Bugis Street
Photograph: Time Out Singapore

Exploring Bugis Street 2.0 – new restaurants, stores, and hotels to check out in 2023

A Ramly burger joint, new coliving space and Esports hotel – there’s a whole lot to discover at Bugis Town

Time Out Singapore in partnership with Bugis Town

Bugis has been our stomping ground for years. Since the era of neoprint machines in the early 2000s, it’s been where you’d find us gathering for a catch-up with friends or a weekend afternoon of shopping. Now, with the new sheltered link bridge that conveniently connects Bugis Junction, Bugis+, and Bugis Street, it’s even easier to explore the entire Bugis Town at one go. 

Since we last stepped foot in Bugis though, it’s changed a ton – and all for the better. New takeaway kiosks, affordable restaurants, and even an Esports hotel has entered the scene. Here are eight new restaurants, stores, and hotels to check out within Bugis Street in 2023.

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The best things to do and eat in the new Bugis Street

1. Xiang Cao Kitchen - single-serve grilled fish and mala xiang guo

Count us in for mala, no matter what the occasion is. At Xiang Cao Kitchen, they don’t only serve up a spice-packed bowl of mala xiang guo, but also specialises in single-person grilled fish (from $9.90) cooked in flavours such as green chilli peppers, tomato soup, or mushroom soup. Here, you can add a variety of ingredients from sliced lamb to fresh prawns

They do also have an assortment of other Chinese dishes, such as Saliva Chicken ($6.80) and Suan Ni Bai Rou ($6.80), a classic Sichuan pork belly dish in a tasty garlic sauce.

Find Xiang Cao Kitchen at 233 Victoria Street, Singapore 188026.

2. DIY phone case store – unique cases and cartoon-themed charms

At this hidden gem along Bugis Street, create your own unique phone case. The shop has a slew of colourful charms, ranging from pastel floral badges to cartoon-themed stickers. It’s entirely up to you how to decorate it, so you’ll be happily walking away with a one-of-a-kind phone case.

At just $15.40, we made our own iPhone case featuring floral motifs and a pastel blue theme. It’s also up to you how to position each charm.

Find this hidden gem by strolling down Bugis Street from the main entrance (off Victoria Street) – it’ll be on the left side after 50 metres or so. 

3. Mr. Burger - Malaysian Ramly burgers and affordable pasta

Ramly burgers are always the favourite choice of any pasar malam (night market), but now, we’ve got a reliable constant with Mr. Burger over at Bugis Street. Tuck into the classic Ramly burger ($5.90) – it’s been described to be just like those you’ll stumble upon while wandering the street alleys of Johor Bahru. It’s greasy, saucy, and flavourful – everything you want in a Ramly burger. 

Mr. Burger also offers other tasty options, including a range of burgers from the China Mala Chicken Burger ($6.90) to the Hawaiian Chicken Burger ($6.90), or even a ready selection of freshly-cooked pasta. Here, expect classics like the Aglio Olio Pasta ($5.90) or the Carbonara ($8.90).

Find Mr. Burger at 159 Rochor Road, Singapore 188434

4. Hovoh - co-living space with gyms and offices

To open in February 2023

Housed in the iconic pre-war heritage shophouses of Bugis, Hovoh is a new co-living brand that prides itself on self-contained apartments and shared spaces. Since the pandemic, there's no doubt that times have changed drastically – having a community in a shared space is the ultimate dream. 

Treat the members’ lounge Hovoh Nest as a safe cocoon, especially since there’ll be a lineup of social events and workshops. Added bonus: there’ll also be retail shops taking over the ground levels of these shophouses, so it makes a convenient grocery run for residents. 

Find Hovoh at 157 Rochor Road, Singapore 188432.

5. Ayam Penyet RIA - Indonesian crispy fried chicken

There’s no denying it: fried chicken is an obvious comfort food. With crackling skin and juicy chicken, Ayam Penyet RIA is one to try for its smashed fried chicken ($8.90) that comes with a side of fluffy rice. They’ve been around since 2003 and are the true pioneers of ayam penyet in our own little red dot. 

Besides fried chicken though, this restaurant also offers a range of delish Indonesian fare. This includes shrimp paste peanut sauce-based Tahu Telur ($7), which comes with a fluffy but crisp tower of fried egg and tofu, as well as a selection of grilled items like the Bebek Bakar ($9.90), a flame-grilled duck that comes paired with a punchy Balinese chilli. 

Find Ayam Penyet RIA at 249 Victoria St, Singapore 188034.

6. Chanko Oden - takeaway oden kiosk

Japanese food is always a top choice, and oden isn’t any different. As a type of soy-flavoured stew, oden is similar to our version of yong tau foo. Chanko Oden is a new takeaway kiosk that has recently opened with Japanese-style oden – they’re best known for having close to 30 different types of oden and hearty broths like dashi, tomato, and tom yum.

Each piece of oden starts from $1.50, ranging from sweet potato to mochi kinchaku (fried tofu filled with mochi). They also offer other tasty bites such as baked sweet potato and roasted chestnuts.

Find Chanko Oden at ABFL 03, 3 New Bugis Street, Singapore 188867.

7. Arena Esports Hotel - co-working and co-playing hotel

To open the first quarter of 2023

Esports has been huge lately in Singapore, with global tournaments and themed hotel rooms. It’s no different at Bugis Street’s Arena Esports Hotel which lets you experience the very best of co-working and co-playing. 

Spanning a mighty 25,000 square feet, this Esports hotel is one that’s perfect for those looking to battle it out virtually – all while living it up in a luxe setting with quality facilities and speedy WiFi.

Find Arena Esports Hotel at 166A Rochor Road, Singapore 188441.

8. Hock Leng – savoury seafood snacks from around the world

Newly-opened snack store Hock Leng is just in time for Chinese New Year with their ready supply of savoury seafood snacks. This is one of the many hidden gems of Bugis Street – it’s not situated on the main street, but instead, you’ll need to take a turn into one of the recently revamped alleys. 

It’s worth it though. From Hokkaido BBQ Codfish to Korean Sliced Cuttlefish, there’s a massive selection of 100 percent handmade snacks. All are made with fresh ingredients imported from Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, with no preservatives and artificial flavourings. 

You can also pick up other favourites like Nyonya Prawn Chilli (from $13.90 a jar) to charcoal-baked Kuih Kapit, otherwise known as love letter biscuits from $18.80 per container. 

Find this hidden gem by continuing through Bugis Street from the main entrance (off Victoria Street), and turn left at the DIY phone case store. Continue down for another 20 metres or so before turning right into one of the new Bugis Street alleys.

What to do in Bugis

There’s plenty to do in Bugis these days, whether you’re looking for new restaurants or places to check out. With the new sheltered link bridge, you’ll also be easily connected to all the shopping malls and areas instantly, including Bugis Junction, Bugis+, and Bugis Street. From new Chinese restaurants to a takeaway oden kiosk, there’s every reason to head down to Bugis Town in 2023.

Find out more about Bugis Street here.

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