We too need affordable food


If you’re a student of any one of the numerous schools in Bukit Timah, you’ve probably fallen victim to the ‘Bukit Timah Belt’ stereotype. You know what I’m talking about – the absurd generalization that all students from schools along the Bukit Timah stretch can afford to drink expensive drinks in the infamous Corobux (the Starbucks located at Coronation Plaza) on a daily basis.

While some of the more privileged ones are indeed guilty of the stereotype, there are some others who’d rather stay in and make do with trusty canteen fare, not wanting to blow $20 or more on a single meal.

Luckily for you, we’ve sussed out the holiest of discounts all over this atas area. So grab your student concession cards kiddos, because here are the 15 eateries – that aren’t canteens – to dine at without breaking the bank.


1. Gayageum Korean Family Restaurant


If you’re ever craving for cheap Korean food, you’d usually find yourself in a food court. Gayageum, however, strikes a fine balance with its low-cost food, offered in a snug restaurant.

At just $9.50, choose from the usual Korean dishes such as Bibimbap and Kimchi Ramen, while savouring six – you heard that right – little platters of kimchi, radish, bean sprouts, and many more.

Call me easily impressed, but I love how they placed a flask of iced water onto our tables immediately upon seating us. Episodes of Korean shows such as Running Man are even projected, sans sound, onto their walls – adding to the leisurable nature of this cozy little eatery.

Adorable, traditional Korean ornaments adorn this family-run restaurant, making it look the part of a little restaurant your typical K-drama female protagonist usually works part-time at.

Address: #B2-14 Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, 70 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 11.30am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10pm, Sun: 1pm – 10pm (Closed every 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month)
Student Set Lunch Promotion: Weekdays, 11.30am – 3pm
Find out more here.

Damage: $9.50


2. Koon Bak Kut Teh



When it comes to Western food, Bukit Timah is laden with options left, right, and centre. Which is great – if you live off steaks and pasta. If you need a break from that, consider having a piping hot bowl of Bak Kut Teh ($6.50) for lunch instead! With almost everything on the menu costing $6.50 or less, dining here with a group of friends will leave both your tummy and your wallet full.

This little restaurant is located just opposite Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, and their indoor air-conditioned dining area offers a good escape from the midday heat. At such reasonable prices, we won’t judge you for going for seconds if your heart desires!

Address: 10 Cheong Chin Nam Road, Singapore 599735
Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 11am – 10.30pm
Student Set Lunch Promotion:
Find out more here.

Damage: $6.50


3. Buddy Hoagies



Lay off mourning over Sixth Avenue’s Astons – you haven’t seen Buddy Hoagies yet. Hidden from sight in the basement of Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, Buddy Hoagies offers a rustic Western dining experience with its unassuming exterior and charmingly vintage interior.

This affordable Western diner offers Student Specials going at $6.50+ or $7.50+, giving you a selection of pasta, baked rice, fried chicken, or a grilled chicken steak. Aren’t you glad you’re a student now?

Address: #01-05/10 Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, 170 Upper Bukit Timah Road, 588179
Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 11.30am – 10pm, Sat, Sun & PH: 11am – 10pm
Student Set Lunch Promotion: Weekdays, 11.30am – 4pm
Find out more here.

Damage: From $6.50


4. Sunny Choice


This vegetarian sushi looks just as pretty as the usual with sashimi  Source 

Health nuts of Bukit Timah usually have to spend more than the average joe in upkeeping their clean and green lifestyles. It’s even more rare to come across healthy dining options that don’t burn huge holes in your pockets – which is why Sunny Choice, a restaurant offering affordable vegetarian fare, is such a gem.

Everything on their menu costs less than $10, which is a pretty good steal for clean eating in Singapore these days. Vegetarians out there, do not miss their Thunder Tea ($8.50), a hearty serving of rice and veggies drenched in tea soup, but with the peanuts in the dish substituted with healthier cashews.

Another must-try would be their Abacus ($7), a fragrant stir fry of yam abacus seeds paired with mushrooms, vegetables, and tofu.

