Tall, shiny glass towers, sprawling skyscrapers, the infamous ERP and people donned in crisp, smart suits. When you think of Singapore’s CBD, such imagery may come to mind.
Many of us working – or interning – in the CBD know the struggle of trying to eat cheaply in the CBD. If you’re tired of burning a hole in your wallet from eating $10 lunches everyday, here are some delicious hidden (and not so hidden) hawker gems that will ease the burden on your wallets.
Tanjong Pagar Precinct
1. Amoy St Boon Kee Prawn Noodle
If we had to describe the prawn mee at Amoy St Boon Kee Prawn Noodle in one word, it would be ‘SHIOK!‘.
At just $3 for a regular bowl of prawn mee, you get glorious flavour, springy noodles and succulent prawns. What makes this bowl of noodles a standout is the strong fragrance of prawns.
We suspect that the uncle who cooks the dish boils the soup with loads of prawns, giving it its aromatic taste. Definitely a must-try.
Amoy St Boon Kee Prawn Noodle
Address: 7 Keppel Rd, PSA Tanjong Pagar Complex, #01-01/02, Singapore 089053
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 7.30am – 2pm; Closed on Sat & Sun
2. Famous Amara Yong Tau Foo
Located in a nondescript coffee shop beneath a row of old buildings, this yong tau foo stall is frequented by office workers who work nearby and those in the know.
Previously located at the old Amara Food Court, the stall has since shifted to Hoe Chiang Road, where it still sees brisk business everyday.
Their soup consists of a clear broth, as well as a generous serving of soya beans to amp up the flavour. Priced at $4.20 for rice/noodle with 6 ingredients ($0.60 per add. piece), you can expect long queues during lunchtime.
Famous Amara Yong Tau Foo
Address: 9 Hoe Chiang Road, Singapore 089312
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 10am – 3pm; Closed on Sat & Sun
3. Ace Eating House
The char siew chicken rice stall and the fish soup bee hoon stall at this coffee shop are the bomb.
A plate of char siew rice costs $3, while a plate of fried fish bee hoon noodles costs $4. Great value for your money, the food at this coffee shop will make you want to come back for more.
What’s also great about this coffee shop is that it opens until the wee hours of the morning. This means if you OT late into the night, you’ll be able to get your food fix here. While not all the stalls open till late, you can always count on the tze char stall to come through with some midnight grub.
Ace Eating House
Address: 243 Cantonment Rd, Singapore 089770
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 9am – 8.30am
Raffles Place Precinct
If you’re a fan of Taiwanese street food, Scorch is a CBD gem you must check out.
Housed in Clifford Centre, a popular lunch haunt among the office crowd, Scorch sells Taiwanese Lu Rou Fan (Braised Meat Rice) from a very reasonable $3. Aside from Lu Rou Fan, you’ll also find Nasi Lemak set lunches from $2.50. Yes, you can find cheap food in the CBD.
Address: 24 Raffles Place, #01-12A Clifford Centre Singapore 048621
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 7am – 4.30pm; Closed on Sat & Sun
5. Chin Chin Eating House
While those working in the Raffles Place area are probably well-acquainted with Golden Shoe Food Centre, they may be less aware of the smaller coffee shops in the area. Chin Chin Eating House is one of them.
Serving Hainanese Chicken Rice, you can get your chicken rice fix at $3.50 a plate! The chicken rice here is confirm shiok, having received rave reviews from Singaporeans and bloggers alike.
Chin Chin Eating House
Address: 19 Purvis St, Singapore 188598
Operating Hours: Mon – Sun: 7am – 9pm
The City Hall Precinct
6. Swagat Indian Vegetarian Stall
Nestled within the throngs of government buildings, offices and hotels is an old building called Peninsula Plaza.
Standing at its corner of the street for many years, it’s one of those places you pass on your way to the glitzier Raffles City Shopping Centre. Something not many Singaporeans know is that its basement boasts a great array of food choices, with affordable meals easily found at their food court, Food Alley.
At this food court, you’ll find Swagat Indian Vegetarian Stall. An indian vegetarian stall that sells vegetarian dishes like naan, mee goreng and thosai, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike will find something to fill their bellies here. Masala thosai costs $3.50, while plain thosai costs just $1.60!
Swagat Indian Vegetarian Stall
Address: Basement 1 Peninsula Plaza, 111 North Bridge Road 179098
7. Tony Café
While there’s plenty of good food in City Hall, there’s not a lot of variety in the way of cheap food. An under $5 gem you must check out is Tony Café in The Adelphi.
Here, a plate of chicken wings (fried/honey) rice is $3.50 and if you add curry vegetables and salted egg, your grand total will be just $4.50. A plus point is that this stall is fully air-conditioned, so you get to enjoy finger-licking good fried chicken without sweating buckets.
Do take note that its famous fried chicken wings are only available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Address: 1 Coleman St, The Adelphi, Singapore 179803
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 7.30am – 3.30pm; Closed on Sun
Marina Bay Financial District
8. Copper Chimney
While the Marina Bay Financial District boasts plenty of restaurants, affordable lunch fare can be found at Foodfare @ MBFC Tower 3.
This NTUC-run food court promises to provide its patrons with affordable food, as well as a good selection of dishes. We especially like Copper Chimney, a stall selling authentic Indian cuisine. $4.20 gets you a garlic naan from this Northern Indian stall.
Address: 12 Marina Boulevard, #02-01/04, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3, Singapore 018982
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 8am – 9pm; Sat: 8am – 1pm
CBD food isn’t all expensive, you just need to know where to look. Now, with all that money you’ve saved from your meals, go for that after work drink! After the long hours of hard work, you deserve it!