I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret of mine; I, Felicia Koh, am an awkward soul. A person who seeks solitude—a person who tends to shun away from the crowd.
On the surface, I might seem like a bubbly and out-going person. But deep down inside, I severely hope that no one will notice me—hope that no one will talk to me just so I can avoid any chances of having to involve myself in long awkward conversations.
I enjoy being alone (yes, even after marriage) and that’s probably why I relish moments when I have all the time to myself especially when it comes to dining. It’s often the best part of the day for self-love, to slow down my pace of eating and to fully enjoy every taste and texture of the dish in front of me.
Like me, if you are a serial masturdater or just want some time out without having to engage, here are 10 places in Singapore to dine alone and not be bothered by all the social pressures, of, well, socialising.
Sushi has always been my vice; a must-have meal at least once every week. And what better way is there to indulge in endless plates of raw fish at an affordable price than a conveyor belt sushi restaurant?
Here at Sushiro, feel free to gorge yourself on over 100 varieties of sushi and side dishes (from S$2.20). The 162-seater restaurant is so spacious with seats evenly spread out so you won’t have to be bothered by darting glances from a neighbouring diner.
After being escorted to your seat, you will be left alone to explore and dine to your heart’s content without any other human interaction as the eatery has a two conveyor belt system that keeps food constantly trailing across your booth.
Can’t seem to find your favourite items? Simply order them from the tablet and they will be delivered right in front of you—conveyor belt-style.
While I was in Korea, having barbecue alone was practically a norm. Restaurants might not promote solo dining but they often gladly accept single diners who seek to indulge in the comforts of greasy barbecue meats.
With the opening of Yakiniku Like, we can now feast on single-serving plates of meat here in Singapore without having to worry about leftovers.
Smack in the centre of the restaurant is the ‘Island of Solitude’ that houses 16 individual electric smokeless grills allowing customers to feel almost at home while dining. Prices of the set meals here are also greatly affordable starting from S$7.80 for your choice of meat, rice, seaweed soup and a selection between kimchi or salad.
Despite being served, there is no service charge or GST. Prices are nett, so feel free to order more if a single serving is not enough to satisfy!
Judging by HaiDilLao’s popularity in our sunny island, we can already determine that most Singaporeans enjoy their fair share of hotpot, especially on rainy days. The problem is, hotpot is not a typical meal which lone diners opt for considering its portion and price point.
Steamov (食尚捞) however, is an exception. The establishment has a seating capacity of up to 200 pax with both table and counter seats so you won’t have to worry about being seated in an awkward spot of the restaurant.
Taking ‘spoilt for choice’ to a whole new level, Steamov serves over 100 ingredients, 10 soup bases, and more than 20 drinks. Diners each get an individual pot of soup and the ingredients are all obtained from the moving conveyor belt.
Basic ingredients such as Hotdogs, Crabsticks and Fishballs go for $1 each, whilst premium ingredients are mostly $3 each. Their shabu shabu meat plates range from S$8 to S$10 with options like Chicken Rolls, Beef and Mutton; definitely a deal, if you ask me.
4. Pasta Bar
The Pasta Bar’s open concept kitchen and 18-seater bar makes for an ideal spot for lone diners to sit by the high counter and watch a scene from Chef’s Table come to life.
Located in the neighbourhood of Keong Saik Road, this hole in the wall restaurant serves up plates of handmade pasta that are set to impress.
Adventurous foodies should give their Reginette (S$30) a try. Not only is this flat wavy pasta filled with earthy flavours from the use of wild mushrooms and pine nuts, but it also contains rabbit meat which is juicy and tender. Here, they also serve a stunning plate of Veal Tongue (S$24++). The cut is succulent and has a slight char on its crust, adding a tinge of smoky flavour to the deep gamey meat.
With its semi-dark ambience lighting and Italian classics playing in the background, the Pasta Bar is no doubt a great place to savour some quality alone time over a plate of pasta and a glass of wine.
Hawker centres make for a perfect surrounding for lone beings to blend into the crowd and have a quick meal. But sometimes, the environment does get a little too crowded and noisy for comfort.
How about savouring a plate of Teochew kueh away from the hustle and bustle of your neighbourhood? If you have read our previous review on One Kueh At A Time, you will know that this is exactly the place I am referring to.