Browse through their shelves of healthy, organic snacks and drinks

Just a 5-minute walk from Hillview MRT Station, Sunny Choice is indeed a sunny choice when your pocket money reserve runs dry!

Address: The Rail Mall, 434 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 10am – 9pm
Student Set Lunch Promotion:
Find out more here.

Damage: $8.50


5. Nonya Delicatessen



Nonya Delicatessen offers your Peranakan favourites like Mee Siam, Laksa, and Mee Rebus – all of them costing just $4.50 each! Manned by warm and friendly staff, this humble stall in Bukit Timah Plaza often sees long lines during peak hours – and for good reason.

Unfortunately, being immensely popular has its downsides – this place has the tendency of running out of food, and closes earlier than the stated closing time of 8pm. If you’re willing to risk that gamble, then give it a shot!

Their tapioca and pandan kuehs have earned themselves the thumbs up as well. For $3, you’ll get four sizeable slabs of the most tender and fragrant kueh ever.

Protip: If nyonya kueh isn’t your forte, ask the bubbly uncle for his recommendation – and try not to look too confused as he names 8 different types of kueh.

Address: #B1-K69 Bukit Timah Plaza, 1 Jalan Anak Bukit, Singapore 588996 
Opening hours: 11.30am – 8pm
Student Set Lunch Promotion:

Damage: $4.50


6. Ivins Peranakan Restaurant



This isn’t your ordinary zi char stall. Sitting along a row of shophouses along Binjai Park, Ivins serves up a wicked little Peranakan spread – so get ready for a unique, but delectable, dining experience.

Instead of spending the usual $15 minimum per pax for zi char, Ivins’ reasonably priced dishes at $6 and below make the place a viable lunch and dinner option for all students around the area.

So study groups, it’s time to toss your cups of instant noodles. Treat yourselves to some Honey Pork ($5.60), Otak Otak Pangang ($2.00), or Ayam Buak Keluak ($6.70), the few of many dishes recommended by diners around the estate.

Address: 21 Binjai Park, Singapore 589827
Opening hours: 11.30am – 3pm, 5pm – 9pm (Closed on Thursdays)
Student Set Lunch Promotion:

Damage: From $6


7. Curry Gardenn



If you’re going to make that long walk into Turf City, then at least make it worthwhile by settling down for some authentic, but affordable, Indian cuisine in this modern restaurant. This is the place to go for your butter chicken, curry, or prata fix for just around $6-8+ a set.

Do note that the restaurant will stop taking lunch orders at 3.30pm on weekdays, so hurry down, or risk missing their lunch period!

Address: #01-06 The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road, Singapore 287994
Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 11am – 3.30pm, 5.30pm – 10pm, Sat-Sun & PH: 10am – 4pm, 5pm – 10pm
Student Set Lunch Promotion:
Find out more here.

Damage: From $6


8. Papito’s


As students, the only Pasar our allowance entitles us to is the pasar malam. Known for its hipster food and exorbitant prices, Pasarbella usually gets cordoned off with yellow tape by students on budgets. Thankfully for us, this new find means we no longer have to miss out on all the beauty this place has to offer!

If you’re looking for something light to supplement all the snacks you ate in class this morning, indulge in Papito’s crepes, and you won’t be spending over 10 bucks in this upmarket joint. With sweet and savoury crepes going for $4.50 and $7.50 respectively, and additional toppings at $0.50 or $1.00 each, the generous heap of ingredients on each fluffy crepe will make it well worth every single cent.

Address: #02-K27 PasarBella, The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road, Singapore 287994
Opening hours: 9.30am – 8.30pm
Student Set Lunch Promotion:

Damage: From $5


9. The Tea Party



Tailored just for students with its affordably-priced Western lunch sets, sea of comfy sofas, and board games, this cosy hideout is where the party’s at for students in the vicinity. Fill your belly to its brim with soup, pasta, and a drink – all for just $10!

