapore 390051 (closed Mon, Thur)

Singapore Food – BBQ Sambal Sting Ray

Best Singapore Food - What to eat and where to go!

BBQ Sambal Sting Ray

Also known as Ikan Bakar (barbequed fish), Stingray used to be unpopular but has risen in price since Singaporean Malays figured out that Sambal on top of Sting Ray = delicious. It is traditionally wrapped in banana leaf and barbecued, then a sambal paste made with belachan, spices, shallots and Indian walnuts is smothered generously all over the top. Lime is usually squeezed in right before eating as well.

Best BBQ Stingray stalls:

Star Yong Kwang B.B.Q. Seafood: Blk 127 Bukit Merah Lane 1, Alexandra Village Food Centre, #01-230, Singapore 150127

Chomp Chomp Hai Wei Yuan Seafood Barbecue: 20 Kensington Park Road, Chomp Chomp, Singapore 557269

B.B.Q. Seafood: 3 Yung Sheng Road, Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre, #03-178, Singapore 618499 (closed alt. Thur)

Singapore Food – Tau Huay


Tau Huay is a Chinese dessert made with beancurd tofu that is sweetened with sugar syrup. It is very soft, slightly grainy and soaks in syrup to be eaten together. This Tau Huay can be eaten hot or cold, sometimes with Tang Yuan, grass jelly or Soya bean milk added as well.

In recent times, another popular variation has surfaced. This version is smoother and can incorporate pretty much any flavour like mango, melon or sesame. The texture is distinctively different from the traditional types.

Best Tau Huay stalls:

Lao Ban Soya Beancurd (gelatine type): #01-127 and #01-107 Old Airport Road Hawker Centre, 51 Old Airport Road (closed Mon)

Selegie Soya Bean: 990 Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore 534734

Rochor Original Beancurd: 2 Short Street, Singapore 188211

Singapore Food – Ice Kacang (lit. ice beans)

Singapore food - what to eat and where to go.

It may look strange, but it tastes much better than it looks!

A grinding machine is used to produce a mountain of shaved ice, on top of which a variety of toppings are added including red bean, attap chee (palm seed), agar agar jelly, chendol, grass jelly or any other filling desired. Evaporated or condensed milk is then drizzled on the top along with red rose syrup and sarsi syrup to produce the multi-coloured effect. It is a very striking looking dessert, that we’ve now had it a few times and quite enjoyed it!

Best Ice Kacang stalls:

Annie’s Peanut Ice Kacang: 20 Ghim Moh Road, #01-35, Ghim Moh Market & Food Centre Singapore 270020

Mei Heong Yuen: 65-67 Temple Street, Singapore 058610

An Ji Xiang Hua Ice Jelly: Blk 335 Smith Street, #02-183, Chinatown Complex Market, Singapore 050335

Singapore Food – Kaya Toast and Soft-boiled Eggs

Singapore Food - What to eat and where to go!

Kaya Toast and Soft Boiled Eggs

Kaya toast is a traditional Singaporean breakfast. The traditional bread is cut from a white loaf, toasted, and lathered with Kaya (a sweet creamy coconut spread made from coconut milk and duck or chicken eggs) and a thick slice of butter to slowly melt within 2 slices of warm bread. This is the classic kaya toast. Variations include using thinly sliced brown bread, round buns or ‘Jiam Tao Loh Tee’ like a French baguette.

Best Kaya Toast stalls:

Killiney Kopitiam: 67 Killiney Road, Singapore 239525

Chin Mee Chin Confectionery: 204 East Coast Road, Singapore 428903 (closed on Mon)

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe: 20 Upper Pickering Street, Hong Lim Green Community Centre, Singapore 058284

Ya Kun Kaya Toast: 18 China Street #01-01, Far East Square, Singapore 049560 (there are like over 30 outlets of Ya Kun in Singapore now)

Singapore Food – Crabs (Chilli or Pepper)

Singapore Food - What to eat and where to go!

Chilli Crab

Singapore Food - What to eat and where to go!

Pepper Crab

While I’m not sure this would be popular in our family (we don’t like a lot of spicy food), chilli crabs are an extremely popular Singapore food dish. The 2 most famous styles of crab cooking in Singapore are with a sweet, spicy tomatoish chilli sauce, or with black pepper sauce. Chilli crabs are usually eaten along with fried mantous (buns), which are dipped in the luscious chilli sauce.

