Ah, Japanese food – it’s one of us Singaporeans’ greatest weaknesses. The mere mention of ramen, sashimi or gyudon is enough to excite every Singaporean I know.
So imagine combining Japanese food with another Singaporean weakness: cheap food lobangs. That’s just about enough to get any kiasu Singaporean bouncing up and down with pure joy.
If you fall into that category of people, then here’s something you just can’t afford to miss out on – a list of 12 Japanese hawker stalls that serve affordable yet delicious Japanese food!
1. Gyu Nami (Amoy Street Food Centre)
If you’re a fan of affordable Japanese food, then there’s no way you haven’t heard of Gyu Nami. This is a hawker stall located in Amoy Street Food Centre that sells wagyu beef donburi for $10 per bowl.
Each Wagyu Roast Beef Donburi ($10) comes with a generous serving of thinly-sliced roast beef drizzled with onion sauce, an onsen egg, Sriracha-seasoned rice, and yogurt.
With the beef roasted to perfection, and the flavours perfectly balanced with the three different sauces, this is a bowl of premium ingredients at a very affordable price. I would even go as far to say that Gyu Nami serves restaurant-quality food, so this is a must-try if you’re an avid fan of Japanese food!
Read our full review on Gyu Nami.
Expected damage: $10 per pax
Gyu Nami: Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Road, #02-126, Singapore 069111 | Opening Hours: (Mon – Sat) 11am – 3pm (or till sold out), closed on Sundays | Facebook
2. Ramen Taisho (Maxwell Food Centre)
Ramen Taisho is run by a Singaporean couple who aim to provide authentic Japanese cuisine to locals without burning a hole in pockets.
The Ajitama Ramen ($7.80) comes with one huge slice of pork chashu, roasted seaweed, bamboo shoots, lava egg and scallions. We found the pork broth to be thick and bursting with umami, and the chashu fork-tender, with a great depth of flavour.
The eggs were also executed perfectly, and mixing it with the thin ramen noodles gave a great combination of texture.
Read our full review on Ramen Taisho.
Expected damage: $7 – $9 per pax
Ramen Taisho: 1 Kadayanallur Street, #01-32, Maxwell Food Center, 069184 | Opening Hours: (Weekdays) 11am – 9pm, Closed On Weekends | Tel: +65 6777 5859 | Facebook
3. Don.档 (Foch Road)
With affordable yet high-quality ingredients, Don.档 is not your average Japanese kopitiam stall. Here, they serve a variety of delicious donburi bowls at prices ranging from about $10 to about $30.
We’d recommend the Mentaiko Salmon Don ($9.90), a dish that hits all the right notes. The salmon is first cooked sous vide, then drizzled with a sweet mentaiko sauce. The cod roe in the sauce gave each bite an extra crunch, making the dish all the more palatable.
You could also try one of their signature dishes, Wagyu Beef Don ($12.90), which features Australian Wagyu Beef cooked sous vide, then blow-torched to give a good sear.
Read our full review of Don.档.
Expected damage: $10 – $30 per pax
Don.档：30 Foch Road #01-02, Singapore | Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 11am – 9.30pm | Facebook
4. Kazan Japanese Cuisine (Chinatown Complex)
Located on the second level of Chinatown Complex, Kazan Japanese Cuisine is known for its affordable Unagi Set ($8). Each set comes with a fillet-sized unagi, which you don’t usually get at many established Japanese restaurants — at least not for that price!
The meat was tender, sweet and slightly charred, which made each bite an all-rounded one. Every set comes with a side of miso soup, and many that I’ve tried can, at times, get too salty, but this one was simply perfect. Even the Japanese rice was fluffy and mildly sticky (which is how we love ours cooked!).
Read our full review of Kazan Japanese Cuisine.
Expected damage: $5 – $10 per pax
Kazan Japanese Cuisine: Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, 335 Smith Street, #02-001, Singapore 081006 | Tel: + 65 8455 5229 | Opening Hours: (Monday to Friday) 12pm – 8.30pm, (Sunday) 12pm – 6.30pm
5. Donya Japanese Cuisine (Toa Payoh)
Donya Japanese Cuisine was opened by three friends who grew up together in Toa Payoh in a bid to bring premium Japanese Don (rice bowls) to the people in this neighbourhood.
Order the signature Donya Maki ($5.80), which is filled with crabstick, avocado and cucumber and topped with salmon, torched tama (egg) and bonito flakes. That affordable price will get you four pieces of maki, making this dish quite the steal.
According to one of our writers, this is one of the best plates of sushi she’s had in Singapore!
You should also give the Salmon Mentai Don ($8.80) a try, as it boasts an extremely generous drizzle of mentaiko sauce over a huge slice of succulent pan-fried salmon.
Read our full review of Donya Japanese Cuisine.
Expected damage: $6 – $10 per pax
Donya Japanese Cuisine: Blk 126 Toa Payoh Lorong 1, Singapore 310126 | Opening Hours: (Daily) 11am – 2:30pm, 5pm – 9pm | Facebook
6. Sutāchi (Chinatown Complex)
Located in Chinatown Complex, Sutāchi offers the finest atas hawker food. Pictured above is the Foie Gras Gyu Donburi ($19.50), which, as its name suggests, comes with actual foie gras and slices of pinkish beef.
It’s not every day you get to see foie gras being sold in a hawker centre — and done quite well at that. The foie gras was buttery and oozing with fatty goodness, while the beef, though tougher than I would have liked, tasted fairly decent.
