Multiplier season is over (for now), but this is how you can cut costs and save on food, with 20 stalls serving up meals below $4 bucks within the CBD. And no, this will actually be substantial meals, so fret not about us fobbing you off with “curry puff for $1.20” meals. Some of these 20 stalls are long time XINDOTS merchants, some not. Finally, as we all know, you get what you pay for, so don’t proceed with reading this list if you’re expecting elaborate flame-torched, ebiko sprinkled, deconstructed molecular delicacies.
Call it whatever you will—intern-friendly, wallet-friendly, budget-conscious meals. Or great CBD hawker finds or even a steal of a meal, a rose by another name is still a rose, cheap hawker food is cheap hawker food. Here’s a list of 20 great stalls serving up meals below $4.
Cheap enough not?
*Stalls you can find on XINDOTS; in-app reviews generated by users included!
** Note that most of these prices are takeaway prices that may include packaging and utensils, dine-in prices may be cheaper
Fried Kway Teow, Amoy Street Food Centre, #01-01
Formerly a pushcart on Boon Tat Street before the clearing of street-food peddlers, uncle has found a permanent spot at Amoy Street Food Centre. He has managed to maintain wok hey all these years, and retain his clientele. Cue #01-01 eponymous Fried Kway Teow store with a huge blue signage you cannot miss and only one dish is served, that is, plates of oil-slathered kway teow ($3). It’s a simple stall, but one that sees monstrous queues from coming back. Peak hours (11.30 am till 1.45 pm).
Hock Gooi Curry Rice, Market Street Interim Hawker Centre
I LOVE a good Hainan pork chop, preferably one that doesn’t have overly hard batter bits only to break apart to stale meat. This one at Market Street ($2.80) with the most succulent juicy chops motivates me to come in to the CBD. I would say the signage is nodescript, but this stall also always has long queues. Here, meat is less battered up, has a good bite, springy and well marinated. Owners drizzle just about enough curry sauce on rice—that in its own right, is incredibly fragrant and just the right degree of spiciness—so the meat doesn’t get drenched and lose its own flavour. I love to add a side of lady’s finger which brings the grand total to…($3.50).
New Hong Kong Congee*, Amoy Street Food Centre, #01-04
Although not quite sure who gets full on porridge, New HK Congee is worth a try. They have many budget-friendly options with prices kept below ($5.20) and that is the cost of congee with fresh prawns. The minced meat one ($3.70) is a steal, is silky, savoury and comes with a tokenistic serving of you tiao and a dose of scallions.
Zipp Burger*, Amoy Street Food Centre, #02-120
Zipp burger is known for their Macdonalds-esque burger, I’m serious, you should try it, it almost feels like Maccas, except with softer bun, more solid patty and in a smaller serving. But the wallet-friendly alternative is the pasta they offer, which comes in two bases—plain Aglio Olio or tomato sauce. It’s an incredible value for money add ($3.70); but if you’re feeling bit more decadent, there are add-ons, one that we recommend is the smoked duck option (+$2), or simply keep it simple with broccoli ($0.50).
Traditional Vegetarian Beehoon*, Amoy Street Food Centre, #01-52
If you love building up your own meal with specific customisation and a cheap base, this traditional set is quite possibly what you might be looking for. All dense, noodles, obligatory cabbage and veg char siew, each set cost only ($2.70). Of course pile up your plate if you wish, with add-ons like curry puffs, spring rolls, luncheon meat and even hash brown, all at a cost of ($1).
Ah Liang Ipoh Hor Fun*, Amoy Street Food Centre, #02-122
On rainy days when I crave for a warm bowl of comfort food, Ah Liang is who I turn to. More specifically, the best-sellingFish Dumplings Hor Fun. They’ve also got a stall in Maxwell (#01-73), making it most convenient for CBD-ers. This hor fun isn’t what you commonly have at at Tze Char stalls. Rather, the broth is thin, herbally, mildly flavoured and only a tad savoury. It’s also slightly tangy from the vinegar, keeping it light and fresh. Best thing would probably be the three veritably meaty fish dumplings that are packed separately in a brown bag to go. They are always, always incredibly crisp to the bite, fluffy and generously packed with fish.
Of course, Ah Liang’s offerings doesn’t stop at one dish. In fact they’ve got an impressive menu of ten hor fun variations to choose from. If fish is not your thing, and if you’re really looking to stretch your pennies, these are their hor fun dishes you can try we recommend—mushroom, shredded chicken, and fried wanton— all at ($3.50).
L Happy Duck*, Amoy Street Food Centre, #01-06
Duck rice is one meal I wouldn’t mind shoring up for. Sometimes I salivate thinking about flavourful duck rice, wet, slightly mushy, slathered with savoury sauce. There’s the soft black beans too, but that’s a plus. At L Happy Duck ($3.70), I left a reasonably happy customer with my duck rice; whilst my colleague had the duck porridge, also ($3.70). Owners were pretty generous with accommodating with my special requests done through XINDOTS (boneless, thigh meat!). Only thing is that they don’t offer add-ons, and for one, I found portions to be a bit small; and to be frank, the meat tasted slightly gamier than I am used to. Definitely add chili to give your meal a good oomph.
Not a rice kind of person? Then we suggest you hit up their Hokkien duck noodles or the kway teow options; either will set you back by ($3.70). I find this price point incredibly affordable, because what ($4) for a healthy (debatable) dose of cards and a side of meat is more than you can ask for; and as rent rockets, will be a rarity in the future.
