If you like Asian food then Singapore is the place for you. Now that might sound obvious but there’s more to that statement than you expect. Modern Singapore is populated with Chinese, Malaysians and Indians so there is no shortage of choice. Better than that, if you stick to these choices, the food is very cheap by Australian standards, if you eat outside your hotel and in some of Singapore’s street and shopping locations. Before I tell you about our choices, also keep in mind that if you choose western food, especially in restaurant, expect to pay lots, for an experience that is no different to the ones you can get a home. We ate in shopping centres, food markets and MRT stations as well as western restaurants, and the latter was the only disappointing meal we had.
Food republic – Bras Basah Rd
We ate here the night we arrived in SG. It wasn’t early, thanks to our planes arriving after dark and it was a Sunday. In downtown Perth that’s a recipe for going hungry. But we had a good choice of options, including pork buns for The Piper, and a delicious cordial style cold drinks. Choices for food range from curries to bento boxes, noodles, rice and even roast meat halal suitable. The best thing about eating here straight away, was that we were mixing in an everyday eating place with locals. For three, with drinks, and more than enough food we spent less than $SG20 (and the exchange rate was $SG1 for $AU1).Marina Square
I went to this shopping centre back in 2011 so I was happy to find it again without any hassle this trip. I took the boys here so The Piper could try the Ice Kachang. Its an interesting combination that The Piper thinks looks better than it tastes. In the bottom of the bowl are red beans and jelly cubes. After adding the ice, freshly shaved from a block mounted like meat in a kebab shop, the ice is coloured before a large swirl of condensed milk is pour over it all. The delight is then topped with a chunky mango syrup and finished off with sweet corn! When I had one back in 2011 I managed to eat more than The Piper did. Most of his went in the bin but never mind. The food (beef rendang) and the view of Marina Bay and the Flyer more than made up for a failed dessert.
After work we headed here for a late-ish dinner with a very hungry Piper. He’s not himself when he’s hungry so it wasn’t great fun finding a spot to eat, but we eventually found some decent fish and chips and burgers. The whole place has a really bright, vibrant and fresh appeal , with lots of good choices. This isn’t a traditional food place; it’s more like a trendy, outdoor series of car-free food malls. The spot we choose was on high stools, around a smallish table and we had the 2 for 1 burgers, 2 for 1 beers and the fish and chips. Nothing that special but certainly good enough, especially with the beers. At the time of paying the bill we were alerted to the fact the 2 for one was over before we arrived, but to their credit they honoured it and the bill total was just over $SG60. I am sure I paid less, for bigger beers, last time I was here …
The boys choose this one and we met up here after I finished work one evening. The service and food were fine, no different to being at home, but the price was a shock, despite seeing the menu and prices as we ordered. Perhaps the shock came from having had a few lovely, cheap meals in SG prior to this one. We did have 4 normal size Tiger beers (at $SG10.50 each), dinner and dessert, as well as garlic bread, but the 17% taxes that get slugged on top boosted the dinner cost to over $SG160. As The Newby said at the time, we don’t pay that on date night at home.
Newton food court
The boys found this on the night we ate pizza but saved it for an evening we could really enjoy it. After a day at USS we headed here with empty bellies and filled them full of cheap beers ($SG4.50 for the tall Tiger bottles) and good food. I put The Newby in charge and he ordered almost one of everything. We shared a lot of satay sticks, followed by rice, curry and lemon chicken, with a dozen gyoza and mei goreng noodles. Everything was great, although I forget to mention no chilli on the mei goreng for The Piper. In toal, with 4 BIG beers and a fresh coconut, the cost was under $SG50 and the atmosphere was almost festive. A word of warning: watch out for the beggars, especially if you have kind kids. They aren’t at all aggressive or overwhelming, but their sad stories are enough to bring big boys to tears. This is a real SG experience that is worth the effort of getting there on the MRT and the stairs over the road.
Vivo City basement food court
We found this by accident on our last day, when we were soaking wet and disappointed with both the weather and having to go home. The food court was absolutely packed but we all found food that we enjoyed including dumplings and chicken cutlet with rice for The Piper, a pepper beef set for The Newby served in cute metal colander and a sizzling beef set for me. The choices are overwhelming but we all enjoyed what we had, without breaking the bank. It certainly beat Maccas, which The Piper was considering, although not seriously.
On two occasions we ate in the MRT station at Dhoby Ghaut. The first time we had the chicken curry from a chain that we saw in other places. The Newby choose it for the promise of chicken curry in a bread bowl. Unfortunately, the curry and the (very small) bread roll came separately and The Newby was left very disappointed with his lunch. I ordered the non-bread option and wasn’t any more impressed, thanks to bones in the chicken! Meantime The Piper enjoyed his pork bun and honey soy chicken.
The second time we ate in SG’s underground world, we choose a small series out kitchens and each had something different. The Piper wolfed down chicken cutlet and rice, while The Newby and I had something that was not memorable but likely good, compared to our regular sandwich at home. I do remember commenting that chicken and rice for $2.50 is a lunch time bargain and no wonder so many people eat out. The reason for all this waffle is to give you the tip that even if a number of different food choices appear to be from one outlet, it is very possible that a number of vendors are squeezed in together with their own kitchens and cash registers. Don’t worry if you don’t realise. They’ll quickly set you straight!!
Just outside Universal Studios The Piper convinced me to allow him to try the nitro lollies. As you can see, the result is a frosty mouthful of a banana flavored lolly that creates a brain freeze of the most crazy type. Only in Singapore …