Cheap Food In Orchard Road
Noble quests have always faced skepticism.
Prior to my hunt for meals below $10 in Orchard Road, I surveyed my friends. Some looked at me as if I had just suggested we pool our savings to buy a unicorn. “Siao ah, this is Singapore babe”, they reminded me. One guy suggested McDonald’s. Oh, pure and utter audacity.
Remember the days when Chicken Rice was $1? Me neither, but my parents would. Contrary to popular belief and common Singapore complaints, it’s possible to dine in Orchard Road without burning a hole in your pocket.
Here are 18 wallet-friendly meals you never knew about.
1. Shi Li Fang Hotpot
At a price of $9.90++, choose from the Beef Tenderloin, Special Fish Head, Specialty Chicken/Pork Tenderloin, Pork Belly, Mushroom or Vegetables lunchtime (till 4pm) set meals. Each meal comes with a vegetables platter and a choice of handmade/egg noodles, rice or vermicelli. Also, every hotpot is personal so you reserve all rights to pick that soup base all your friends hate!
The total bill should come up to about $12 after tax, but what’s an extra few dollars when most hotpot restaurants in Orchard Road cost at least $30?
Address: Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, #07-10/11, S(238896)
2. Tsuru-Koshi Udon
From a selection of Udon and Donburi below $14, I ordered the Ebi Tempura Udon ($10). The soup was slightly salty without being overwhelming. The Udon was silky and smooth as promised when enjoyed with the Onsen Egg ($1). Though I would like my tempura to be crispier, this is the go-to place when you’re craving something hot and soupy. Many patrons are Japanese themselves!
Address: Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road #B201-3, Takashimaya Food Hall, S(238872)
3. Hainanese Delicacy
I seriously suspect that I’m the only noob who has never tried this. I don’t care that it’s been reviewed to death! I need to gush about it once more to get it out of my system.
Even though it was lunchtime, the line at Hainanese Delicacy moved quickly. I loved that the boneless meat of the Roasted Chicken Rice ($4) fully captured the sauce’s essence in its tender goodness, but it was the chilli that won me over. I don’t wanna jinx it, but this may be the best I’ve had.
Address: Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, #05-116, S(228213)
Fisherios at Takashimaya Food Basement is hard to miss - with its inviting display of oysters and the smell of freshly fried fish. With a specialty in the Beer Battered Fish & Chips ($7.90), other house specials include Breaded fish ($8.90), Snapper ($9.90), Salmon ($9.90), and Shrimp ($8.90). This puts an end to paying $20 for a plate of fish & chips!
Address: Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road #B204-4-2, Takashimaya Food Hall, S(238872)
5. Dong Dae Mun
Damage: Sticks of meat from $1
Dong Dae Mun at Somerset 313 is the only outlet islandwide that serves meals like Kimchi Fried Rice and Korean Ramyun, within a dining space that fits about 12 people.
The tantalising sight of sauce sizzling on the hot plate didn’t disappoint. Even though the chicken slices were thin, the portion was fairly large and well worth the money.
Address: [email protected], 313 Orchard Road, #B3-49, S(238895)
6. Kim Dae Mun
Damage: Under $8
Further down the road is another Korean food spot to check out on the second floor of Concorde Hotel. There’s often a long queue in spite of its remote location, and it isn’t difficult to see why. Set meals and side dishes are priced below $8, and patrons have raved about the prices and authenticity.
Also, rumor has it that the hotplate items are cooked with water instead of oil!
Address: #02-17/18 Concorde Hotel Singapore, 100 Orchard Road, S(238840)
7. Ayam Penyet Ria
The Ayam Penyet ($7.90) was a mouth-watering sight - crumbs everywhere! Throughout the whole meal, I was that ridiculous emoji with heart shapes for eyes.
The chefs mastered the art of deep-frying chicken - the skin was crispy but the thigh meat was still moist. It’s sinful but worth every calorie. You must order a drink because the chili was so intense, my tongue burned all the way from Lucky Plaza to Far East Plaza.
Address: Lucky Plaza, 304 Orchard Road, #04-25, S(238863)
8. Pies & Coffee
If you love a pie but hate the mess of having it to-go, dine in at Pies & Coffee! With a menu that carries both sweet and savory pies priced between $6-12, it’s an ideal spot for a meal or snack. Savory pies are served with a side of mashed potatoes and salad greens.
Address: The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road, #01-101-104, S(238843)
Meet Okowa rice, cousin of Lo Mai Kai, only less greasy and of a Japanese descent. Each mouthful of the Salmon Okowa Rice Set ($7.80) was wholesome and tasty, best enjoyed with the side of pickles. This set comes in 4 other flavors and suit small to moderate eaters best. Go for the larger set meals with Unagi or Chicken Teriyaki if you’d like something more substantial.
Tip: If you don’t have time to dine in, takeaway options are available too!
Address: Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road #B204-1/2, Takashimaya Food Hall, S(238872)
10. New Station Snack Bar
This zi char shop is usually crowded and cramped, but discomfort is a small price to pay for my Salted Egg Pork Ribs Rice ($6). The pork ribs are soft and the salted egg sauce was easily the highlight of the dish. The curry leaves and chili padi gave it a tinge of spiciness, so it was creamy without being overly jelat.