Hoo Kee Bak Chang*, Amoy Street Food Centre, #01-18
Look, its bazhang season now, and if you hop off to Taka to get your fix, I guarantee you that it’ll be at least ($4.50). That’s 50 per cent higher than what you’d pay for at Hoo Kee. For ($3) here, you get a small, compact dumpling for a meal, although it does skew a bit salty, and those with big appetites may grouse about the portions. However, think about the ($1.50) you’d save!
Wen Xiu Ji*, Amoy Street Food Centre, #01-31
Serving up a variety of noodles, the curry chicken noodles ($4) at WXJ is most definitely spicier than at other places. Expect it to be thicker, fuller-bodied and well-seasoned, with additional chili padi in the recipe. It’s like an elevated version of Hock Gooi curry, and actually spicy. Best comfort food for raining days. Well, we’re blessed because other noodles dishes, like the dumpling .noodles, chicken feet noodles and the soya sauce chicken hor fun are all ($4) each.
Nora’s Kitchen*, Amoy Street Food Centre, #02-91
Perhaps try to get this in with Nora for brunch? They do have a short selection of three dishes—Lontong ($3.20); Mee Siam ($3.20) and Nasi Lemak Chicken ($3.70), all of which are only available from 7 am until 11 am from Monday through to Friday. They should be solid choices, considering Nora’s lunch meals and her curried meats are all well-spiced, generously seasoned and fork tender.
Shah Alam Original Indian and Malay*, Amoy Street Food Centre, #01-69
It seems a tad interesting, that non-Chinese build-your-own meals are incredible value-for-money compared to their Chinese counterparts. Think of all the times you go back to your jing ji fan uncle, ordered the same thing, and get charged different prices depending on his mood. It’s like the lawless Wild West in the realm of food ordering there. Thank God then that Shah Alam’s prices are transparent, so for ($3.50), you get your fix of either Bee Hoon Goreng, Nasi Goreng or Kway Teow Goreng.
Further, XINDOTS takes away most of the trouble by streamlining prices, so you literally only pay for what you’ll get.
Tiong Bahru Wanton Mee*, Market Street Interim Hawker Centre, #01-23
From shuttered Golden Shoe to Market Interrim, TB wanton mee ($3.70) has its fair share of fans. Go by 11.45am and the store will be swamped. Alternatively just skip the queue by ordering directly from our app without surcharge. They’ve also been a long-time XINDOTS merchant, and one of the busiest stalls in Market Street, which says a lot frankly.They’ve also been a long-time XINDOTS merchant, and one of the busiest stalls in Market Street, which says a lot frankly.Part of the reason why TB has steadfast fans is because of its steadfast adherence to quality—pillowy skin wanton, stuffed with a juicy mix of chestnut, prawns and meat. However, some of us may find the kee a bit too strong, but the tangy spicy chili more than maketh the meal. Apart from wanton mee, they offer Chicken Feet noodle and the shredded chicken noodle, both at ($3.70).
Market Street Nasi Lemak*, Market Street Interim Hawker Centre, #01-24
Another shop that helps you stretch your pennies, Market Street Nasi Lemak does simple no-frills sets, three in total, all of which are almost as humble as its name. Set 1’s Nasi Lemak comes with a drumstick; 2 with a wing; 3’s a fish ($3). Of course served with the requisite combination of sambal, anchovies and peanut as well as a small otah and ikan. I love Halal choices and I think there should be more of that.
Golden Nur Crispy*, Market Street Interim Hawker Centre, #01-03
Known for their fried chicken, brick-red batter bits and fragrant lemak rice (all from $5), few know that Golden Nur does economical eats too, that go for scarcely ($3.50). Mee gorengs, kwayteow gorengs and bee hoon gorengs are all priced moderately at ($3.50), and portions will satiate even the hungriest of stomachs.Here, business, queue and service is curt, but well-oiled, brisk and functioning. Don’t linger around after you order, and don’t be chatty. Sometimes too, they sell prata (below $3) but ask, because that sells out by 11.30 am. They may do it again later in the afternoon, but best enquire timings.
Maxwell Zhenwei*, Maxwell Food Centre, #01-49
If you’re doing the whole low-carb/ carb-free diet, you can stick a tight budget for sure at Maxwell Zhenwei. The BBQ saba fish ala carte, moderately priced for a touristy hotspot will set you back ($4). Heck, ($4) for saba fish is cheap, for CBD or anywhere else. If you can spare the ($0.50), other filling the BBQ chicken or pork dons or the seafood fried rice (all $4.50). Which is still decent, and close to our ($4) self-imposed restriction.
Hong Xiang Hainanese Chicken Rice*, Maxwell Food Centre, #01-52
Raring for a good poached chicken, some oily rice, ginger chili paste and the food coma that sets in almost immediately? Then go get some for ($4) at Hong Xiang Hainanese Chicken rice. This price point gives you two options—soya sauce chicken rice or Hainanese chicken rice.
Ahamed, Market Street Interim Hawker Centre, #01-32
The everything for ($3.50) stall – need I say more? Mee goreng, Mee hoon goreng, kwayteow goreng.
Chee Chong Fun Club, Maxwell Food Centre, #01-38
To be honest, this is one rad shop, almost a fusion of sorts. For carbs, you get plain, anything-goes cheong fun skin, a flat rice noodle roll. At CCF club, the mixed sauce cheong fun ($3.80) is a combination of sweet, nutty and tangy. However, we also recommend the laksa CF, with gravy that is fully legit, and what you’re essentially paying for a bowl of cheong fun soaked with thick, fragrant, spicy coconut cream, and topped with tau kee, egg and fish cake. If you’re not a laksa fan, it can get a bit much, but if you are, then no harm switching up your choice of poison now and then. Although this cost a grand total of ($4.30).
I think it’s a pretty novel idea and thus, almost qualifies as a hipster hawker food.
All photos taken and owned by XINDOTS.