The Tea Party is the perfect chill-out place for the work-laden student. Tuck into a scone or two, some ice-cream, and maybe a slice of mud pie. Try spending a rainy afternoon here – its relaxing atmosphere is unmatched.

Address: #01-07, 805 Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore 279883
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs: 11.30am – 11.30pm, Fri-Sat: 11.30am – 1.30am, Sun: 11.30am – 12am
Student Set Lunch Promotion: All day
Find out more here.

Damage: $10


10. Meat N Chill



Located just a few stores away from The Tea Party, Meat N Chill is another Western eatery that serves up a pretty mean set lunch at just $9.90+. Like the former, this price is inclusive of a bowl of soup, a main course, and a scoop of ice-cream. Choose between Fish n’ Chips, The Flaming Beef Spaghetti, Crispy Chicken Bites Baked Rice, and many more.

Prices are subject to service charge, so dining here will set you back by about $12. A pretty decent price for such a substantial meal, I would say.

Address: #01-04 Sixth Avenue Centre, 805 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 279883
Opening hours: 11am – 10.30pm (Closed on Mondays)
Student Set Lunch Promotion: Weekdays, 11.30am – 2.30pm
Find out more here.

Damage: From $9.90


11. Top Seafood


Cast your eyes on the generous chunks of beef in this heaping serving of kway teow. This humble food stall along Sixth Avenue is most renowned for its Beef Horfun ($4.50), but you’ll find more than just a handful of delicious hawker treats – fried rice goes for under $6 as well! 

As most canteens close for the night, Top Seafood opens its doors for business at 5pm – making it the perfect option to sate your rumbling tummy after a full day of mugging.

Address: 12 Sixth Avenue, Singapore 276475
Opening hours: 5pm – 12.30am
Student Set Lunch Promotion:

Damage: $4.50


12. CurryWok



Currywok is a staple in the diets of the students of the three schools down the road, and it certainly deserves to be. With just $8, you’ll be able to tuck into a large plate of rice with two meats and a vegetable of your choice. Grab three other friends, and you and your friends will be able to savour any 4 dishes from the Student’s Set Menu, zi char style.

Having served students for years, the aunties and uncles here are friendly and patient with noisy groups. I’m not promoting inconsiderate behaviour, but any place that welcomes the sound of friendly banter is always on my dining list.

Address: 5 Coronation Road, Singapore 269406
Opening hours: 11am – 9pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
Student Set Lunch Promotion: All day
Find out more here.

Damage: $8


13. Lewu Cafe


For a restaurant that has the most extensive Student Menu of all the places on this list, its cheap prices and large portions never fail to amaze me. For just $6, enjoy a serving of pad thai or basil chicken with rice that can sate the humongous appetite of any growing teenage boy.

A favourite food combination among students would be the Fried Sesame Wings and a Sunny Side-up paired with rice, as in the picture above, which totals to a mere $4. Some people like to compare the aesthetics of this dish to that of prison food, but to these people I say: it’ll be the tastiest prison food you’ll ever have.

Address: 551 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 269692
Opening hours: 11.30am – 9.30pm
Student Set Lunch Promotion: All day

Damage: From $4


14. Brew Maison



Sorry SCGS girls, but I’m going to have to let this one out of the bag. This pastel, garden-themed, Korean cafe serves student lunch specials, with prices ranging from $7.50 to $9.50, inclusive of a free drink.

Pictured is the Black Sesame Latte, which is just as yummy as the Taro Latte!

And if you have a bit more cash to spare, you have to try their Taro Latte ($4.20). Spoiled for choice, I decided to get whatever the cashier said was his favourite – and boy, am I glad I did. I’m not one for yam-flavoured things, but this non-caffeinated drink had me wanting more!

Address: #01-98 Alocassia Apartments, 383 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259727
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 7am – 10pm, Sat-Sun: 8am – 10pm Breakfast: 7am – 11am (Weekdays) / 12pm (Weekends) Afternoon: 11am – 9pm
Student Set Lunch Promotion:
Find out more here.

