Cheap food at Singapore’s school zone
Once the it place for shopping and entertainment, Beauty World is now better known for the large collection of schools around the Bukit Timah/ Clementi area. Which means droves of hungry students once again roam the area for cheap and good eats.
We’ve got you covered though. Just because you’re an unemployed student on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t spend an afternoon indulging in gastronomic pleasures. We scoured one of Singapore’s supposed ‘rich people’s neighbourhoods’ and found some surprisingly affordable hipster food places for your next food trail, all within walking distance from Beauty World MRT!
1. Hambaobao: The Ultimate Hipster Burger Joint
Previously featured in an article on a new generation of hawker food stalls, Hambaobao is one burger joint that stays true to the definition of hipster – of high cultural (or in this case, culinary) esteem yet remaining highly economic in cost – we just had to revisit it. Whether it’s Classic Beef, Spiced Pulled Pork, Thai Dory Fish or Ayam Buah Kelak ($5 each with an additional side of Fairy Fries for $1), the culinary skill at Hambaobao easily rivals most cafés that sell gourmet burgers at least twice its price.
Spiced pulled pork burger
Caution: business is so good that customers may have to wait up to 50 minutes just to get their burgers even after lunch hours. Be sure to make payment and collect a queue number token upon placing your order so you don’t end up waiting for nothing!
Address: Beauty World Food Centre, Blk 144 Upper Bukit Timah #04-49, Singapore 588177
Opening Hours: 12 - 8pm on Wednesday to Sunday, Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Update on 6 February 2017: Hambaobao has ceased operations w.e.f. 5 February 2017 :(
2. Buta Kin: Ramen For The Ravenous
For those who just can’t seem to get enough of ramen but find it an expensive comfort meal to have, your prayers have been answered. Probably one of the most affordable legit ramen places in Singapore, Buta Kin relatively new, but promises to satisfy your senses with a hearty bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen.
Typically, I’d be skeptical about a bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen from a hawker centre sold at $5 per bowl. But Buta Kin proved me wrong with its slightly fatty pieces of char siew that are charred to perfection before being placed in a bowl of thick slurp-able noodles and milky broth that isn’t too thick nor salty.
Address: Beauty World Centre, Blk 144 Upper Bukit Timah #04-41, Singapore 588177
Opening Hours: 11am - 9pm on Tuesday to Sunday, Closed on Monday
3. Ice Talk Xpress: For a legit Throwback Thursday
Remember the good ol’ days before bubble tea giants like Koi and Gongcha came to Singapore? Every sip of Ice Talk Xpress’ Oreo Ice Blend Series ($2.50 onwards) is sure to drip with nostalgia, reminding you of the times you used to patronize neighborhood bubble tea joints right after school. If you’re one to prefer traditional milk tea with pearls, Ice Talk Xpress offers a silky smooth cup at just $1.70!
We recommend you get an ice cold drink to cool off as you make your way to the next destination that requires hiking up a slope – but trust me, it’ll be worth braving the heat.
Address: Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, 170 Upper Bukit Timah #B1-43, Singapore 588179
Opening Hours: 12-7.30pm daily
4. Revelry Café: Forget The Mainstream
If your definition of hipster is anything un-mainstream, then Revelry’s the café you should hit up on your next visit to Beauty World.
The O.K. in their O.K. Waffle ($16) stands for Otah and Kailan, but it tastes way better than just O.K. I’ve seen several places substitute burger buns with waffles before, but this unique blend that is at once savory and sweet, soft and crispy, takes hipster food to a whole new level. The stringy mozzarella cheese brings the cacophony of flavours together so remarkably it dispelled all my initial doubts: weird sounding fusion combinations can taste great when done right.
If you thought bubble tea served in light bulb casing or chopping boards used as plates was as hipster as cutlery can get, think again. At Revelry, Tiramisu To-Go ($7.50) comes in a flower pot that you can bring home with you! Aside from the novelty of using an unconventional bowl, this Tiramisu is made of Lady’s Finger biscuits instead of cake, and is infused with both rum and coffee wine. Velvety and fluffy, each scoop glides down your throat as smoothly as a kid on a waterslide.
Address: 21 Lor Kilat Singapore 598123
Opening Hours: 11am - 10pm on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11am - 11pm on Friday and Saturday, Closed on Tuesday
5. Ng Kim Lee Confectionary: Old School Mini Muffins
Here’s one last stop for takeaways before you head home. Right in front of Beauty World MRT’s Exit B, you’ll find one of the area’s longest surviving shop houses.
Opened 62 years ago, this traditional confectionary sells bite-size muffins with 10 flavours to choose from. Bring these tiny treats home to share with your family at just $0.50 a piece! Don’t be fooled by its size, its old school no-frills buttery taste has the remarkable ability to bring back your fondest childhood memories.
Besides, its 1960’s façade makes for an extremely hipster photo.
Address: 4 Chun Tin Road Singapore 599591
Opening Hours: 9.30am-9.30pm on Monday to Saturday, 9.30am-1pm on Sunday
To The Hipster In You
If you’re tired of eating the same thing from mainstream food chains over and over again, fear not. Not all good food has to be served in conventional ways, and sometimes, the most unlikely combinations make for the most delectable dishes! On the other hand, don’t discount the fact that the old (school) can sometimes be better than the modern as well.