Best Singapore Crab stalls:

Red House Seafood Restaurant: 68 Prinsep Street, Singapore 188661

Long Beach Seafood: Blk 1018 East Coast Parkway, Singapore 449877

Crab Party: 98 Yio Chu Kang Road, Singapore 545576

Ban Leong Wah Hoe Seafood: 122 Casuarina Road, Singapore 579510

No Signboard Seafood: 414 Geylang Singapore 389392

Singapore Food – Chwee Kway (Water Rice Cake )


Another breakfast dish that is super popular in Singapore and Johor, Chwee Kway is sold at stalls that mostly open in the morning and close by lunch. Rice flour and water are mixed together to form the rice cake, then put into little saucers and steamed to produce the typical Chwee Kway bowl-like shape. It is topped with chai poh (preserved radish) and chilli. Chwee Kway is a very traditional dish but a dying trade, so it is one to try before it is gone for good.

Best Chwee Kueh stalls:

Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh: 20 Ghim Moh Road #01-31, Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre, Singapore 270020

Bedok Chwee Kueh: blk 207 New Upper Changi Road #01-53 Singapore 460207

Jian Bo Shui Kueh: 30 Seng Poh Road, #02-05, Tiong Bahru Market and Food CentreS(168898)

Singapore Food – Biryani

Singapore Food - What to eat and where to go

Chicken Biryani

Biryani is a fried rice dish of Indian Muslim influence made using distinctive long grain rice, usually with Basmati rice. Spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and bay leaves are added for flavour along with a variety of meat options, depending on your preferences. We have liked the chicken biryani!

Best Biryani stalls:

Bismillah Biryani Restaurant: 50 Dunlop Street, Singapore 209379

Taj Authentic Indian Cuisine: 214 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058763 (closed Sun)

Ali Nachia Briyani Dam: 5 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, #02-04, Singapore 081005 (closed Sun)

Koothurar: Block 17, Beach Road, Singapore 190017 (closed alt Tues)

Singapore Food -Nasi Lemak (coconut rice)


Nasi Lemak began its life as a breakfast dish, however, it is now eaten during lunch and dinner too. Traditionally wrapped in banana leaves, Nasi Lemak is a coconut rice dish. To give it a sweet fragrance, the rice is steamed with coconut cream and traditionally is served with Ikan Bilis (anchovies), peanuts, egg and sambal. A good sambal is arguably the mark of a good Nasi Lemak.

Nasi Lemak is so popular in Singapore, it has been adopted by other nationalities who have made their own variations of the dish and offer a wide selection of ingredients like fried chicken drumsticks, luncheon meat and sotong balls.

Best Nasi Lemak Stalls:

Ponggol Nasi Lemak: 965 Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore 534721 (closed Thur)

Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak: 2 Adam Road, Adam Food Centre Singapore 289876

Chong Pang Nasi Lemak: 447 Sembawang Road, Singapore 758404

Mizzy’s Corner: 2 Changi Village road, #01-55, Changi Village market and food centre, Singapore 500002

Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak: Blk 221B Boon Lay Place, Boon Lay Place Market and Food Centre, #01-06, Singapore 642221

Singapore Food – Mee Siam

Best Singapore Foods - What to eat and where to go!

Mee Siam

Popular among the Muslim community as well as Chinese, Mee Siam has been absorbed into Singapore’s Nonya culture. Mee Siam means “Siamese noodles” and is vermicelli soaked in a sweet and spicy gravy, flavoured by Tamarind (assam), dried shrimp and Tau Cheo (fermented bean paste). It usually comes with a boiled egg, bean sprouts, tau pok (beancurd puff) and is garnished with chives.

Best Mee Siam stalls:

Dju Dju Indonesian Food: Blk 304 Serangoon Ave 2, #01-14, Singapore 550304 (closed Mon)

Robert Mee Siam Lontong: Blk 91 Whampoa Drive #01-43 Makan Place, Singapore 320091

Wak Limah Stall: 320 Shunfu Road, #02-15, Shunfu Food Centre Singapore 570320

Related Guide: Affordable Romantic Restaurants in Singapore

Singapore might be a shock to the budget, however delicious, quality food, at an affordable price is everywhere in Singapore. With so many dishes to try, we may need to extend our stay!

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