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Tenya Singapore
Photograph: Tenya SingaporePrawn tendon with cold soba

The best cheap eats in Singapore

Chow down on these value-for-money dishes for just $10 or less

Written by
Time Out Singapore editors
,
Fabian Loo
&
Izza Sofia
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Dining out in Singapore can be expensive; we are, after all, one of the most expensive cities to live in. But it’s possible to dine on a dime if you know where to look. Away from the Michelin-starred restaurants and familiar hawker favourites, we’re letting you in on some cheap finds in our city – places that provide a comfortable, hearty meal for under $10 (before taking into account taxes) in a comfortable place. 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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Rochor

Famed for its rich soups and delicious dishes, Soi Aroy serves up scrumptious grub at budget-friendly prices. Most of their dishes cost below $10, and they are generous with their portions. Its savoury spicy meat salads will set you back for $5.50, while its basil pork with rice will only cost you $6.80. Its all-time favourite Tom Yum Gung dish has a collagen soup base and is packed with prawns, mushrooms, egg, vegetables, noodles - all for $7. Undoubtedly, you will be leaving this eatery with your tummies full without breaking the bank. From $5.50

  • Restaurants
  • Geylang

Pizza Boy’s aim is to offer Singaporeans quality pizzas at an affordable price, and it’s safe to say they nailed it. This Halal-certified pizza joint has a super value meal for $7.50 and it includes either a delicious quesadilla, mac and cheese, or a six-inch pizza with fries, all paired with a drink. Its pizzas have a wide variety of flavours, from mighty meat to spicy beef and cheesy garlic chicken, so be prepared to be spoilt for choice. $7.50

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Serangoon

Hit up Bee Kee Wanton Noodle for some of the cheapest yet appetising bowls of noodles in Singapore. Dive into a large plate of truffle wanton mee for $8, and be blown away by the generous servings of char siew, fried and steam wanton and the familiar aroma truffle. The eatery also has braised pork noodles for $5 and crispy fried wontons as sides for $3.50. From $5

  • Restaurants
  • Rochor

 For some good ol’ laksa, Sungei Road Laksa does it best. Tuck into on a bowl of traditional Katong Laksa, topped with cockles, green leaves and sauces for only… $3. The broth is so rich and textured, we are certain that you will slurp it all down to the last drop. If you are feeling extra hungry, go for another round of laksa. After all, it’s only $3 for a bowl of goodness. $3

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Hawker
  • Chinatown

There are only three components of this dish: the chicken, the rice and the chilli. But while chicken rice can be found in almost every kopitiam in Singapore, not many get the holy trinity right. Tian Tian is one of them. The chicken (only steamed versions here) is tender and juicy, the fragrant rice is packed with flavour from the garlic, sesame oil and chicken fat it’s cooked in, and the potent chilli sauce packs a mean punch. 

You can up the ante further by ordering a plate of wings, claws or whatever that goes under the term “spare parts” in the menu. Tender steamed chicken, fluffy rice, slices of cucumber, homemade chill sauce and a bowl of chicken broth – all for $5. What’s not to love? $5

  • Restaurants
  • Rochor

While there’s a wide variety of curries to choose from at Azmi, ask any connoisseur and they’ll tell you that chapati goes best with mutton keema. Tear off some of the warm flatbread, scoop up the devil-red mix of minced mutton, potato and peas, add a slice of raw cucumber or onion, and stuff it all in as the keema dribbles down your hand. It’s so good, you won’t mind the mess. $5.20

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Orchard

This top tendon chain from Japan utilises a special tempura-frying machine that can churn out over 1,000 pieces of perfectly crisp parcels in under an hour. With this efficient, reliable rate, properly prepped tendon bowls that can be produced in shorted durations, and at greater quantities. This allows Tenya to keep its price low – just $8.50 for its signature namesake bowl, which comes crowned with prawn, red fish, squid, pumpkin, and french beans. Looking to cut down on carbs (and more cost-savings)? Opt for the less rice option to shave $0.50 off the price of the bowl. $8.50

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Sengkang

Enjoy a smokeless barbecue meal at Yakiniku-GO. This casual heartland eatery utilises an electric grill to cook up cuts of beef and chicken – all without the lingering odour. Sample a wide range of affordably priced sets; the cheapest beef and chicken set goes for $9.80, and comes with 100g of beef short plate and sliced chicken, along with rice, soup, and a choice between salad or kimchi. For a light lunch, there's also the DIY Niku Sushi Set ($6.80) where you can construct your own sushi with freshly grilled meat. $9.80

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  • Restaurants
  • Tanjong Pagar

You'll find traditional Chinese plates – of hand-pulled noodles and freshly pinched dumplings – at this restaurant. The Muslim-owner store hopes to put a Halal spin on these conventionally meat-heavy dishes, resulting in a hearty plate of eight dumplings, stuffed with minced beef or lamb that come drizzled with a fiery sauce that packs a savoury kick. $8.80

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Raffles Place

Grade A5 wagyu? On a list of cheap food? You’ll find it at Syohaci Wagyu Hamburg. Here, patties come made from premium beef at wallet-friendly prices – an impressive feat it’s able to achieve through economies of scale. The brand owns two cattle farms in Japan, which supplies a steady stream of A5 wagyu slices to its Hong Kong-based yakiniku chain, Syohachi Yakiniku. But offcuts and unused parts of the cow are typically wasted, and the brand turns them into quality, inch-thick beef patties instead. The beef toastie, available during breakfast and dinner hours, uses a 100g patty, cooked over the grill to impart plenty of smoke. It then comes sandwiched between slices of warm, buttered toast. $7.70

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Tanjong Pagar

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. $10

  • Restaurants
  • Kent Ridge

At this Japanese sandwich bar, fillings of meat and eggs come stuffed between slices of shokupan – softer, fluffier than usual white bread. Its signature creation is the pork katsu sando, where the meat is first brined, then breaded with panko crumbs before hitting the deep-fryer, complete with onions caramelised with duck fat and tonkatsu sauce. $10

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  • Restaurants
  • Malaysian
  • Orchard

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. 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. $9.90

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Geylang

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. There is no GST and service charge, and the cheapest Karubi Set comes with 100g of beef short plate. $8.80

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  • Restaurants
  • Raffles Place

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, a well-balanced meal featuring handmade meatballs, tofu stuffed with a meat paste, and the quintessential mani cai (sayur manis) served atop fluffy rice. $7.80

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops

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 the crispy bun with condensed milk. $9

  • Restaurants
  • Tanjong Pagar

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. $7

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