Cheap & good food in Singapore

Who says you can't eat well and not burn a hole in your wallet? Here's a list of restaurants, cafes and eateries in Singapore with great food and value for money, even on a budget.

1. 5 Little Monkeys Cafe

Photo by Shawn Loh

For superb Peranakan

This spacious rooftop cafe situated on the 11th floor of Pico Creative Centre in Kallang not only has great panoramic views, but also serves tasty Peranakan food at a steal. Definitely go for their fantastic Nyonya Assam Pedas Fish ($6.50) - a generous portion of fresh fish lying in an addictive gravy that goes so perfectly with rice, and their incredibly flavourful Sambal Prawns with Petai ($6.50). They serve a variety of western dishes, brunch fare, coffee and cakes as well, but it's worthwhile to just focus on satisfying your Peranakan cravings here. A great place for cheap and tasty food, you'll be asking for more gravy please, and an extra plate of rice. What's more, no service charge or GST! Note that they are closed on weekends.

2. Dong Po Colonial Cafe

Photo by GH Tan

For old school desserts

Cafes like Dong Po Colonial Cafe are a rare find. Successfully re-creating colonial vibes with vintage wooden furnishings and tables filled with memorabilia reflecting old Singapore, this cafe exudes old school charm. It also provides a great space to catch up over traditional sweet treats like lamingtons, almond fingers, sponge cakes, and kopi or tea. They offer seven food sets, ranging from classic kaya toast sets (with egg and tea/coffee) to pastry sets which are perfect for a lunch snack - priced between $3.50 and $5.20. Buy a jar of their delicious Lemon Curd or Apple Aloe Vera jams ($7.50 each) to take home as well!

3. Ten-Ichi Udon

Photo by Kieffer Tay

For comforting Japanese

At Ten-Ichi Udon, you can personalise your bowl of udon by selecting your own noodles, toppings and tempura. Have the original, matcha or yuzu udon in hot soup or cold soba-style, and top it off with crispy tempura. Not feeling creative? Choose from their specialties and all-time favourites like their Black Sesame Smoked Duck Udon ($5.80), or their chilled Yuzu Wasabi Udon ($6.50) for a refreshing meal. Tip: add an onsen egg for $1, it'll make your udon much better. Also get a Crab Cream Croquette ($2.80) on the side - its crisp crunch and molten insides make it irresistible.

4. Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant

Photo by Harold Koh

For wonderful Vietamese

Opened till late, Long Phung is a popular go-to place for late post-work dinners, or a different kind of supper grub. Enjoy a classic chicken or beef pho, fried spring rolls, a refreshing bowl of grilled pork with vermicelli, or garlic cockles. If you love spice, don't miss their Spicy Beef Stew Noodle Soup - it's so darn satisfying. It can get crowded, especially during meal times, so expect queues! For a really tasty, affordable Vietnamese fare at under $10, it's well worth the wait.

5. Teppei Syokudo (Takashimaya)

Photo by Geraldine Tay

For value-for-Money chirashi

Yes, $16 isn't exactly cheap, but for arguably one of the best chirashi around, it certainly is worth it. Teppei Syokudo's much raved-about Kaisen Don is one of the most value-for-money ones out there, and it doesn't compromise on quality or flavour. Add four beautifully sweet, plump scallops for just $1.80 (bringing the total to $17.80), and dig in to what is quite possibly the most indulgent takeaway food. The marinated chunks of salmon and tuna are perfectly meaty and fresh, punctuated by salty bursts of ikura. So you might have to stand and eat this awkwardly in some corner of Takashimaya, but who cares when it tastes so darn good?

6. By The Fire

Photo by John Hsu

For unique kopitiam grub

Opened by the man behind Immanuel French Kitchen, chef-owner Immanuel Tee's newest stall focuses on charcoal-grilled food in a casual kopitiam setting. By The Fire is situated in Alibabar the Hawker Bar along East Coast Road, and dishes out all-time favourites like Grilled BBQ Pork Ribs ($14.90) Grilled Hanger Steak ($19) and Grilled Chicken Leg ($12.90), as well as unconventional fare like Scotch Eggs ($6.90). Also worth a try is the Squid Ink Pasta ($12.90), delightfully umami with sea urchin cream, topped with bonito flakes and chopped scallions. With no GST or service charge, this stall is one to look out for!

