It doesn’t matter how wealthy you are or sophisticated your taste becomes, the thrill of uncovering a hawker gem that delivers big taste for a small price never loses its appeal. Add the Singaporean kiasu attitude to that and you can understand why we chose to write this article. Here are the best cheap eats that you can find in Singapore for S$2.50 and less.
They are all ‘proper’ hawker meals, not snacks or desserts. I have also tried to be as diverse as possible and did quite a bit of hunting to avoid any repeat dishes. However, there are some stalls that offer more than one dish for $2+ and, in those cases, I have mentioned dishes that also appear elsewhere on my list. I hope you enjoy it!
Bak Chor Mee is just ‘minced meat noodles’ and it’s surprising to me that something that can be described so simply can be so hard to get right. One of the hawker stalls that does achieve a certain high standard is Ah Gong Minced Pork Noodle in Maxwell Food Centre.
Their Bak Chor Mee with Soup (S$2.50) comes with your choice of noodles, tender minced pork, lard and apparently no MSG. That makes for a light and sweetish dish that also retains a gentle savouriness from the tee poh and pork bones. It is served in a claypot that keeps it warm for a good 20 minutes. Great value for money!
1 Kadayanallur Street, Maxwell Food Centre, #01-02, Singapore 069184
+65 9234 4445
Mon to Sat: 10.30am – 3pm
Closed on Sun
I was so desperate to have laksa on this list and 63 Laksa came right to the rescue! They make what I describe as a laundry-friendly version of this timeless Singapore favourite. By that, I mean all the noodles are conveniently cut up into small pieces so you have no need of chopsticks or forks… and the shower of yellow splatters they entail.
Even the bowl of small Laksa (S$2.50) here is served filled to the brim and announces its arrival with a dizzyingly pleasant aroma of coconut milk. Floating or drowning in that bowl will be ample bits of fish cake. Dried shrimp adds some intensity to the thinner-than-usual soup but I find it just nice.
20 Ghim Moh Road, Ghim Moh Road Market & Food Centre, #01-20
+65 6513 8833
Tue to Sat: 8am – 2pm
Sun: 8am – 1pm
Closed on Mon
3. $2.50 nasi lemak at Xiang Ji Cooked Food
There is nothing like a good nasi lemak in the morning. Ok, yes there is— good nasi lemak at a very low price! That’s exactly what you get at Xiang Ji Cooked Food at Upper Boon Keng Food Market.
Despite the affordable price, the stall does not skimp on the portions of rice, ikan bilis, chicken wing or egg in their Nasi Lemak Set A (S$2.50). However, that’s only guaranteed if you get in early for either the breakfast or lunch sessions. On most days, they run out before the queue does.
17 Upper Boon Keng Rd, Upper Boon Keng Market & Food Centre, #01-69, Singapore 380017
Fri to Wed: 6.30am – 1.30pm
Closed on Thu
4. S$2 vegetarian mixed veggie rice at Chang Le Vegetarian Food
If you are as concerned about saving the planet as you are about saving your wallet, head on down to Chang Le Vegetarian Food at Upper Boon Keng Market and Food Centre. Everything at this very unassuming stall costs S$2.50 or less. Their dishes are completely meat- and egg-free.
The Vegetarian Mixed Veggie Rice with Any 3 Veggies (S$2) is a steal and you can opt for brown rice for just another 50 cents. They sell one other dish, the Vegetarian Noodles (S$1) but that is just plain bee hoon or kway tiao. Add Curry Veggie or any 3 veggies to it and the prices doubles to the still-meagre S$2. Definitely worth trying out.
17 Upper Boon Keng Rd, Upper Boon Keng Market & Food Centre, #01-63 Singapore 380017
+65 9871 5336
Thu to Tue: 6am – 2pm
Closed on Wed
5. S$2 bak kut teh at Xian Jin Mixed Vegetable Rice
There are cheap hawker dishes and then there is Xian JIn Mixed Vegetable Rice, a stall where everything costs just S$2. Here are just a few of the choices you have: Seafood Soup, Tofu Minced Meat Soup, Sliced Fish Soup, Century Egg Minced Meat Porridge, Sliced Pork Porridge and Bak Kut Teh.
