Some call can't go unanswered – we’re talking about those late-night stomach growls that you can’t shake with a protein bar. For something more substantial, saunter down to these 24-hour joints for some post-OT or clubbing fuel.
The stretch of eateries across from Beauty World Centre is no stranger to tummies starving in the middle of the night. Most places like Joo Seng Teochew Porridge and G7 Sinma Claypot stay open past midnight but Al-Azhar has your back 24/7. The calorie-laden prata and butter chicken set ($7.90) is our pick after a night of drinking.
We all know Swee Choon is the go-to for late night dim sum but 126 Dim Sum has an edge over its biggest competitor ‘cos of its round-the-clock operating hours. It peddles more than a 100 different types of dim sum, running from staples like siew mai and har gao to more interesting bites such as braised duck wings and pork belly yam rolls.
No matter the time of day, you’re sure to find a crowd gathering at Fei Fei Wanton Mee for a good ‘ol bowl of char siew noodles. A $4 bowl comes loaded with roasted pork and vegetables but nothing beats the homemade fried wontons that retain their crunch despite being mixed with a copious amount of chilli sauce.
This 24-hour kopitiam – conveniently located close to both Clarke Quay and Boat Quay – is where most night-time revellers end up for a cheap yet satisfying meal to cap off the night. It’s home to Yan Kee Noodle House, whose fiery bak chor mee sua ($4) makes for great ‘drunk food’. Dig your chopsticks into the bowl of mee sua, fishballs, meatballs and minced pork – everything is doused in chilli and vinegar, and guaranteed to perk you up for the ride back home.
So you’ve just watched a late-night screening at The Projector or you’re waiting for the bus to take you to Malaysia in the middle of the night – where do you go for a quick meal? Why, Diandin Leluk, of course. The Thai eatery is one of the largest in Golden Mile Complex and the menu is just as extensive. There are the usual suspects – pineapple fried rice, tom yum soup and basil chicken rice – and a host of other Thai favourites.
Chikin is as ostentatious as it gets, with bright neon lights, Hello Kitty paraphernalia and Japanese-inspired pop art murals decorating the space. The food is just as colourful: the joint specialises in yakitori spiced with Sichuan mala sauce. The chicken skewers (from $3) are cooked using Japanese techniques over Binchotan flames, but tastes closer to the popular street snack, shao kao, which you’ll find on the streets of Chengdu. But it’s not all spicy grilled meats on the menu – Chikin also whips up a wicked bowl of unagi garlic fried rice ($12) topped with generous cubes of grilled eel and tobiko.
Forget that dim sum joint along Jalan Besar. For a comforting Chinese feast in the wee hours, nothing beats a steaming bowl of porridge and a fleet of humble yet hearty dishes. That a meal for two will only clock in at about $20 makes a trip to this supper haunt even better.
Joo Seng’s star dish, besides the porridge, of course, is the braised duck leg. It’s fall-off-the-bone tender and swimming in a savoury-sweet soya sauce base. The minced pork with black bean, another Teochew porridge staple, is flawless here, too. But whatever you do, it’s obligatory to request for an additional bowl of dark zhup – you’ll be liberally ladling that into your bowl, trust us.
JB Ah Meng’s new digs might be cleaner, brighter and bigger, but it hasn’t lost its shiok appeal just because you can’t dine on the road anymore. The crowds keep coming back for unbeatable zi char dishes like san lou bee hoon ($7-$14), the pancake-resembling seafood noodle dish that’s the joint’s star, and wok-tossed clams ($16) with copious amounts of garlic. The joint also does a killer rendition of white pepper crab (from $24) that’s only mildly spicy, which allows for the natural sweetness of the crustacean to shine.
While many flock to Adam Road to have nasi lemak for breakfast, come once the sun sets for delicacies such as beef tripe satay and soup kambing with brain and tongue. For the peckish, Zaiton Satay stays open ’til about midnight and grills up skewers of marinated beef, mutton and chicken ($0.60/stick) served alongside a thick and chunky peanut sauce. But those craving something richer shouldn’t miss the soul-satisfying bowls of soup kambing ($5-$8) from Bahrakath Mutton Soup King, which closes at three in the morning. An added perk of coming later in the night? A more concentrated soup base that’s been stewing for hours.
For zi char under the starry night sky next to the Singapore River, head to VLV Riverside. An extension of the main club, the al fresco space doles out comfort food that’s perfect for post-revelry feasting. Savour dishes like congee with sautéed bullfrog ($28), pork belly XO noodles ($22), and fish head curry ($32) while appreciating acoustic sets performed by local musicians. Those looking to splash some cash can also order the Chairman’s Crab ($9/100g): it’s steamed crab served on a bed of bonito-flavoured egg whites and sprinkled with ikura.
All steamboats and their kaleidoscope of meats and veggies are gorgeous – that much is a fact for any local. And this concept by Paradise Group wants you to look as good as their food. Not literally, of course.
Beauty in the Pot specialises in soup bases that are purportedly good for your skin. The two signature soups, Beauty Collagen Broth and Spicy Nourishing Broth ($20 each), use collagen-rich shark cartilage as their main ingredient. The latter even deploys a cornucopia of Chinese herbs like red dates and ginseng, so the soups are as nourishing as they are delicious. Like Hai Di Lao, the hotpot liao here are a bar above your average steamboat joint. There’s US wagyu rib-eye ($21), Kurobuta pork (from $9), and a selection of fresh fish. Even the many types of tofu are worth the stomach space – go for the fish tofu ($1.80), which soaks up all the goodness of the broth like a savoury sponge.
Better known as 'Block 85', this hawker centre in Bedok is famous across the city for one thing: the soup-based bak chor mee that’s as comforting as a snug blanket on a rainy night. Don’t believe the hype when it comes to the few stalls that sell it, though. Their differences are marginal at best.
Save some tummy room for a bowl of Chai Chee Pork Porridge’s namesake dish ($3.50). The Cantonese-style chok is almost obscenely gloopy and thick, and packed with enough liao to stop your hunger pangs. And always, always ask for a raw egg ($0.50) to be dropped into your rice.