When people share their qualms about how expensive food can get in Orchard Road, I don’t really experience it directly. I guess the budget barbie in me has explored the roads of Orchard so frequently that I’ve found Easter eggs of hidden eats all over the most unassuming malls. Far East Plaza is one of them.
If we were to compare the shopping malls along Orchard, Far East Plaza, for one, isn’t the most attractive shopping centre. Yet in contrast to most aesthetically developed shopping malls around the area, Far East Plaza offers one of the best eats, and they’re affordable ones at that too!
Don’t believe me? I’m letting you in on my secret of 10 best eats in Far East Plaza that’ll stop you from complaining about prices.
1. New Station Snack Bar (#05-95)
The top of the list of what to eat at Far East Plaza shouldn’t be unfamiliar to many. New Station Snack Bar has built a name for themselves, not only for their mouth-watering Salted Egg Pork Ribs Rice (S$7), but for their delectable spread of tze char dishes.
This place hits like home for me— I’ve eaten here since my secondary school days, and am still patronising them for nearly 10 years.
It really needs no introduction, as the Salted Egg Pork Ribs Rice stands out on its own. Why people queue to have a serving of this is because of how they differentiate the dish from other tze char stalls. Their version is one that sees a more liquidly salted egg sauce, as opposed to most tze char stalls that do up heavy-tasting counterparts, making it difficult to get through.
New Station Snack Bar fries the pork ribs to a perfect level of crisp while retaining tenderness inside. On the exterior, the meat is doused with a large scoop of luxurious salted egg sauce to pair with the rice, flooding the whole plate. I am particular about eating my rice with gravy, so this is great for me.
Of course, we need to give the store credit for the other dishes that they have to offer as well. The Teo Chew Hor Fun (S$7) is another popular choice amongst the public, as most love it for its heavy wok hei flavour that stands out in the dish.
The springy ribbons of kway teow hides crispy bits of fried radish, prawns and squids and fried eggs. This choice is highly recommended for people like me who love dry noodles.
2. Kra Pow Thai Street Food (#03-26/27)
Kra Pow Thai Street Food is no longer a hidden gem of mine, because it has gotten popular in recent years. Known for their inexpensive, authentic street food, Kra Pow is one of my favourite places to enjoy Thai cuisine without flying to Thailand.
In 2018, they transitioned from a much smaller unit to their current one, which is able to feed many more mouths. Now, they’ve also opened another outlet at Chinatown Point. You can say that they’ve been consistent in keeping their standards high, considering their success over the past few years.
One thing that you have to order at Kra Pow Thai Street Food is the Drunkard Noodles (Minced Pork), and no, unlike its name, the chef isn’t a drunkard and neither do the noodles contain alcohol.
For S$9, you receive a large portion of stir-fried thick spicy noodles mixed with long beans, carrots, and minced pork. A bite in and you’ll experience the burst of flavours from the chef’s heavy use of basil leaves and chillies, making this a fiery experience. I swear by this dish, it’s my forever favourite!
For the purists, I’ll make a guess that pad thai would probably be the dish to order when you’re at a Thai restaurant. Am I right?
Unlike other Thai places, Kra Pow offers Crackling Pork Belly Pad Thai (S$17) which is served in limited quantities daily. Pork belly isn’t exactly an ingredient that you’d find in a plate of pad thai, but I decided to go for it. Regardless, it was a great decision. The meat is perfected with a great meat-to-skin-to-fat ratio, and paired beautifully with the soft rice noodles. When I popped one of the pork belly cubes in my mouth, I was amazed by how the melting fat juxtaposed the crispy golden brown shell of skin.
Albeit higher in prices now, Kra Pow Thai Street Food definitely still serves a wonderful rendition of authentic Thai food. Those who are afraid of spice, be ready to bring a bottle of water here.
3. Maddie’s Kitchen (#02-10/11/12/13)
Just a level down from Kra Pow is Maddie’s Kitchen, a Hainanese tze char restaurant at an unassuming corner of Far East Plaza!
Fairly new to the mall, they only opened the store in 2018. In all honesty, I was quite surprised that they opened in this mall but I guess they’ll be added to the list of hidden gems.
They specialise in old-school classics that you can typically find in a hawker. Think: iconic hawker centre dishes but squeezed into one restaurant. Yup, that’s Maddie’s Kitchen for you.