Better still, add yellow noodles or a variety of sides such as You Tiao, Pig’s Skin, Peanuts and Tau Pok for just S$0.50. Rice costs just an additional S$0.30. My pick is their Bak Kut Teh (S$2). The portion was sufficient for a quick meal and they did not skimp on flavour at all.
Blk 216 Bedok North Street 1, Bedok Food Centre And Market, #01-02
Daily: 7am – 4pm
6. S$2.50 white carrot cake at Hong Heng Fried Carrot Cake
The confusingly-named hawker classic carrot cake (or chai tow kway) is one of my favourite afterhours mainstays. Hong Heng Fried Carrot Cake does a wonderful White Carrot Cake (S$2.50/S$3) which I find distinctly better than their dark version.
Each cake piece tends to be a bit on the softer side, which I personally prefer, too. I usually ask for mine to be a little less oily and the generous helping of fresh onions heaped on top adds a nice zing to the flavours. Oh, yes, and it has the most tantalising fragrance, too!
Blk 216 Bedok North Street 1, #01-71, Singapore 460216
Daily: 10am – 2pm
7. S$1.20 fried bee hoon at Zhu Jiao Shu Shi
Operating for close to 40 years in 2022, Zhu Jiao Shu Shi has 3 hawker dishes at less than S$2.50. No, not using the sneaky S$2.99 way but as low as S$1! However, the best of the 3 super-economy choices is the Fried Bee Hoon (S$1.20).
I enjoyed my stringy noodles with the optional sweet chee cheong fun sauce but was amazed at the large serving size for S$1.20. You can have a veritable feast for just over S$3 with the addition of Chee Cheong Fun (S$1) and Scallop Porridge (S$1). Mind officially blown.
665 Buffalo Road, Tekka Centre, #01-284, Singapore 210665
Daily: 7am – 3pm
8. S$2.50 kway chap at Feng Ji Kway Chap
How many things can you name whose prices haven’t changed in over 10 years? Here’s one: the Kway Chap (S$2.50) at Feng Ji Kway Chap at Jalan Batu Hawker Centre. Apparently, the serving size has not changed in all that time, either, but it’s not something I can verify because I only discovered it recently.
What I can confirm is that each serve comes with a handful of pork belly slices, small bits of pig’s intestines, tau pok and an egg. All this is accompanied by the mouth-watering (literally, for me!) aroma of garlic and coriander to whet your appetite.
Blk 4A Jalan Batu, Jalan Batu Hawker Centre, #01-20, Singapore 432004
Sat to Thu: 6.30am – 11am
Closed on Fri
9. S$2.50 vegetarian bee hoon at An An Vegetarian Food
Despite clocking up just 2 months of business (as of August 2022), An An Vegetarian Food is a bit of a legend in my eyes because they have a number of items on their menu priced at or below S$2.50. My pick of the lot is the Vegetarian Bee Hoon (S$2.50). They also have S$2 breakfast packs like nasi lemak that vary every day and are not on the stall’s signboard.
My portion of bee hoon was huge and the mock pork meat was surprisingly accurate in flavour. Want a bit of kick with your super-cheap meal? Both the red and green chilli gravy pack a mean bite.
17 Upper Boon Keng Rd, Upper Boon Keng Market & Food Centre, #01-39
Daily: 5am – 1.30pm
10. S$1.50 masala dosa at Sri Tiffin Stall
It shocks me how difficult it has become to find the humble dosa at an affordable price. One of the few places in Singapore that bucks that trend is Sri Tiffin Stall in Tekka Centre, near the heart of Little India. My favourite discovery here is their Masala Dosa (S$1.50).
Mind you, this isn’t a simple dosa but a masala dosa with stuffing. The low price is not a compromise on quality, though. The simple restaurant instead focuses on making very delicious potato stuffing with the standard tomato chutney and sambar accompaniments. Speedy service is the cherry on top.
665 Buffalo Road, Tekka Centre, #01-224, Singapore 210665
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