Things to eat at Singapore’s sleaziest buildings
Image adapted from: Dumb Green Pig
Orchard Towers, Parklane Mall, Golden Mile, and Orchard Plaza - these buildings are the sleaziest of the sleazy in Singapore. It’s where you’ll find questionable massage parlours, adult stores, and KTV lounges. These telltales are an obvious sign of seedy misdemeanors, but lurking behind the sketchiness, lie many food joints that make it worth the venture.
Next time you’re near one of these unsavoury buildings, take a step in and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the choice of eateries - serving up mouthwatering dishes like green curry fried rice, Yakitori skewers, or a bowl of finely-shaved bingsu.
Tucked away in a corner of glitzy Orchard Road lies a run-down building that’s supposedly home to “four floors of whores”. Orchard Towers has a reputation for sex and violence but look a bit closer and you’ll realise it’s also home to a bunch of eateries that won’t put a hole in your wallet.
1. Thai Tantric Restaurant
Image credit: @darkamberlights
Thai Tantric Restaurant is a haunt that many flock to for their authentic Thai cuisine. They serve up most of the usual Thai dishes - so you can definitely expect Tom Yum and Pad Thai - but one dish that particularly stands out is their Green Curry Fried Rice ($10), which has a full-bodied flavour from green curry paste and coconut milk being well-soaked into the rice.
Address:400 Orchard Road,#03-44, Orchard Towers, Singapore, 238871
Opening Hours:Mon-Sat: 11:30AM - 10:30PM (Closed on Sundays)
2. Thien Long Vietnamese Food
Image credit: Jayne Tan
For vermicelli noodle dishes, the no-frills Thiên Long Vietnamese Food is an absolute must-go. Their thin rice noodles come topped with peanuts, shallot and fresh herbs, and your choice of meat: grilled chicken chop, stir-fried beef or pork chop. A regular bowl starts from $5.
Address: 400 Orchard Road, #04-08, Orchard Towers, Singapore, 238871
Opening Hours: Daily: 11AM - 2PM, 6PM - 4AM
Parklane Shopping Mall
Seedy massage parlours and KTV lounges are rife at Parklane Shopping Mall. The upper floors are supposedly the ones to avoid but hey, you just have to take the escalator up to the second floor for some Korean food.
3. Snow Witch
Image credit: @snowwitchsg
Although Snow Witch first started out as a bingsu dessert cafe, it also has a wide selection of savoury dishes as part of their regular lunch specials. Their Spicy Korean Cold Noodles look devilishly spicy with its bright colours of red and orange, and its level of spiciness almost looks comparable to that of the famous Samyang Hot Ramen.
Image credit: @janiceteoms
They have regular lunch specials ($9.90) on Monday to Friday from 12 to 3PM, and one of the items you can order is their Gimbap which comes with a side of kimchi.
Image credits: @mcloretizo
Turn down the heat with Snow Witch’s bingsu, available in traditional flavours like Injeolmi and Milk Red Bean, but also other contemporary flavours like Matcha, Chocolate Banana, and Oreo. Each bingsu comes with a generous scoop of ice cream, ranging from $9.50 to $12. They’re also currently having a promotion where you can purchase two bingsu sets for $17.
Address:35 Selegie Road, #02-25B Parklane Mall, Singapore, 188307
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat: 11AM - 9PM | Sun: 11AM - 8PM
Golden Mile Complex
Well-known as Singapore’s Little Thailand, Golden Mile Complex isn’t just sleazy - outright crimes have been happening there almost every month. Drunken brawlers and violent knife incidents aside, it’s worth the trip for the food.
4. Diandin Leluk Thai Restaurant
Image credit: @celestialdelish
Diandin Leluk Thai Restaurant is helmed by Thai chefs - so you can be sure that all your Thai favourites here will be the real deal. It’s a huge menu, so you have everything from Goong Ob Woon Sen (Claypot Prawn Noodles, $22) to Som Tum Mamuang (Mango Salad, starting from $6). Come in a group of friends so you can try a little bit of everything.
Address:5001 Beach Road, #01-67/68/69, Golden Mile Complex, Singapore, 199588
Opening Hours:Daily: 12AM - 12AM
5. Noodle Cafe
Image Credit: @noodlecafesg
The Thai boat noodles from Noodle Cafe aren’t just authentic in taste, but also come with prices similar to what you'd find in Thailand itself. Although you’ll be eating in a cramped space, a bowl costs just $1.90 - yes, you read that right - and comes with all the crackling and lard you’ll find in a bigger bowl ($5). Admittedly, the $1.90 bowls are small and can be downed in two mouthfuls, but are ideal for those who are after a light snack.
Address: 5001 Beach Road, #B1-08, Golden Mile Complex, Singapore, 199588
Opening Hours:Daily: 10AM - 5AM
Right smack bang in the middle of Orchard Road, Orchard Plaza is so sleazy that it’s gone way beyond just the duplicitous massage parlour - their beauty parlours are where all the action’s happening. But looking beyond that, they’ve got a hidden gem serving top-notch Japanese food.
Image credit: Jayne Tan
There are just 12 counter seats at Otowa, a tiny hole-in-the-wall joint. They’re well-known for their yakitori (chicken skewers) - some of these being their Chicken Liver Skewers ($4.50), and Tsukune Skewers ($5.50), which are chicken meatballs mixed with crunchy cartilage. You can choose between salt or a slightly sweet sauce for extra flavour.
Image credit: @tohrx
For the more adventurous, there’s also Tori Yukke (Spicy Raw Chicken with Yolk, $15) - this dish is marinated in sesame oil and spices, and is meant to taste almost like fresh sashimi.
Address: 150 Orchard Road, #03-16 Orchard Plaza, Singapore, 238841
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat: 7PM - 11PM
Telephone: 6733 5989
Hidden food joints in Singapore’s sleaziest buildings
These food joints are worth braving the seediest of places - you won’t have any regrets, especially once you’re seated and there’s an array of tasty dishes in front of you. So the next time you’re near one of these infamous sleazy buildings, put all reservations aside and step in for a meal that’ll have you coming back for more.