Sutāchi also has other offerings, like Salmon Mentaiko Pasta ($7.50) and Wing It! ($6.50 for six chicken wings), among others. Their menu is quite extensive, so do check them out!
Expected damage: $6 – $20 per pax
Sutāchi: Block 335 Smith Street, #02-060, Chinatown Complex, Singapore 050335 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm (Mon), 11.30am – 2.30pm & 6pm – 9.30pm (Tues – Sun) | Tel +65 9785 1382 | Facebook
7. Pepper Bowl (Amoy Street Food Centre)
If you’re gonna try Pepper Bowl, be warned of its long, snaking lunchtime queues. Pepper Bowl’s signature dish is the Black Pepper Beef Rice ($5) that comes with a generous serving of succulent beef slices drenched in an addictive black pepper sauce.
Top it off with a flowy Onsen Egg ($0.60) to complete the meal. For a simple upgrade such as this, you’d be surprised by how much this amped up the taste of the entire bowl.
Not only did the molten egg yolk add a nice texture to the rice and meat, the creamy egg white also mixed well with the sweet onions and flecks of black pepper!
Read our full review of Pepper Bowl.
Expected damage: $4.50 – $5 per pax
Pepper Bowl: 7 Maxwell Road, #02-102, Amoy Street Food Centre, Singapore 069111 | Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm daily, Closed on Sundays | Facebook
8. Sakana-Ya Japanese Cuisine (Bedok Marketplace)
Located in Bedok Marketplace, Sakana-Ya Japanese Cuisine offers fresh-as-can-be DIY Shirashi bowls and other delicious Japanese food staples.
For my bowl of make-your-own Shirashi ($18), I had sweet prawn, tuna, swordfish, uni (sea urchin gonads), ikura (salmon roe), tobiko salad (flying fish roe salad) and chuka wakame (seaweed salad).
Considering how thick and abundant the slices of sashimi were, this bowl of shirashi was incredibly value-for-money. Fresh and fatty, the sashimi was absolutely delectable.
Read our full review of Sakana-Ya Japanese Cuisine.
Expected damage: $12 – $20 per pax
Sakana-Ya Japanese Cuisine: 294A Bedok Road, The Bedok Marketplace, Singapore 469451 | Opening Hours: 12pm – 2pm, 5.45pm – 9.45pm (Tues – Fri), 11.45am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Mondays | Facebook
9. Unkai Japanese Cuisine (Old Airport Road)
If you want fresh seafood at very affordable prices, then Unkai Japanese Cuisine at Old Airport Road is the place to go.
Here, they sell five slices of fresh salmon sashimi for just $6, six premium oysters for a mere $18, and six torched scallops at an affordable $15. It’s hard to get good fresh seafood at such prices anywhere else, so this is a must-visit for all you Japanese seafood lovers!
Read our full review of Unkai Japanese Cuisine.
Expected damage: $6 – $18
Unkai Japanese Cuisine: 51 Old Airport Road, Old Airport Road Food Centre & Shopping Mall #01-89, Singapore 390051 | Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Daily)
10. Koryori Hayashi (Amoy Street Food Centre)
If you’re ever in the CBD area and craving some authentic Japanese food but don’t want to burn a hole in your pocket, Koryori Hayashi is the perfect place for you.
I tried their Mentaiko Pasta ($7) and was thoroughly impressed. Creamy yet light, the mentaiko sauce clung nicely to the spaghetti and coated each strand perfectly.
The mentaiko flavour was prominent, but not overwhelming. I especially loved the little bits of deep fried whitebait, which provided both texture and flavour to the dish!
Expected damage: $6 – $10 per pax
Koryori Hayashi: Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Road, #01-11, Singapore 069111 | Opening Hours: 11am – 2pm (Mon – Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun
11. Lagoon in a Bowl (Amoy Street Food Centre)
Yet another wonderful Japanese hawker stall resides in Amoy Street Food Centre. With a concept similar to Gyu Nami, Lagoon in a Bowl is a one-dish stall offering a Norwegian Salmon Rice Bowl ($10).
This colourful dish comprises a salmon fillet cooked sous-vide, slathered with a torched mentaiko mayo, sitting above a bed of butterfly pea tea rice, along with a fresh vegetable garnish seasoned with sesame sauce, as well as an onsen egg.
Cooked to perfection, the salmon was a peachy pink on the inside and wonderfully flaky. The mentaiko mayo, though a little salty, was flavourful and had quite a bit of heat to it. With the egg mixed with the rice, each bite was a mouthful of creamy, luxurious goodness!
Expected damage: $10 per pax
Lagoon in a Bowl: Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Road, #01-48, Singapore 069111 | Tel: +65 9119 2619 | Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm (Daily)
12. Buta Kin (Beauty World Centre)
Located in an open-air hawker centre on the top floor of Beauty World Centre, Buta Kin’s specialities include Japanese curry rice and tonkotsu ramen.
The signature Special Tonkotsu Ramen ($6.90) features a pork and chicken bone broth, succulent roasted pork slices, a flavoured soft boiled egg, and springy ramen noodles.
With a generous serving of noodles and protein, as well as a flavourful broth, this bowl of ramen was certainly value-for-money. Check out Buta Kin for its various ramen options; you’ll not be disappointed!
Expected damage: $4 – $6.90 per pax
Buta Kin: 144 Upper Bukit Timah, #04-28, Singapore 588177 | Tel: +65 8661 6028 | Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday (11am – 9pm), Closed on Mondays | Facebook