We’re constantly hearing rants about how expensive it is to survive in Singapore – much less enjoy a good meal out.
But here’s solid proof that it’s still possible for two people to get a three-course dinner at a mid-range to upscale restaurant for less than S$50 nett each.
Here are 10 amazing Asian restaurants to dine out on the cheap (or check out the budget Western restaurants we found, too!).
Start with the dim sum platter ($10), consisting of 4 types of dim sum: Steamed Shrimp Dumpling with mushroom, Crispy Flaky Pastry with black pepper beef, Steamed Scallop Dumpling with Crabmeat and Shrimp, Baked Flaky Pastry with smoked ham.
Also try the Jasmine Tea Smoked Chicken (S$14). The dish is served at the table under a glass dome filled with the aroma of smoked jasmine tea. The chicken pieces are tender, and there is a slight sweetness from the jasmine tea.
Finish the meal with a serving of Hong Kong noodles with barbecued pork belly (S$18) that is fired in a Mesquite wood-fired oven.
Level 2 Four Seasons Hotel, 190 Orchard Blvd, Singapore 248646
It’s at Marina Bay Sands, it’s opened by celebrity chef David Thompson, so who would’ve thought you could get a dinner for two at Long Chim under S$100? This fancy Thai restaurant, however, has always been about robust flavours and sharing plates, with luxe decor to boot.
The Chiang Mai curried noodles soup (S$27) is bursting with fragrance from the piquant spice base, topped with tender chicken, and a heaping garnish of herbs, pickles, and crispy egg noodles. For those with delicate tastebuds, their glass noodles are a safer bet (S$26), stir fried with cured pork and lightly charred squid, and infused with wok hei.
#02-02, Atrium 2 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018955
This modern Chinese tapas bar serves things such as crispy salmon skin (S$12) coated with salted egg and a touch of lime zest for acidity, alongside more traditional dishes such as a mui choy pork belly (S$24), as homely as a Grandma’s classic.
To share as a good main dish is the Singapore fried rice (S$24) where the “secret” ingredient is the addition of curry powder to the mix of prawns and char siew.
It’s a heavier meal than it sounds, so to end off, you could get a simple chilled lemongrass jelly with mixed fruits (S$6) as a light dessert to refresh your palate before you leave.
25 Boon Tat St, Singapore 069622
Can’t decide between steamboat or cooked dishes? Have both here. For lunch, there’s a spicy stir-fry pot meal ($16), which is a mix of meat, seafood, tofu and vegetables that is large enough for two people. For dinner, try a Japanesestyle, chef-selected omakase experience that starts at just $46.
25 Keong Saik Rd, Singapore 089132
Mitzo’s signature barbecued pork (S$18) is a must-try: the pork belly is tender, unctuous goodness that’s a touch fattier than your typical char siew, and crusted with torched, caramelised sugar which adds smokiness and a lovely crunch for contrast.
Also good to share for two: the dim sum platter (S$28), consisting of 3 pairs of steamed dumplings: siew mai with baby abalone, chicken and shrimp osmanthus dumpling, and har gow. Their stir fried udon (S$22) is a the hearty serving with a sizeable portion of roast duck and is suffused with wok hei.
Level 4 Grand Park, 270 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238857
A tapas and a main are enough to fill you up, and to that end, we recommend the soft shell crab sliders (S$10 for two), with a crispy enough tempura batter and a lime chilli sauce that gives the deep-fried treat some much needed lift.
For S$15, you can pick from a selection of pho or rice bowls, but go for for the signature grilled lemongrass pork with vermicelli, which is smoky and juicy.
51 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 048441
Start your meal with its Double Boiled Soup with wonton dumplings and dried scallops in superior broth (S$18), which is light with an intense umami flavour. The dumplings – filled with minced pork and blended with malt whisky – are flawlessly executed but may taste alien to more purist tastes. Enjoy them with a side of Scallion La mian (S$8) – al dente with a very tasty sauce.
For more variety, you could also try the Tofu with Century Egg and Crabmeat (S$14) and Salted Egg Custard Bun (S$8).
6D Dempsey Rd, Singapore 247664
While Uma Uma Ramen at Forum The Shopping Mall serves mostly ramen, its second outlet at Millenia Walk comes with an expanded menu, one that also includes yakitori and kukshikatsu or deep fried breaded skewers.
With prices for the ramen from S$14 to S$16, and the skewers from S$2, you can eat a lot and not bust the budget. From the ramen selection, go for the Mazesoba (S$14), a dry-style ramen with bamboo shoots, leeks, chilli oil and an onsen egg. For the grilled section, we like the pork belly, the chicken thigh and the nankotsu or chicken softbone, which are all priced at S$2 per skewer.
#01-41/42/43, Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238884
Having a meal at Sentosa doesn’t always have to be a costly affair, especially if you do it family-style at Chinese restaurant Blue Lotus.
The ever-popular Sweet & Sour Pork (S$30) features pork belly double-fried and served with lychees, onions, and peppers. The Sizzling Garlic Butter King Prawns (S$34) are a good option too, since they are sweet and cooked to a crunchy texture. To complete the meal, get a bowl of Steamed Brown Rice (S$2) to go along with your dishes, and you’re good to go.
#01-13 Quayside Isle, 31 Ocean Way, Singapore 098375
With its dark walls and high bar stools, this thoroughly modern Korean restaurant looks nothing like a typical Korean family eatery. Musttries include the crispy Tofu Chips served with a guacamole and a kimchi salsa dip ($14), and the sweet and spicy Dak Kang Jung ($18) – deep-fried chicken tenders with gochujang or red chilli paste, and chopped nuts.
5 Tan Quee Lan St, Singapore 188094
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