Of course you can find cheap chicken rice, wanton mee, carrot cake, and char kway teow in Singapore! You just need to know which hawker stalls to visit. That’s where we come in
In case you missed it, Singapore has once again made it to the top of the list of the most expensive cities to live in. But if that’s got you counting your dollars and penning down your weekly expenditure, just stay calm, ’cos we’ve got your back. Thankfully, we live in a country where you can easily find hordes of great food for affordable prices in hawker centres, where you won’t only taste tradition and the true ‘local food’ of Singapore, but it’ll also fill your tums if you know where to look! Here’s our list of cheap, full meals you can get for just $3 or less.
For Wanton Noodles: Bee Kee Wanton Noodles
Nestled in an unassuming corner of Liew Lien, this Serangoon gem serves up a tasty bowl of wanton noodles for just $3. You’ll get firm, ‘al dente’ noodles with good bite, well-seasoned char siew, and both fried and boiled dumplings. If you’re feeling baller and want to shell out another $3, you can even get the truffle oil-infused version. This is kind of a secret item, so you’ll have to ask about it when ordering.
Bee Kee Wanton Noodles, Block 2 Lorong Lew Lian, Singapore 531002.
For Bak Chor Mee: 58 Minced Meat Noodle
Okay this one is a little out of the way, but if you somehow find yourself in Jurong, definitely make a detour to 58 Minced Meat Noodle for their amazing bak chor mee ($2.50). This won’t do any wonders for your waistline because of the crazy quantities of lard in it, but what’s special about this one is the rich, sweet-savoury chilli sauce. Despite the price, they don’t skimp on quantity!
58 Minced Meat Noodle, 3 Yung Seng Road, #03-150 Taman Jurong Food Centre, Singapore 618499.
For Carrot Cake: Carrot Cake (yes, that’s the stall’s name)
This veritable institution is probably the food capital of Serangoon and it’s no surprise why. From spicy la la (clams) to spinach wanton mee and satay, you’re bound to find something to sate even the mightiest of hungers. Unfortunately, prices at some of these stalls have gotten a little steep, so we’re going to zero in on the carrot cake stall here that still does up a hearty portion of this savoury dish at a mere $3 per plate. This writer is normally a fan of black carrot cake, but the white one here is the signature offering. The addition of shrimp definitely makes this dish worth a trip into the suburbs of Serangoon Gardens.
Carrot Cake, 20 Kensington Park Road, #01-36 Chomp Chomp Food Centre, Singapore 557269.
For Fried Kway Teow: Fried Kway Teow (yes, that’s also the stall’s name)
Right up there with carrot cake, in terms of calories and sheer satisfaction, is char kway teow. City slickers who want to toss calorie-counting out the window and indulge in some good ol’ greasy hawker fare should hustle up to Amoy Street Food Centre for a piping hot plate of fried char kway teow ($3). With ample cockles, beansprouts and fried egg in the mix, you’ll definitely leave the table feeling full, and perhaps a tad bit guilty.
Char Kway Teow, Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Road, Singapore 069111.
For Hokkien Mee: Sheng Seng Fried Prawn Noodle
For just $2.50, it’s understandable that you’d be sceptical about the quantity of seafood you’ll find in this plate of Hokkien mee. However, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Sheng Seng when you get your ample portion of Hokkien mee, piled high with prawns, fish cake, and squid. The queues here are perpetually long, so if you’re planning to pop by for a lunchtime meal, make sure you get there early enough!
Sheng Seng Fried Prawn Noodle, 41A Cambridge Road, #01-40, Pek Kio Market and Food Centre, Singapore 211041.
For Mee Rebus: Hj Waliti Hj Mauki
Rich, sweet, savoury and satisfying. What’s there not to like about this traditional Malay noodle dish? Haig Road Food Centre is a bastion for traditional Malay food, but this stall gets our pick for its delicious mee rebus. Served with thick, flavourful gravy and garnished with a boiled egg, fresh green chilli, limes and crunchy beansprouts, you’ll struggle to get better here for $2.50.
Hj Waliti Hj Mauki, 14 Haig Road, Haig Road Market & Food Centre, Singapore 430014.
For Prata: Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Prata
Prata is definitely the Holy Grail of cheap eats in Singapore. You can often grab a plain and an egg prata for less than $3 dollars around practically every neighbourhood. However, our favourite place to grab prate, if we’re in the Paya Lebar neighbourhood, has got to be Mr and Mrs Mohgans. Their stall name says it all: For just 90c and $1.40, you can get amazing fluffy, crispy plain and egg pratas. They’ve been in the biz for over 30 years, so trust us when we say the prata here is consistently delicious. Take note though, they close at 1.30pm sharp so this is a breakfast/lunch affair.
Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata, 7 Crane Rd, Singapore 429356.
For Nasi Lemak: Li Xin Nasi Lemak
If you’ve been following our Hot or Not column, you’ll no doubt be aware that nasi lemak has inexplicably made the list for one of the healthiest breakfast dishes. Even greater news, we found a joint where you can indulge in a stellar rendition of this hearty dish for just $3. Li Xin Nasi Lemak will serve you up fluffy coconut milk-steeped rice with sweet sambal, peanuts, ikan bilis, and even a whole chicken wing. Its location makes this a prime spot for a cheap and cheerful lunch in the CBD.
Li Xin Nasi Lemak, 7 Maxwell Road, Amoy Street Food Centre, #02-81, Singapore 069111.
For Chicken Rice: Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice
Now how could we forget chicken rice on this list? While the cheapest you’ll normally find this dish is $3.50, Hainanese Boneless Chicken rice at Golden Mile Food Centre offers a generous portion for just $2.50, and without any pesky bones too! Unfortunately, great deals like this come at a cost: expect to queue up for up to 30 minutes during the weekdays.
Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice, #B1-35, Golden Mile Food Centre, 505 Beach Road, Singapore 199583.
For Thai Boat Noodles: Thai Boat Noodle
What can you really get for a dollar these days? An ice cream cone at McDonald’s? A tiny curry puff? The answer is… not very much. But if we’re stuck with just three dollars to spend and are craving something that isn’t everyday hawker fare, here’s where we’ll spend our three dollars. Obviously, at a dollar per bowl, you’re not going to be having a feast, but we dare say three bowls is ample enough to fill up a modest appetite. Certainly a prime choice if you’re after something lighter than carrot cake or Hokkien mee.
Thai Boat Noodle, #02-32/33/34, Bedok Point, 799 New Upper Changi Road, Singapore 467351.