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Orchard Road
Photograph: Unsplash

The 10 best hidden food gems in Orchard

When you’re looking for affordable eateries in the middle of town

Cheryl Sekkappan
Pailin Boonlong
Written by
Cheryl Sekkappan
&
Pailin Boonlong
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Orchard Road might very well have a number of fine dining restaurants and glitzy bars, but there are also a number of top-notch eateries – all absolutely bang for your buck. We weren’t initially keen on sharing these 10 hidden food spots in Orchard, but realised that these restaurants are certainly worth a shout-out. From a Thai joint frying up drunken noodles to an old-school Russian Hainanese restaurant, these food spots in Orchard are worth popping by.

RECOMMENDED: The best buffets in Singapore and 11 great ideas for the kitchen 

Shashlik
  • Restaurants
  • Russian
  • Orchard
  • price 3 of 4

Shashlik's heritage stretches back to 1963, with roots in the legendary Troika Restaurant where Russian recipes were first given a Hainanese twist. Former employees formed Shashlik in 1986 after Troika's closure, and they continue to be a beloved mainstay at the oft-overlooked Far East Shopping Centre. The restaurant serves up Russian-Hainanese fare and is famed for timeless recipes including Borscht soup ($12), beef shashlik ($48) and oxtail stew ($46). But what will keep you going back is the warm service and nostalgic charm. 

TRY The oxtail stew ($46), a 36-hour slow braised beef stew that's served with toasted baguette.  

Krapow (Far East Plaza)
Photograph: Krapow

Krapow (Far East Plaza)

While casual Thai restaurant Krapow might have an outlet in Chinatown Point, it’s the Far East Plaza branch that came about first. It’s known for the pad kee mao (drunken noodles, from $9.80), all stir-fried with Thai holy basil and chilli padi. What we like most is that we can customise our spice levels – but be warned, the “extra spicy” level is actually spicy.

TRY Besides the pad kee mao, the Devil’s Fried Rice ($9.60) makes for a delish meal. Wok hei flavours are made apparent, alongside toasted prawn paste and a slight zestiness of lime.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Newton

Tucked away in the basement of Midpoint Orchard, Morinaga Izakaya Restaurant serves up Japanese bento by day and izakaya by night. This unassuming spot is great for a cosy catch-up with friends over bottles of sake – do ask the servers, they're more than capable of recommending a good bottle – and delicious bites. The menu is extensive, but signatures include a soft and silky Japanese omelette ($9), light and crispy chicken karaage ($8), or the assorted sashimi set ($28). What we also liked was the braised pork and truffle-flavoured somen noodles with ikura ($14). 

TRY The monkfish liver ponzu ($8), otherwise also known as the "foie gras of the sea". 

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Orchard

Noodle lovers need to check out I Want My Noodle at once. This hidden joint in Shaw Centre serves up Indonesian bakmie, with egg noodles made by hand in the shop every day. They have familiar creations like bak chor mee ($8.90) with a spicy black vinegar sauce, to more interesting twists like the truffle oil noodles ($10.90) and the bakmi ayam pedas special ($8.90) with a special Indonesia sambal for an extra spicy kick.

TRY The fried sweet potato balls ($4.90) for a satisfying and sweet chew to round off the meal. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Peranakan
  • Orchard

While Peranakan restaurants are around every corner in Singapore, this eatery is conveniently smack bang in the middle of Orchard. At Bonding Kitchen, they pride themselves on modern Peranakan fare – taking traditional recipes and giving their own spin on classics like buah keluak and assam prawns. It’s still relatively unknown, tucked away on the second floor of Orchardgateway. 

TRY The wagyu beef rendang ($32) is a standout dish: tender beef ribs stewed in coconut milk. Unlike the quintessential beef rendang, this is presented as a rendang tok – a dry curry that’s been simmering in all types of herbs and spices.

My Favourite Cafe (Yong Tau Foo)
Photograph: Singapore Atrium Sale

My Favourite Cafe (Yong Tau Foo)

This yong tau foo joint at Lucky Plaza is one that’s constantly crowded during lunchtimes, with nearby office workers and shoppers passing through. We can see why – it has a wide spread of classic yong tau foo items, like the usual leafy veggies and fish paste tofu. It’s $5.60 for six items with your choice of carbs: kway teow, yellow mee, mee pok, mee kia, or rice. 

TRY The massive braised mushrooms or fried meatballs – these two items are exactly why there’s a long snaking queue. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Orchard

Far East Plaza is definitely not short of food gems. New Station Snack Bar, Maddie's Kitchen and Hainanese Delicacy (also on this list) come to mind, but for those on the hunt for a fuss-free, affordable and tasty meal in Orchard, Greenview Café at Far East Plaza ticks all the boxes.  It serves a variety of rice and noodle dishes, but the dry mee hoon kueh ($4.50) is what people come here for. Chewy, rough-cut noodles are drenched in a sweet and savoury dark sauce with a kick of spice, topped with minced pork, a few greens and ikan bilis.

TRY End off with a bobo chacha ($2) or bubur hitam ($2) for a sweet cap to the meal. 

  • Restaurants
  • Malay
  • Orchard

For affordable Halal food that hits the spot, head on over to Puncak Best Noodles Halal Restaurant. This place has probably been around since you were a baby, but the quality of food here remains fantastic. First timers, try the restaurant's famous Honeydew Chicken Noodle ($6.60), which has springy wanton noodle drenched in a signature sweet honey sauce, and topped with aromatic fried chicken. People also rave about curry chicken (from $9.30) and mee goreng ($7.10) – but their zi char menu is frankly huge and we think most items are well worth a try. 

TRY It's also worth ordering up the fried wantons (from $7.30), all generously filled with shrimp paste. 

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  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Raffles Place

While Wheelock Plaza was once known for global bookstore Borders, they’ve since reopened as The Zall Bookstore – a Chinese bookstore that first opened in Wuhan, China. It’s all done up in sleek black and white decor, with a café on the ground floor serving up coffee and small bites. They’ve got a range of drinks, with coffee starting from $4 and other non-espresso drinks like a purple sweet potato latte ($7.50) and matcha latte ($7).

TRY One of their cakes, either the burnt cheesecake ($7.90) or the ondeh ondeh cake ($7.50) for a mid-day treat.

Hainanese Delicacy
Photograph: Hainanese Delicacy

Hainanese Delicacy

Chicken rice is one of our top choices for good reason. Despite the whole chicken shortage that’s going on right now, Hainanese Delicacy at Far East Plaza is a frontrunner in the grand scheme of all things chicken rice. It’s been around for more than 30 years, and has earned its name as one of Singapore’s best Hainanese chicken rice. A plate of chicken rice starts from just $4.80 – an absolute bargain when it comes to dining in Orchard Road. 

TRY What else, but the chicken rice? But to pair, the salted vegetable duck soup ($6) makes for a solid side.

More to explore

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