There’s plenty to do along the ever-bustling streets of Chinatown. From museums to temples to historical buildings, Chinatown is a one-stop place for culture lovers.
Whether you’re a local or tourist, you’ll also know that Chinatown is a glorious food haven. Every corner you turn hides a hawker centre or food court teeming with hungry people.
We’ve gone around looking for some of the cheapest eats in the area. So here’re 10 food spots in Chinatown below S$10 that you and your tourist friends can go to!
—Upper Cross Street—
For those of you who’re into healthy eating, Kebun Specialty Tea Latte Bar is a vegan cafe along Upper Cross Street.
Their best-selling drink is the Kebun Earl Grey Latte (S$5), a concoction of their homemade cashew milk and tea. The fragrant tea’s velvety smooth consistency, together with creamy cashew milk, made for a really refreshing beverage.
Additionally, they serve up a range of other interesting drinks. Think Royal Thai Latte and even Ondeh Ondeh Latte! If you aren’t into milky drinks, not to worry. They also have a wide range of tea blends, such as the Gala Apple Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Earl Grey.
—Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre (Temporarily Closed)—
Tucked away in the yellow zone of Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre is Old Amoy Chendol, a third-generation chendol stall.
The only item on their menu, Chendol, goes for only S$2 per bowl! This icy treat comes with a mountain of shaved ice, coconut milk, red beans and chendol. A drizzle of gula melaka completes the dessert.
The cold-pressed coconut cream was light and fragrant, complementing the smoky and syrupy gula melaka. Also, the green jelly noodles were soft and infused with a pandan flavour that was to die for.
Located on the second floor of Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre is Kazan Japanese Cuisine.
As finding the stall might be slightly difficult, we suggest looking out for its almost gleaming-gold neon signage. Trust us, though, it’ll be worth the effort.
Their star dish, the Unagi Set (S$8), comes with a satisfyingly generous portion of unagi. The fillet size is something you don’t usually get at many Japanese restaurants, not for that price at least!
That said, the fish was delightfully tender and sweet. The slight char on it made each bite smoky and umami. Every set also comes with a side of miso soup, as well as fluffy Japanese rice.
Kazan Japanese Cuisine: 335 Smith Street, #02-001, Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, Singapore 050335 | Tel: + 65 8455 5229 | Opening Hours: 12noon – 8.30pm (Mon – Fri), 12pm – 6.30pm (Sun), Closed on Sat
Love xiao long baos but reluctant to splurge on them? Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao (中国拉面小笼包) at Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre will solve that problem.
With over 20 years of experience in the business, the stall sells a whopping total of about 3000 pieces daily!
The Steamed Mini Buns (S$6 for 10 pieces) come in two separate steamer baskets, each with five pieces. Delightfully, their thin skins tear open easily to reveal a good amount of soup.
Granted, these dumplings still fall a little short of Din Tai Fung’s standards. However, their ridiculously affordable price tag easily makes this stall a must-try.
Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao (中国拉面小笼包): 335 Smith Street, #02-135, Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, Singapore 050335 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 3pm & 5pm – 8.30pm (Wed – Sun), Closed on Mon & Tue
On the second floor of Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre is Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap (金记潮州卤鸭). With a history of over 35 years, this stall is currently on its second-generation of owners.
To give traditional duck rice a makeover, they have come up with an intriguing Duck Rice Bento (S$8).
They pile the bento sets high with ingredients that you can usually find in duck rice and kway chap. Think yam rice balls, duck meat, taupok, beancurd, pickled vegetables, an egg, and pork belly. So unless you’ve a huge appetite, this bento will be perfect for sharing!
Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap (金记潮州卤鸭): 335 Smith Street, #02-156 Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, Singapore 050335 | Opening Hours: 10.30am – 6.30pm (Mon – Thu), 10am – 6.30pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Fri | Facebook
There are so many great dim sum places out there. However, if you’ve time to spare, Hong Kong Mongkok Tim Sum (香港旺角点心) in Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre serves up pretty good dim sum.
Prepare to queue even if you arrive at 11am. The dim sum-loving old folks will probably be there earlier than you.
They make their Char Siew Baos (S$2.30 for three) in-house, so you can be sure that they’re super fresh.
They generously pack the fluffy bun with juicy and tender char siew meat. Their Char Siew Baos are definitely one of the better ones we’ve tried at a similar price point.
Hong Kong Mongkok Tim Sum (香港旺角点心): 335 Smith Street, #02-097, Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, Singapore 050335 | Tel: +65 9735 6312 | Opening Hours: 11am – 5pm (Wed – Sun), Closed on Mon & Tue
—Hong Lim Market & Food Centre—
If you love zi char dishes, Tang Kay Kee Fish Head Bee Hoon (鄧祺記生鱼头米粉) in Hong Lim Market & Food Centre is the place to go.