What you have to snag would be their Pork Chop Hainanese Curry Rice Set ($6.80). The huge plate consists of fried pork chop, which is thinner in size as compared to typical Japanese cutlets, a serving of cabbage and a fried egg drizzled with black sauce, all of which are flooded in curry. The fried pork cutlet may seem easy to devour, but it was really filling…
Alternatively, Maddie’s Kitchen offers their rendition of Fried Seafood Hor Fun (S$10.80/S$21.80) and Beef Hor Fun (S$13.80/S$27.80). This differs slightly from the typical tze char dish that you’ll get from at any coffeeshop— the dishes are infused with a heavy wok hei flavour, and the beef hor fun incorporates bitter gourd and black beans, a different choice of vegetables from the norm!
4. Wasabi Tei (#05-68)
Like a pearl hidden in a clam, Wasabi Tei is my newest find to the list. Hidden diagonally in front of New Station Snack Bar and next to Puncak Best Noodles Halal Muslim Food sits a Japanese restaurant that seats a maximum of 15 diners.
You’ll step into an intimate setting that mimics the privacy that most omakase restaurants have— you’ll get a premium experience of the chef in action live in front of you, and at a wallet-friendly price too.
To all the sashimi-obsessed lovers out there, this is the place for you. Wasabi Tei serves the thickest slabs of salmon I’ve ever seen, and the freshest ones I’ve tasted too. In the Special Chirashi Sushi (S$38), you’ll obtain premium cuts of raw fish from tuna, swordfish, sweet prawns and scallop.
If you’re on a tighter budget, you can always pop by during lunch hour for a more wallet-friendly option— the Sanshoku Chirashi Don (S$18). No matter what, I think their bowls are a steal considering how premium they taste.
Mon to Sat: 12pm – 3pm & 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Closed on Sun
5. Puncak Best Noodles Halal Muslim Food (#05-94)
Puncak Best Noodles Halal Muslim Food is one of the more popular Muslim-friendly eateries in Far East Plaza. Opened since 1988, they’ve been feeding Chinese-Muslim cuisines to many in our internationally diverse country.
A dish that never ceases to intrigue me is the Honeydew Chicken Noodles (S$6.30).
Don’t be fooled by its vibrant exterior— the Honeydew Chicken Noodles have a natural sweetness from the fruit.
Although the name states “honeydew”, the chicken dish does not taste anything like the melon. Instead, the protein is slightly charred for a caramelised taste to give the whole dish depth, while retaining its moisture on the inside. If I’d compare this to something, the closest would be Chinese soy chicken noodles that you usually get at chicken rice stalls.
The small restaurant serves a diverse amount of Chinese dishes, including the Beef Claypot Rice (S$6.80) and Fried Wanton Noodles (S$5.80).
Since it’s halal, the latter serves wantons that are stuffed with prawn paste instead of pork, and deep fried to a crispy golden brown. These are insanely sinful but so addictive, I think you might need to order an individual plate of Fried Wanton (S$7/S$10)! If you like to spice things up, you can opt for the Fried Wanton Sambal (S$11/S$16).
6. Greenview Cafe (#04-96)
It’s raining and you’re desperately looking for a bowl of affordable soup noodles, but there’s no nearby hawker in Orchard Road? Greenview Cafe will do the job for you, as they serve a good bowl of noodles at cheap prices!
Greenview Cafe has been feeding the regulars of Orchard for over 30 years. It’s fair to say that they are one of the pioneer F&B stalls in the mall. Despite their variation in menu, their speciality still lies in the hand pulled noodle dish— mee hoon kueh.
They’re famed for the hand torn flour noodles, Dry Mee Hoon Kueh (S$5.50). In a bowl, you’ll get nothing out of the ordinary, but chewy al dente noodles paired with salty ikan bilis and several vegetables, all tossed in black sauce. With a dash of sambal, your noodle dish is perfected.
Despite their simple offerings, Greenview Cafe has recently hopped on the trend by offering Tom Yam Mee Hoon Kueh (S$7) and Herbal Mee Hoon Kueh (S$6). They’ve certainly taken a creative twist to our traditional noodles.
If you’re looking to pass time and you’re just feeling peckish, you could also try out their traditional snacks of Fried Sticky Cake (nian gao) for S$1.80!
7. Yanji by GoodEarth Seafood Soup (#01-16A/B)
Do you have days where you just feel slightly boujee? Yanji by GoodEarth Seafood Soup has a gourmet selection of premium seafood soup that will make you feel like you’re dining in a 5-star restaurant despite being set in a humble shop.
