Affordable food in Orchard Road
Spending a Saturday out in town could easily mean spending a hefty amount of cash, with food taking up at least half of that. But while Orchard Road usually screams expensive in every way - the shopping already costs us a pretty penny - cheap food does exist there...you just gotta know where to go.
If you’re heading to town for some much-needed retail and food therapy, these underrated hawker stalls will set you back less than $6.60 for full meals. We went on a little adventure to suss out the cheapest and tastiest eateries in town:
1. Selera Cuppage: Salted Fish with Chicken Claypot Rice ($5.50)
A good hearty dish is just the thing to sate the growling storm in our bellies after an afternoon of shopping. While there isn’t much to do at Cuppage Plaza, make sure to head there for Selera Cuppage’s claypot rice, which makes the walk there worth it.
Their signature Salted Fish with Chicken Claypot Rice stands at just $5.50. Served with a combo of cashews, chicken, salted fish and a garnish of spring onions and chillies, this dish had home-cooked written all over it. You can also choose from 3 types of chillis at an additional $0.50.
This halal zi char resto serves variations of claypot rice such as Beef with Mushroom and Seafood Mee for $5.50 too. If you’re not in the mood for claypot, there are up to 34 items on the menu for you to take your pick from, like noodles and fresh seafood cooked with sweet & sour, black pepper or black bean sauce, to name a few.
Address: #01-11, Cuppage Plaza, 5 Koek Road, Singapore 228796
Opening Hours: 12PM-10.30PM, Daily
Telephone: 6235 0520
Far East Plaza
2. New Station Snack Bar: Salted Egg Pork Ribs Rice ($6)
The salted-egg craze doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon, and it might as well be SG’s national dish. If you’re still on this flavour’s bandwagon, New Station Snack Bar’s Salted Egg Pork Ribs Rice ($6) will fill you right up. With just the right amount of sauce, chillies and curry leaves, the dish wasn’t too overpowering either.
Aside from this, this spot serves over 30 zi char favourites like Sweet & Sour Pork Rice ($6) and Seafood Crispy Noodles ($4.80) - which means you have to come back to try them all!
Address: #05-95, Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, Singapore 228213
Opening Hours: 10AM-9PM, Daily
Telephone: 6734 2862
3. Thien Long Vietnamese: Dry Beef Vermicelli ($6)
Beef Noodle Soup. Image credit: Eatbook
No one can really say no to a steamy bowl of pho, which you can get at Orchard Towers for $6 at Thien Long Vietnamese. Slurping this tasty, hot broth of soup does wonders to combat the dreary humidity in the monsoon season, and leaves a warm, cosy feeling when we’ve scraped the bowl clean.
Their Beef Noodle Soup ($6) is everything you’d expect beef pho to be when done just right. Tender beef slices accompany the medley of herbs and broth, which has a strong umami taste.
Vietnamese Dry Beef Vermicelli. Image credit: Eatbook
Those wanting to veer away from the traditional pho can order their Vietnamese Dry Beef Vermicelli ($6) or Vietnamese Dry Pork Chop Vermicelli ($6). Both dishes are packed with flavour and texture, coming with vermicelli noodles, roasted peanuts and various vegetables along with some lean beef slices.
Address: #04-02/08, Orchard Towers, 400 Orchard Road, Singapore 238875
Opening Hours: 11AM-2PM, 6PM-4AM, Daily
4. M73 Food Court: Chai Chee Bak Chor Mee ($4)
This food court proved to be a tough find, because it’s tucked away in a remote corner on B1 of Orchard Towers. Among the 6 stalls here is the famous Chai Chee Bak Chor Mee stall. At $4, you get a full bowl of minced meat noodles with mushrooms, liver, meatballs, and fishballs.
This might look like an ordinary bowl of BCM, but it sure comes with an extra special oomph once you tuck in. Their soup base is made with 18 ingredients, such as old hens, white turnips and luncheon meat, giving the dish a distinct flavour that sets the stall apart from its contemporaries.
Look for the huge Isle Eating House seating area at #B1-25 - there’s a sign - and turn left to find the food court.
Address: B1 (next to #B1-25), Orchard Towers, 400 Orchard Road, Singapore 238875
Opening Hours: 11AM-2PM, 6PM till late.
5. Isle Eating House: Prawn Noodles Soup ($3.80)
Image credit: @foodiefc
Isle Eating House at Orchard Towers is a hubbub of activity everyday - precisely because of their cheap grub starting from just $3.20 onwards.
Known for their Dry Prawn Mee ($3.80), they’ll serve a delicious bowl complete with a generous amount of fishcake and vegetables. If you prefer the soup version, it’s just another $1 more.
This place’s Wanton Mee ($3.50) doesn’t hold back on us - they’ll give you both crispy and soft wantons. The dish is loaded with tons of sauce too, so you don't have to worry about downing dry clumps of noodles.
The trick to this place is to come on the correct day, as they change their menu every day. If you want Prawn Noodles, come on either Tuesdays or Fridays. They've even got Lor Mee on Mondays and Thursdays.
Address: #B1-06/07/25, Orchard Towers, 400 Orchard Road, Singapore 238875
Opening Hours: 7AM-8PM, Daily
Telephone: 6836 3887
6. Jtown Cafe: Bakmie Ayam ($5.90)
Snug between Courts and Orchard Gateway Mall is Midpoint Orchard, a mall that I’ve never noticed even though I’ve surely walked past that stretch trillions of times. There are tons of eateries in this hidden gem, like Jtown Cafe that serves up authentic Indonesian chicken noodles, Bakmie Ayam, for $5.90.
Come anytime between 12-3PM for their set lunch ($6.50) and you can pick 1 of 5 menu items - including the Bakmie Ayam - together with a side of meatballs and an iced green tea. If you’re a busy bee that wants to beat the queue, you can call them to place an advanced order!