Damage: $7.50


15. WaffleTown USA


Before you head down for an ice-cream fix, bear in mind that this place isn’t just another plain old waffle cafe. Instead, it’s an all-in-one Western, and Asian fusion fast-food restaurant that specialises in fried chicken and waffles. Everything on their value menu comes with a drink, and is around the $8 mark.

From 11am to 4pm on a school day, score a single scoop ice-cream waffle, topped with a generous amount of whipped cream, for only $2.90 when you purchase it with your set meal!

Address: #01-08 Balmoral Plaza, 271 Bukit Timah Road
Opening hours: 11am – 10pm
Student Set Lunch Promotion:
Find out more here.

Damage: $8


16. My Cosy Corner



A crunchy, and incredibly fresh roll of Popiah for just $2.20, and a bowl of Mee Siam for just $5 – aside from shorter queues, there’s not much more you can ask for. And considering that school dismissal times are way past the lunch peak hour, you students are in luck.

A thing to note though, their ever-popular popiah isn’t available on Sundays, but it’s not like any of us loiter around school Sundays anyway!

Address: #02-02, Coronation Shopping Plaza, 587 Bukit Timah Road, 269707
Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 10am – 7pm, Sun: 11am – 4pm
Student Set Lunch Promotion:
Find out more here..

Damage: $2.20


17. Top 1 Handmade Noodles



This bowl of chewy goodness can give your canteen food stalls a run for their money! At only $3, enjoy your choice of handmade flour noodles, dry or in flavourful soup, with your choice of protein. With it hailing as the best dry ban-mian in Singapore by many locals, you’d be missing out if you don’t try this once in your school life.

Address: #04-44, Beauty World Centre, 144 Upper Bukit Timah Road, 588177
Opening hours: Thu-Tue: 10.30am – 8.30pm (Closed on Wednesdays)
Student Set Lunch Promotion:

Damage: $4.50


18. You Peng Fresh Mian Jiao Zi Guan



When you can get 10 pieces of perfectly steamed Guo Tie for just $6, and 10 pieces of juicy Xiao Long Bao for a dollar more, who needs Osaka Ohsho or Din Tai Fung? Save those pricey meals for nights out with the family.

If you’re constantly saddled with an intense dumpling craving, this place will be the answer to all your food prayers. With prices like these, feel free to rally your equally broke posse for a mid-week treat.

Address: #04-23, Beauty World Centre, 114 Upper Bukit Timah Road, 588177
Opening hours: 10.30am – 9pm
Student Set Lunch Promotion:

Damage: $6


Bonus: Cupplets



This isn’t exactly a lunch venue, but it’s still a hidden gem for students nonetheless. Not only are the desserts here incredibly Instagrammable, they’re significantly more affordable in comparison to other cafes around the area.

Seek out this dessert bar and patisserie in Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Sports Complex, and put their Lemon Meringue Tart ($4.80) and Elderflower Cake ($5.50) to the test. Don’t you worry about disappointment, because there won’t be any.

Address: #01-03 Blk 16 Sports Complex, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, 535 Clementi Road, Singapore 599489
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 12pm – 6pm
Student Set Lunch Promotion:
Find out more here.

Damage: $4.80


Breaking the costly estate stereotype


To all my Bukit Timah school juniors: I hope you no longer name a canteen food stall as your favourite affordable eatery in the area. Granted, your school’s ban-mian may be amazing, but don’t follow in my footsteps and graduate with the regret of never having tried the other economical options out there.

As students, we tend to stick to the familiar few eateries within the perimeter of our schools, unwilling to venture out for the fear of not being able to afford a meal elsewhere with our measly monthly allowance. That was me for the past 6 years of my life. You can now look forward to adding an additional five, or more, places to your list of go-to diners for a well-deserved break from the monotony of canteen food!

But act fast, because the years of cheap transport and food – courtesy of your student card – don’t last forever. Take my sagely advice, exploit your student status to the maximum – before it’s too late.

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