They’ve been serving up Fish Head Bee Hoon for four generations since 1978. However, they’re also currently offering a small range of zi char bowls.
Our favourite item was the Cai Po Fried Rice (S$5.50). They stir-fry it with an abundance of preserved turnips, which gives off a delectable sweet-savoury crunch.
The hearty dish also includes Chinese sausages and crab meat sticks, infusing each mouthful with a strong umami flavour. They’ve also included a sous vide egg, a rare treat for a hawker dish. Stirring it in simply makes the rice irresistibly creamy.
Tang Kay Kee Fish Head Bee Hoon (鄧祺記生鱼头米粉): 531A Upper Cross Street, #01-70, Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, Singapore 051531 | Tel: +65 8157 2641 | Opening Hours: 11am – 2.30pm & 5pm – 10pm (Daily) | Facebook
Many of the stalls in the two-storey Hong Lim Market & Food Centre look promising with their long queues. However, one of the most well-known of them all is the Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa (馳名結霜橋三輪車叻沙).
Since 2016, the stall has received the Michelin Bib Gourmand award every year consecutively. They’ve also earned numerous recognitions from local and international publications alike.
Their signature Asia Delight Laksa (S$5 per portion, S$9 with crayfish) has a distinct coconut fragrance from their addictive laksa broth. However, it didn’t have a very strong taste of coconut. Instead, the bold umami seafood flavour was more prominent.
The owner says that this is a Hainanese recipe from the 1950s which he learnt from his teacher. According to him, no one does it this way anymore, so definitely get this dish while you’re here. If not, the stall serves up an interesting Fruit Juice Mee Siam too!
Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa (馳名結霜橋三輪車叻沙): 531A Upper Cross Street, #02-66, Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, Singapore 051531 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 4.30pm (Mon – Sat), Closed on Sun
Eating healthy food, especially in the CBD area, is always a struggle. However, Beng Who Cooks in Hong Lim Market & Food Centre sells protein bowls at affordable prices.
Opened by a team which includes a boxer and gym coach, the stall’s healthy food will certainly fill you up.
Over here, they offer a basic Hawker Bowl (S$6, one complex carb + one protein + two sides + one add-on + one sauce). Or if you’re feeling extra hungry, there’s also the more premium Towkay Bowl (S$9, one complex carb + two proteins + four sides + one add-on + one sauce).
While you can choose whatever you like by filling in the order sheet, we’d recommend Beng’s Salted Egg Sauce. One serving of this salted egg sauce was enough to drench the bowl with salted egg yolk goodness. It’s also sure to satisfy those of you who’re into the salted egg craze.
Beng Who Cooks: 531A Upper Cross Street, #01-44, Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, Singapore 051531 | Tel: +65 9339 8445 | Opening Hours: 10am – 5.30pm (Mon – Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun | Facebook | Instagram
We all know that Singapore has some crazy hot weather. Luckily, if you’re in ChinaTown Point, I-Bing will solve that problem.
A sister brand to April’s Bakery, their unique fruit popsicles are the first of their kind in Singapore.
While they serve up a myriad of flavours such as Durian, Mangosteen and Mango, the Banana (S$5.50) popsicle was our favourite.
It had a creamy texture that was a little sticky at the same time. Yet, the faint taste was reminiscent of a fragrant loaf of banana bread. The chocolate tip of the ice cream also gave a nice contrast in taste to the banana ice cream.
I-Bing: 133 New Bridge Road, #B1-35, Chinatown Point, Singapore 059413 | Tel: +65 8459 4956 | Opening Hours: 9am – 10pm (Daily) | Facebook
A famous bakery from Taiwan, Kazo opened its first store in Chinatown Point in early January 2018.
The stall upholds a policy of flying in all their ingredients from Taiwan on a regular basis. This is to ensure a consistent quality of food across all their outlets.
Of all their cream puffs, their Hokkaido Cream Puff (S$3) was our unanimous favourite. Looking like a caramelised meteorite, it featured Kazo’s unique fusion of Danish and Japanese baking styles.
With decadent Hokkaido cream at its core, the flaky and crumbly puff pastry complemented the cream in perfect harmony.
Chinatown might be a touristy area, but it has plenty of great food spots which are yummy and pocket-friendly. So if you happen to be in the area, or are receiving friends from overseas, definitely check these places out. You don’t have to go broke while enjoying good food!
That said, Chinatown is a relatively large area. There’s bound to be more places with good food that we haven’t uncovered yet. So we’d definitely love to know if you know of any hidden gems in this area!