7. Knuckles Bistro

Photo by Xing Wei Chua

For Western grub in the heartlands

This cool, cosy, quiet bistro serves up incredibly affordable Western fare in a lovely setting, with main courses priced between just $8 and $12. As their name suggests, the German Pork Knuckle ($10) is their signature and a definite must-try. It is served already de-boned, with sides of sauerkraut and mash. It's tough to find pork knuckles this affordable, of good quality, no less. Other recommended mains include the Rib-eye Steak ($12) and the Grilled Chicken Chop ($8). Don't have the stomach for a full meal? Hop in for some cold ciders and a basket of Truffle Fries ($6) to share. All prices are nett!

8. Kim Keat Hokkien Mee

Photo by Shamini Thilarajah

For claypot Hokkien mee

Kim Keat's specialty Claypot Hokkien Mee ($10) comes steaming hot, and swimming in a thick, bubbling, flavourful broth with prawns and squid. Making it even more irresistible, strips of crispy fried pork belly sit gently on top, quietly beckoning you. The portion is enough for 2-3 pax, so bring a few friends along and dig in! Quoting Tastemaker Shurong Lo, 'As you tuck into the yummy noodles, you can taste the smoky wok hei mixed with the prawn broth that brings the Hokkien mee to a whole new level. Over time, all broth will be sucked into the noodles making them even more flavorful! Slurp!' You may also opt for the regular Hokkien mee on an opeh leaf instead.

9. Saveur (Far East Plaza)

Photo by Raine Liu

For wallet-friendly French fare

Saveur offers possibly the most affordable French cuisine you can find, and you've probably had many-a-meal here already. Priding themselves in the use of local products and making French food accessible to the masses, Saveur has become the go-to place for quality food that won't break the bank. Start with Saveur's Pasta ($4.90) - capellini tossed in chilli oil, finely chopped Japanese konbu, and topped with minced pork sauce, chives and sakura ebi. For mains, get the melt-in-your mouth Salmon Confit ($10.90) or Chicken Roulade ($10.90). If you're in the mood for a complete three-course meal, their lunch sets priced at $22.90++ are available at their Purvis Street and Scotts Road outlets.

10. A Noodle Story (Amoy Street Food Centre)

Photo by Jason Wong

For Singapore-style Ramen

A couple of talented Singaporeans decided that ramen can be served at hawker prices, $5.50-7.50 (you get more wontons the more you pay), and created this delightful version. Think springy wonton noodles coated in a garlic, ginger, onion-infused oil, beautifully meaty wontons, irresistibly oozy onsen egg, slices of tender melt-in-your-mouth chashu, and shrimp wrapped in strings of crispy potato. Phew. At half the price of normal ramen, it certainly doesn't compromise on flavour or satisfaction!

11. Hui Ji Fish Ball Noodles And Yong Tau Foo

Photo by Daniel Food Diary

For deliciously underrated fishball noodles

What makes Hui Ji's fishball noodles so good is their back-to-basics approach and rustic charm. At a mere $2.50 per bowl of handmade fishballs and noodles in delicious special sauce, it is undisputedly one of the most value-for-money hawker eats that provides both quantity and quality. Handmade fishballs, addictively good chilli, and crispy pork lard pieces - need more convincing?

12. Ah Bong's Italian

Photo by Sam Sumarli

For deliciously affordable pasta

Sometimes all you need is a plate of comforting, downright delicious pasta. Enter Ah Bong's Italian, helmed by the affable Chef Chris, which caters to that very need by serving a range of fantastic pastas right out of a humble coffeeshop stall in Tiong Bahru Estate - for just seven bucks a plate. Choose anything that suits your fancy, from the dead-simple Bolognese, to the Birthday Pasta - a magical combination of broccoli, cream and bacon. End off with a unique dessert of the day, which sees delightful creations like Earl Grey Creme Brulee, and wash it all down with a kopi-o from the uncle next door! There are limited portions available each day, so head down early.