One Kueh At A Time might not be designed for solo troopers but the location surely is. If you have leave days to clear, pack a book and head to this quaint cafe on a weekday; I highly doubt that there will be other patrons to bother you.
And yes, the food here is good too. Just remember to call the cafe beforehand and make sure they are open before you make your way over!
6. Sora Boru
Being a self-service eatery, Sora Boru allows you to order your food via a touch screen machine minimising human interaction. After collecting your food, condiments and utensil located near the self-order station, feel free to park yourself at a seat by the tiled island centre.
This halal Japanese fast food eatery not only allows you to customise your very own bowl of Chirashi Don (Mini: S$6.50, Regular: S$11.90, Large: S$16.90), meat lovers can also indulge in beef dons that are sure to delight.
Whilst the Snow Beef Don (Small: S$7.50/Regular: S$11.90) is a mountainous bowl of fluffy Japanese rice topped with tender flame-grilled beef slices, drenched in grated parmesan and a sweet-savoury sauce made of whipping cream, the Volcano Beef Don (Small: S$7.50/ Regular: S$11.90) is of a contrasting flavour doused in spicy sauce for all you heat-loving Singaporeans out there.
You might laugh and think of this entry as a joke, but I sincerely feel that Chef-in-Box Vendcafé at Sengkang is a lone diner’s wallet-friendly paradise.
I mean, who is there to judge you when you are at a void deck, getting food from a vending machine and eating by a standing table? You might get some stares from primary school kids who are heading home after school, and that’s probably it.
Chef-in-Box Vendcafé has two food machines dispensing up to 19 dishes, with Western and Local cuisine choices inclusive of healthier options. Cutleries are also provided along with a napkin packed into a nifty box dispensed together with your meal from the vending machine.
Besides proper meals, they also offer a variety of dried food, snacks, sandwiches, canned fruits, and bottled drinks to satiate all sorts of hunger pangs.
Hotpot and barbecue aside, dim sum is another meal that is often difficult to enjoy when dining alone due to the way these delicious little parcels are served. Most dishes come in baskets or plates of threes or fours making it difficult to savour a variety of options especially when you are alone.
MASA By Black Society, however, has a Dimsum Tasting Platter (S$16.80) that will allow lone diners to try an array of their signature items without having to worry about wastage.
The plate is an exquisite assembly of bite-size treats showcasing the restaurant’s diverse culinary skills with deep-fried, steamed, and baked items intricately arranged for diners to enjoy.
If that alone is unable to satiate your hunger, the addition of their Hong Kong Boatman Porridge (S$7.80) will do the job. Trust me, you will leave the place belly filled and ready to embark on your shopping expedition.
9. Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodles
Most Japanese noodle eateries are usually solo dining-friendly and one of my favourite spots is hands-down Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodles.
Hailing from Tokyo’s Sugamo, this Michelin-starred ramen joint has plenty of counter seats for those who prefer to dine alone to choose from. Here, you can witness experienced Japanese chefs skillfully whip up bowls of ramen while you slurp on their smooth noodles and get drunk in their flavourful broth.
First-timers to the chain should give their Shoyu Soba (S$15) a try. Custom-brewed from soybeans in the Wakayama prefecture, its shoyu sauce has a complex flavour which is both earthy and savoury. The taste is enhanced by a dollop of black truffle purée on top that perfumes the ramen nicely without taking away the taste of the other ingredients.
10. The Better Half
Sometimes we, lone wolves, just want a place to rest, relax and relish in a sweet treat. Nestled in a tiny unit under the sprawling Everton Park HDB blocks, The Better Half is a small and cosy cafe made to cater to individual patrons.
The cafe’s warm yellow lighting combined with the soft music playing in the background will make you feel at home the moment you settle down. What’s even better are the rustic and hearty cakes displayed on the counter.
I highly recommend their Pistachio Lemon (S$8) tea cake for those who like that jolt of acidity and the Rose Raspberry Cake (S$8) for lovers of all things sweet, fruity and fragrant at the same time.
Now, who says dining solo is an intimidating task? The stigma surrounding this concept may still exist and you will definitely get stares from neighbouring diners once in a while. But who really cares? Without the need to compromise on what to eat or having to sustain tiresome conversations. I’d say, eating alone is so much better.