Before the shift to Far East Plaza, they were located in Marsiling Mall, and shortly after they garnered quite a substantial popularity, they opened another outlet at Funan Mall.
What did you expect when I mentioned the word “premium”? Yes, their seafood soups consist of the freshest ingredients of crayfish, abalone, minced pork and large prawns— but don’t expect these to come at a cheap price though! The Premium Seafood Soup comes at a price of S$38.
Albeit one of the more expensive fish soups you’ll find out there, you definitely can’t expect this to taste the same as the rest. For S$14, the Batang Seafood Soup contains the batang fish (also known as Spanish mackerel) that breaks into a buttery smooth consistency when in your mouth.
The real star of the show is the broth that is chock full of umami and heavy seafood flavours. Take a sip and you’ll be amazed by the result of the arduous process of cooking the broth. The pleasant sweetness comes from the fresh seafood and the slight wok hei flavour comes from the prawns and crayfish. The culinary expertise and technique embodied in the dish makes every single dollar worth it.
8. Nana Original Thai Food (#01-21)
Nana Original Thai Food shouldn’t be an unfamiliar name to many if you’re big on Thai cuisine. They’re situated at level 1 of Far East Plaza, and is notably packed on all occasions. They’ve appeared at Clementi and Golden Mile Complex, and will be opening in Aperia Mall soon! (Goodbye Golden Mile Complex… *inserts crying emoji*)
They’ve branded themselves to provide Thai food for you to “enjoy Thai food the way Thais do”.
Well, how else do we enjoy an authentic Thai meal without Tom Yam Soup (S$21.50)? You can choose between the creamy or clear soup base, just like other Thai restaurants.
At Nana Original Thai Restaurant, they serve their version in a claypot bowl. Indulge in a bowl of tangy yet comforting soup that is packed with addictive flavours of sweet and sour hints, which will keep you coming back for more.
If one of your go-to orders for Thai food is Pandan Chicken (S$16.90), then we can be friends. Perhaps I stray away from Thai Green Curry Chicken (S$21.50) because I’m afraid that curries might get too jelak!
9. Nanbantei (#05-132)
Nanbantei is one of Singapore’s oldest Japanese yakitori restaurants. Located on the top level of Far East Plaza, it is a casual restaurant to visit with several friends.
Housed in a private space with wooden accents, there’s something comforting and intimate about the restaurant’s interior design that mimics a traditional Japanese restaurant. If you’re seated by the counter, you’ll have front view seats of the chefs cooking skewers over hot charcoal.
When you’re here, I suggest ordering the Yakitori Bento Set as they’re much more worth the money. For S$20, you get 5 sticks of yakitori along with rice and miso soup. These might not be able to fill you up if you’re a larger eater, so ordering several a la carte yakitori sticks might be a good move. You also get a lot more variety with the a la carte menu, so please pick your poison.
You can opt between Negima (S$5.60), Shiso Maki (S$6.30), and many other options like Sake Harasu (S$7.50), which is salmon belly that I would assume would be the crowd’s favourite.
If not, there are course meals that are on the higher end. The Yakitori Course features a total of 12 sticks for a cost of S$39, or you could share the Special Course (for 2) if you’re here with your special someone. It comes with salmon sashimi, a total of 10 yakitori sticks and several other items at S$72.
10. Ya Kun Kaya Toast (#01-16)
I don’t think I can complete the list of ultimate eats in Far East Plaza if I didn’t include Ya Kun Kaya Toast in this listicle.
For those who were unaware, surprise! There’s a Ya Kun Kaya Toast in Far East Plaza— our local favourite coffee stall since 1944. It’s tucked at the far corner of level 1, hidden from the eye. Yet, I often find them completely packed. I guess people will find their way to things they love.
You shouldn’t need an introduction to Ya Kun. They serve mostly breakfast foods, from kaya toasts like Rendang Chicken Sandwiches (S$4.20), Tuna Mayo Toastwich (S$4.20), to Steamed Bread Set (S$5.70) with a filling of your choice. If you can’t tell, coffee, bread, and eggs are their speciality. Set A which consists of 4 slices of Kaya Butter Toast, soft boiled eggs and a beverage of choice, comes at a cost of S$4.90.
They stand out from the rest because of the fragrant spread of kaya, especially with the pronounced pandan flavour and a thick slab of butter. Dip it into hot coffee, and you’ve settled your tea break snacks. Now, you’re set for the rest of the day.
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