Dining out in Singapore can be expensive – but not if you know where to look. If you're looking to switch up from the usual long queues at your favourite hawker centre, these lunch spots provide a satisfying meal for under $10 in a comfortable space. When it comes to choices, this city does not disappoint. Whether it is a comforting bowl of noodles you seek, or a stack of crispy and dough-y roti prata you crave, we've got all your food needs covered. Here's helping you spend less on lunch so you can splurge on the things that matter.
At Go Noodle House
Hailing from across the Causeway, Go Noodle House specialises in piping hot bowls of rice noodles served in soup made from a fish-bone master stock that's been bubbling for over six years. While most of its soup-based dishes are priced from $10.90, we adore the dry Hakka pan mee with century egg ($9.90). The noodles are hand-rolled in-house daily and tossed with plenty of pork lard, black fungus, fried shallots and anchovies, minced pork, century egg and chilli oil. Not spicy enough for you? Add in a couple spoonfuls of tart chilli sauce for extra oomph.
At Moonstone Bar
You can find elevated Indonesian comfort food from Moonstone Bar. In particular, the signature Bakmi Ayam Mason ($10) is a jazzed-up version of the classic Indonesia noodle dish with minced chicken, braised shiitake mushrooms, onsen egg, and tofu crisps. Don’t forget to toss it all with the accompanying side of sambal, made following a time-honoured recipe passed down from the chef’s mum.
At Yakiniku Like
Yakiniki Like, a Japan-based yakiniku fast-food chain, has opened its first local store at Paya Lebar Quarter. The brand is known for its affordability and quick service – and promises to deliver your food from kitchen to table in under three minutes. Once served, cook your meat over the special, individualised smoke-less grill, paired with rice, soup, and your choice of kimchi or salad. With no GST and service charge, the Karubi Set is just $8.80 and comes with 100g of beef short plate. The Pork and Chicken Set is only $7.80.
Hit up this modern smokehouse for real-deal American barbecue. Inspired by the smokehouses in Nashville, Memphis and Austin, the Telok Ayer serves $10 burgers on weekdays. On Mondays, brisket sandwich; Tuesdays, cheeseburger; Wednesdays, fried chicken sandwich; and Thursdays, pulled pork sandwich.
At Ah Lock & Co.
What started out as a hawker stall at Yishun Park Hawker Centre has now branched out to the CBD. The menu at Ah Lock & Co. combines modern Hakka rice bowls with freshly made min jiang kueh. Get the Hakka tofu bowl ($7.80), a well-balanced meal featuring handmade meatballs, tofu stuffed with a meat paste, and the quintessential mani cai (sayur manis) served atop fluffy rice, or try the Hakka pork bowl ($9.90) with a slab of deep-fried pork belly. You can also choose to round off this well-balanced meal with a side of thunder tea soup ($1.50) or a slice of freshly made peanut pancake ($1.60).
At Fu Lin Bar & Kitchen
Time your visits to Fu Lin Bar and Kitchen properly. At night, the place is a buzzy watering hole that serves locally inspired tipples and bar bites. But during the day, its counter is lined with fresh yong tau foo. Choose your ingredients, and wait for your plate to return with deep-fried stuff drenched in gooey mushroom-meat sauce. Six pieces and a bowl of noodles (get the thick bee hoon) sets you back just $7.
At Seng Kee Black Chicken Herbal Soup
It’s a popular supper joint, but the famous herbal mee sua can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Each bowl of nourishing soup comes swimming with vermicelli and slices of pork, kidney, and liver. Others make their way down for their herbal black chicken soups boiled with herbs like ginseng ($15) or cordyceps ($15). Not in the mood for soup? Seng Kee’s rendition of the fried beehoon gives JB Ah Meng ($10) a run for its money.
At Tsui Wah
Tuck into flavours of Hong Kong at the Singapore outpost of this famous café. In particular, the wonton noodles come with juicy parcels of meat and comforting fish broth. Other dishes are just as affordable, like the braised pork cartilage in fish soup with mixian ($9.50) and the signature pork chop bun ($8.50). And if your appetite permits, get some of its crispy bun with condensed milk ($4) and wash it all down with a cup of milk tea ($3.50).
At Hawker Chan
Bid goodbye to long queues at hot and stuffy Chinatown Complex – you can now have a taste of chef Chan Hon Meng's Michelin-winning dishes at his new quick-service restaurant, Hawker Chan. The air-conditioned restaurant sits 80 and serves the same dishes that catapulted Chan to fame: soya sauce chicken rice ($3.80), char siew noodles ($4.80) and pork rib hor fun ($4.80). There also some new additions like Thai-style tofu ($5) and wonton soup ($5) for people looking for more variety.
