They say that Singapore is a very expensive place to live in, but that is not true. The food prices in Singapore are much lower than most first world countries. Let me prove to you how you can get authentic local Singaporean dishes for under $5.
There are many tiers of food places in Singapore. From your neighbourhood and local hawker centres to the fancy celebrity chefs in Marina Bay Sands, there is a tier for everyone. Let’s explore the cheap and good local Singapore dishes that is impossible to miss when you are here.
Authentic Local Singaporean Food
The best local food in Singapore is usually in the neighbourhood Hawker Centres with affordable dishes below $5. There, you will meet hawkers who have been cooking the same dish for over 40 years. The prices are also easy on the wallet and you get to order a range of different cuisines!
Hainanese chicken rice is one of the most popular food in Singapore because it is said to be created in Singapore. For chicken rice, you can get them at $2 for those value packs at the metro station, or the fancy ones in the hotels. But in general, the cost about $2.50-$4 a pack.
Personal favourite chicken rice: Seng Heng Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice Bukit Timah Food Centre #02–177 (closed on Sun)
Char Kway Teow
This is my guilty pleasure. Packed with oil, fats and calories, it is no doubt one of the most delicious food here. They usually come in a price range, typically from $3-$5.
Find where to eat the best Char Kway Teow in Singapore
Laksa – Penang or Singapore
The Penang laksa is sour and spicy, but we use thinner noodles than in Malaysia. Nonetheless, the tanginess from the Assam, paired with the Asian herbs and spices, finishing with some garnish and fish bits, this hot and spicy soup is perfect for rainy days.
The Singapore laksa is of a totally different category altogether. It is a coconut-milk/curry based soup that is less spicy and much more flavorful. The ingredients are also different; this has fishcake, egg, prawns and dried beancurd. Price from $3.00.
Read about the best Laksa in Singapore.
My Childhood Favourite: Fried Carrot Cake
My late grandfather will laugh at me if he sees this. When he picks me up from school, he will bring me to my favourite fried carrot cake shop and watch me gobble down the dish in seconds. The fried carrot cake is made of turnip, fried with egg and optional chilli. You also have the dark version, adding the sweet dark sauce. Price from $2.50.
My late grandfather and my favourite carrot cake: He Zhong Carrot Cake: 51 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre, Singapore 588172
Fishball noodles are the best when the fishballs are handmade. (Yes, they do taste differently!) These are probably in all possible hawker centres around Singapore and they start from $2.50.
Minced Meat Noodles
If my guilty pleasure is fried carrot cake, my brother’s would be minced meat noodles. He can finish 3 bowls in 1 sitting. Minced meat noodles are like fishball noodles, typically from the same store. It comes with flat noodles (Mee-Pok), paired with minced meat, sauce, mushrooms, meatball (optional) and some vegetables. Price from $3.00.
Brother’s favourite minced meat noodles: Zhen Zi Ba Chor Mee. Block 29 Bendemeer Road, Bendemeer and Food Centre. #01–21
Bonus: complete your meal with a local drink. $1 Teh Tarik by the uncle who has been making this drink for 45 years!
Turns out, foreigners really love this dish. It is extremely affordable and very local. They usually cost $0.70-$0.80 a piece. They are steamed rice cakes, and you eat them with salted radish (chai po) and chilli. It is a popular morning breakfast for many.
Grew up eating this shop: Chwee Kueh. #02-142, Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre, 116 Upper Bukit Timah Road.
This is an iced dessert in Singapore. It is found in all dessert stalls in hawker centres and starts at $2.00. In a bowl, you have beans, jelly and atap seed at the bottom, followed by a mountain of ice in colourful sweet syrup. You usually mix the ice and ingredients together before eating them. By Singapore50
Green/Red Bean Soup
This is especially local because most Chinese grandmothers cook this dessert drink for the family. You boil the beans in water till they are soft and cooked. They are also really affordable, usually starting at $0.90-$1.20. You can find them in the same stall with the icy desserts.
Lastly, cakes. Singapore has many of her own cakes, from Indian cakes, Malay ondeh-ondeh and more. However, many would agree that Pandan Cake is something that is uniform across all races. Everyone loves pandan cake, for its soft fluffy sponge cake and light sweet aroma. They sell at $0.70-$1.00 a slice.
Don’t miss out the Top 25 Must Eat In Singapore!