13. K. Cook Korean BBQ Buffet

Photo by Peter Wong

For super affordable Korean BBQ

The BBQ buffet here might well be the most affordable buffet around. At only $14.90++ for lunch on weekdays and $24.90++ for dinner, K.COOK makes for a great place for dining in groups and eating till you drop without burning a hole in your pocket. The meats are well-marinated and come in a good variety. With great value and a good selection, they really pack in the crowds - be sure to make reservations!

14. The Wicked Garlic

Photo by Shawn Loh

For wickedly good pasta

You really don't need to spend a bomb on seriously good Italian pasta. The Wicked Garlic's Aglio Olio is very much raved about, and costs a mere $5.70 on its own! But of course, you'd want to add some prawns (+$6), mushrooms (+$1), or even some bacon (+$1). Even then, it makes up to be a more than decent pocket-friendly meal. Nicely put by Tastemaker Shawn Loh, 'Amazingly wok hei prawns, and wickedly value for money. It's the PSLE top student of aglio olios seriously, why it doesn't have its own Brands Essence of Chicken endorsement deal is beyond me.' Their Carbonara ($8.70) is superb as well!

15. Gold Food Thai Chinese Cuisine

Photo by Peter Wong

For unpretentious Thai in the city

Serving huge portions, be sure to share your food here at Gold Food. With most dishes priced at or below $10, this value-for-money Thai restaurant is great for some Mango Salad, Green Curry and Tom Yum. Located conveniently in Sunshine Plaza, it's a great hidden gem for cheap, tasty Thai food in town.

16. Kim Dae Mun

Photo by Peter Wong

For no-frills Korean

This hidden gem previously located at the basement of Concorde Hotel's food court has relocated a few floors up and expanded to accommodate the large following they have built. Do not dismiss this humble eatery, it dishes out superbly executed dishes like Bibimbap, Bulgogi and Korean Rice Cakes. Go for the Spicy Chicken Soup Set, a fiery red soup filled with loads of ingredients and sweet potato noodles. Complete the meal by sharing a potato pancake. With nothing above $10, you won't have to worry about breaking the bank!

17. Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle (Chinatown Complex Market)

Photo by Marilyn L

For excellent soya sauce chicken

The soy sauce chicken here is just superb - so succulent, flavourful, and terribly value-for-money ($7 for half chicken; $14 for whole). Paired with noodles tossed in a slightly sweet sauce, you'll want to take a moment to pause the noshing and commit all these flavours to memory. A word of warning: standing 30 minutes in line means watching the people before you walk away with trays of beautiful chicken. This will undoubtedly change the half-chicken order in your mind to a whole chicken. Just let it happen.

18. Third & Sixth Bistrobar

Photo by Veronica Phua

For great burgers

Perfect for a chilled out night with friends over good food and beer, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more value-for-money dining spot in this area. Start by sharing some wings or Spam fries, then get the classic No. 36 Burger ($16) - so satisfying with it's simple goodness. The perfectly cooked bacon and just-melted cheese are the keys to the success of this burger, and the portion just enough to fill you. Wash it all down with ice cold pints!

19. Nakhon Kitchen (Hougang)

Photo by Muriel A

For a neighbourhood favourite

While it's almost certain that the Hougang and Bedok communities are already well-acquainted with this neighborhood favourite, the rest of the city might not. The food is cheap and tasty, and the ambience friendly and relaxing. The Tom Yum Soup (you can choose to have the clear or thick base) here is tangy yet subtly sweet, and will kick your butt with its spiciness. Most dishes are reasonably priced, with meats ranging from $6-$8 and seafood dishes priced from $10 onwards, making for a super affordable and satisfying Thai meal.

20. Steakout

Photo by Jasmine Low

For value-for-money steak

Located just beside Singapore Management University's admin building in town, this little steakhouse is a go-to for inexpensive steaks. With beef steaks priced from $14.90 and chicken steaks from just $8.90 (with two sides), it is no doubt that it has become a popular place for university students and the working crowd. Signatures includes the speciality NZ Angus Ribeye (from $19.90 for a 200g cut with two free sides) and the Teriyaki Chicken Steak ($8.90). They come in big portions, and there's no GST or service charge!

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