Serving up sandwiches with attitude, Rebel's hearty subs are satisfying – without breaking the bank (prices start from $6.90). There is a distinctly Asian flavour in the variety of sandwiches that draws its inspiration from the traditional Vietnamese banh mi – and selections like The Trad (chicken ham and pate with pickled vegetables) are a testament to the classic. Rebel also has vegan and vegetarian options that are equally delicious and filling. The popular Pure sub is stuffed with Quorn spicy patties and tempeh. With so much variety for all sorts of eaters, everyone gets to be a Rebel here.
At Dumpling Darlings
The menu is simple. Either you go with dumplings or noodles at this joint and even with the little choices it has on the menu, it's still difficult making choices. Noodle bowls start from $5 and come in delightful flavours like miso mushroom noodles and Sichuan pork noodles. The crowd favourites are the dumplings and for $7 you can get a whole plate for yourself. Try the pierogis ($8) which are stuffed with smoked bacon, truffle potato, caramelised onion, cheddar and sriracha cream.
At Kamal's Restaurant
One good thing about Stanley Street in the Telok Ayer precinct is the mix of restaurants in the area. You have swish establishments like Lerouy and Gaig and then there's the affordable eats like Kamal's Restaurant. When dining here, opt for their biryani – the fried chicken biryani being the special here. The rice is fluffy and flavourful and the chicken comes with extra crispy bits. It can get dry but there's the side of curry for dipping and extra flavour.
At Komala Vilas
Cutlery is optional for a gastronomic affair at Komala Vilas. We even urge you to literally get down and dirty with your (clean) fingers when digging into the Indian vegetarian restaurant’s Dosa Meal. Served with a trio of vegetables (sambar, chutney and kulambu) and a slew of curries and gravy accompaniments, the set’s star is clearly the massive dosai that is too large for even its plate. You can choose crispy paper dosa, or the masala potato option at no extra cost. Crisp at the edges, yet incredibly soft and chewy on the underside, the dosa is one gut-stuffing indulgence that is worth every cent. If the set’s too much to handle, you can order the masala dosa and paper dosa on their own at $3.90 and $4.20 respectively.
Fickle-minded is Mr Mohgan who first gave many a panic attack by selling off his business out of the blue, before changing his mind and later opening up Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata version 2.0 at Tin Yeang Restaurant. While the beloved dough discs are generally known for offering a budget meal, the husband-wife duo’s roti prata is one you should try for its crackling crispiness. Savoured alone, but also fantanstic with curry, the roti prata also comes in various renditions such as the prata plaster ($1.50) that includes an egg with a runny yolk, and coin prata ($5 for six).
Chinese comfort food at its best, you'll find all it all in a bowl of wonton mee here. It might cost a tad more than a standard bowl at any coffee shop but take a bite of the torched char siew, springy egg noodles, tender pork belly, and famous peppery boiled wontons (the recipe has a five-decade legacy) before you make your judgement. Of course more helpings of the chilli sauce, caddy of oils and lard crackers help as well.
The fun part at DoSiRak is creating your own Korean-style lunch bowl that's healthy too. Pick your protein from options like our favourite, spicy chicken in gojuchang sauce, beef bulgogi, seared tuna and more. The standard serving packs white rice into the bowl, but add $1 and you get the option of brown rice and buckwheat noodles too. Top it up with more add-ins like an onsen egg ($1) or avocado ($3) if you're feeling fancy. Remember to shake the box to mix the sauces properly before you settle down to eat.
The first branch to open outside its popular KL branch, the simply-named store along China Street still pulls the queues during lunchtime. Their menu is simple with only a few main dishes but most go for one thing: the chilli pan mee. The make up of the dish is simple really, with handmade noodles, crunchy fried anchovies, shredded mushrooms, fried shallots, a runny egg and the main thing, the potent dry chilli. It also comes with a side of clear soup with sweet potato leaves to bring down the heat. The only downside is the long queue and wait so leave the office early.
Old Chang Kee's snack stands can be found everywhere in Singapore but this heritage brand also has a proper sit-down restaurant serving local dishes. On the menu are favourites like curry chicken and nasi lemak, as well as economical bee hoon, mee siam and more. The stand out is definitely the dry laksa goreng, which tastes just as rich as the gravy version with huge chunks of chicken and shrimp.
At The Salted Plum
The Salted Plum is a cosy joint on the quieter end of the Boat Quay stretch that offers dishes priced at either $5 or $10. There's the tender and unctuous lu rou ($10) pork belly slow-cooked with spices that's also available as a rice bowl served with a sous vide egg and kai lan during lunch. Other popular sides include Taiwanese fried chicken ($10) and sausage patties ($10).
At Mrs Pho
Head over to this quaint Vietnamese restaurant to satisfy your pho cravings (even if you’re on a budget) – its best-selling sliced beef pho ($9.90) and chicken pho ($9.90) both come in at just under $10. Mrs Pho also serves up other value for money entrées like vegetarian fried rice ($9.90) and a Yaya Papaya Salad ($9.50) that comes topped with prawns and seasoned minced pork.