Address: #B1-04/05, Midpoint Orchard, 220 Orchard Road, Singapore 238852
Opening Hours: 12PM-9PM, Daily
Telephone: 9230 5040
7. Chargrill Bar: Fried Rice with Crispy Chicken ($5.50)
Chargrill Bar’s Fried Rice with Crispy Chicken ($5.50) has ham and egg bits in it, and one box is enough to fill you up properly. Pescetarians can opt to have their fried rice with crispy fish - minus the ham bits of course - for the same price. Our meal came topped with an ooey-gooey runny egg which brought the dish together perfectly.
If you’re in the mood for some classic Western food, the place also serves tasty burgers for $5.90, and all come with a side of fries.
Address: #B1-11, Midpoint Orchard, 220 Orchard Road, Singapore 238852
Opening Hours: 10.30AM-9PM, Daily
8. Shenxi Lao Huo Tang: Bak Kut Teh ($6)
The crunchy you tiao pieces added fantastic texture to our soup.
BKT fans, look no further. For just $6, Shenxi Lao Huo Tang’s Bak Kut Teh comes with the usual pork ribs and some crunchy you tiaos thrown in. With just the right balance of pepper, the soup wasn’t too overpowering - plus, it’s refillable, so you can slurp to your heart’s content.
Sesame chicken rice and lotus root pork ribs soup
They also have a special going on where you can choose from 2 flavours of bamboo rice plus 1 of 4 soups for $4.80. We chose the Sesame Chicken Rice and the Lotus Root Pork Ribs Soup, which was fantastic comfort food after a long day of walking around town.
Note: Shenxi Lao Huo Tang is next to Chargrill Bar.
Address: #B1-11, Midpoint Orchard, 220 Orchard Road, Singapore 238852
Opening Hours: 10.30AM-9PM
9. As-Shifaa Cafe: Nasi Ayam ($4)
Image credit: @munchingmarc
I’ve got to say, As-Shifaa served up one darn tasty plate of Nasi Ayam Goreng ($4) - fried chicken rice. Forget steamed or roasted chicken - our plate came with a crispy chicken thigh and a good dollop of sambal, which had just the right balance of sweet and spicy.
Though deep-fried, the chicken wasn’t too oily and stayed moist. We even got some crispy bits sprinkled on top which gave each bite a crunch.
Note: While the stall only closes at 4PM, they are known to sell out before then, so you might want to come by at least an hour or two prior.
Address: #06-52, Lucky Plaza, 304 Orchard Road, Singapore 238863
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat: 11AM-4PM, (Closed on Sundays)
Telephone: 9383 0329
Cathay Cineleisure Orchard
10. Penyet King: Ayam Penyet ($6.30)
Chilli fiends, this sambal’s got just the kick you need.
Don’t be fooled by the simple aesthetics of this stall almost hidden at the extreme left corner in Cathay Cineleisure Orchard’s Koufu. Penyet King has a range of cheap and yummy Malay nosh, including their signature dish: Ayam Penyet with Rice ($6.30).
Smashed with a meat tenderizer before serving, the chicken is swept onto a piece of wax paper on a wooden bowl along with fried tofu, a mound of rice and spicy sambal belacan that had us sweating by the end of our meal.
Crispy chicken bits are poured over to give that extra crunch factor.
If you want something a little cheaper - and less spicy - they also have Mee Soto Ayam ($5) and Mee Bakso ($5), beef ball soup with noodles.
Address: #B1-01, Koufu, Cathay Cineleisure, 8 Grange Road, Singapore 239693
Opening Hours: 10AM-10PM, Daily
Telephone: 9858 4515
11. Su Superstar Korean Cuisine: Ramyeon from $5.80
To satisfy your k-food cravings at as little a cost as possible, Su Superstar Korean Cuisine at *SCAPE is a good consideration. Their Fire Ramyeon ($5.80) is the cheapest main dish, and other flavours are from $6.80 onwards, such as Chicken and Jja-jang (black bean sauce).
Our meal came with a side bowl of seaweed soup, which did a darn good job at soothing our tongues after a few slurps. Yup, the Fire Ramyeon, which came slathered in fiery sauce, truly lived up to its name. If you’re out of soup, you can help yourself to some free iced tea provided at the self-service table.
Address: #02-28, *SCAPE, 2 Orchard Link, Singapore 237978
Opening Hours: 12PM-10PM, Daily
Telephone: 6235 042
Saving smart with AIA’s Pro Achiever
Adulting might be hard, but saving money doesn’t have to be. Sure, eating cheaper and not rapidly depleting our well-earned moolah might be a good start, but if you really want to go about saving in a smarter manner, consider investing. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a crazy amount of cash to start.
In fact, just $6.60 can go a long way for you in terms of both food and savings. Putting aside that seemingly small amount a day can actually pave the way for a great long-term savings plan.
With AIA’s newest investment plan, AIA Pro Achiever, you’ll be able to get your money to balloon to a lot more rather than having all that cash saved from cheap eats just sitting tight in your piggy bank.
Image credit: AIA Singapore
It has a minimum monthly premium of S$200, and you’ll only need to put in $6.60 per day into your savings to keep up the plan. And rest easy as 100% of it goes towards investments, meaning you won’t lose a portion of it towards insurance coverage.
The best part is that this policy is super flexible too. You can withdraw bits of the money under the plan if you find yourself in need of some extra pocket money, and even take a premium holiday - where you can temporarily stop payments if needed.
So if you look at it, it’s totally possible to enjoy the good life while making steady plans for the future - and that extra $4-5 you save on meals could very well be the beginning of your journey of getting that dream car or house!
This post was brought to you by AIA.