Tip: This dish is only on the Chinese menu so if you can’t read those characters to save your life, it’s No. 6. You’re welcome.
Address: Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, #05-95, S(228213)
11. Smoothie King
On days when I’m feeling healthy, I try to avoid eye contact with the bubble tea shop and go to Smoothie King instead, where my first smoothie won half my heart just by being pastel-colored.
A smoothie easily cost about $6-7, but the $9.90 set meal gets you an additional wrap or salad. It’s a triumph to score a meal in Orchard for $10, but to have it for under 500 calories is pure win!
Address: [email protected], 313 Orchard Road, #01-14/15, S(238895)
12. Riverside Indonesian BBQ
Fans of the famous Indonesian BBQ Store in Plaza Singapura Kopitiam will be excited to know that 313 Somerset and Ion Orchard are homes to 2 other branches. With a specialty in the Ayam Panggang, the shop is known for using only fresh chicken.
After machine-dipping it into their signature black sauce, it’s served with steamed rice and topped with coconut curry. Most dishes, including squid and fish cooked with the same technique, cost around $6 on average.
Address: [email protected], 313 Orchard Road, #B3-44, S(238895)
13. Thai Tantric
Most people flock to Jane Thai at Orchard Towers, but its opening hours (evening only) are a real bummer. Thai Tantric’s opening hours (11am-3pm, 6pm-3am) are friendlier because no lust for Thai food should go unsatisfied.
Popular dishes include Phad Thai ($6.50), Tom Yum Seafood Soup ($10) and Fried Glass Noodles with Seafood ($7), while most side dishes are priced below $10. Orchard Towers may not be the most pristine mall around, but great prices and authenticity rarely reside in upscale grounds and polished walls.
Address: Orchard Towers, 400 Orchard Road, #03-23, S(238875)
14. Astons Specialities
Astons Specialties is a restaurant that requires no introduction, and one of the few I find worth queueing for. Apart from the steaks and chops, most pastas, burgers and fish dishes go for below $10. I love the flexibility in selecting sides, though I always find myself ending up with Mac & Cheese and Garden Vegetables.
Address: #03-04 *SCAPE, 2 Orchard Link, S(237978)
The Pan-fried Pork Gyoza ($4.80) had perfect skin - thin, crispy, and not too greasy. The chives and vegetable bits added texture to the sweet and soft pork filling. On the other hand, the Steamed Pork Gyoza ($4.80) had a soft and luscious exterior, served with their house special sauce. I personally preferred the former as I found the sauce to be a little too salty.
This little-known place is ambient and surprisingly affordable. Sides are priced between $3.80-6.80, while mains cost $6.50-$6.80. It’s Robinsons’ well-kept secret!
Address: Robinsons Heeren, 260 Orchard Road, #B1-02A, S(238855)
16. River Valley Nasi Lemak
The cheapest of the lot is found at $3.80 at a remote corner of Lucky Plaza’s basement. I love the rice and chili best - foundation of any Nasi Lemak. The rice was some of the most fragrant I’ve tasted - each bite flavorful with coconut milk, perfect when paired with the sambal chili. The sides tasted average at best, but the variety is well worth the price.
Address: Lucky Plaza, 304 Orchard Road, #B1-99/101, S(238863)
As I unwrapped it my 6-inch Classic Italian Sub ($6.90), I judged it a little; it wasn’t the most good-looking sandwich. But the misunderstood sub soon redeemed itself.
The freshly toasted Rosemary Parmesan bread was so good it can be eaten on its own, appetizing with its aroma of herb and cheese combined. It would be perfect if the vegetables were fresher and crunchier, but the meats made up for it. Topped with mozzarella and red wine vinaigrette, the deli meats (pepperoni, salami, capicola and ham) were juicier and tastier than that of any other sub!
Address: Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, #03-31, S(238896)
18. Jtown Cafe
Damage: Under $8
Jtown is an eatery located at the basement of Midpoint Orchard that serves Indonesian delicacies. Mains like the Bakmie Aya Bakso (pictured above) and the Black Pepper Bakso, which seems like the Indonesian version of Jajamen will cost you no more than $8, complete with a drink. There’s a variety of interesting Murtabak as well, with flavors like cheese, chocolate and even durian.
Address:#B1-04/05 Midpoint Orchard, 220 Orchard Road, S(238852)
19. Eighteen Chefs
Back when I was in school, 18 Chefs was a regular hangout. Today, the menu has grown about 3 times more extensive, but the student meal still costs $6.40 - a price I remember to be constant throughout these years. Even if you’re not a student, the “Be Your Own Chef” option remains a highly popular and customizable classic for baked rice and pastas below $10.
Address: #04-02 Cineleisure Orchard, 8 Grange Road, S(239695)
20. Central Hong Kong Cafe
Damage: Under $10.
Unlike most Hong Kong cafes, this shop makes you stop in your tracks to admire the furnishing. With patterned tiles and grilles, old school celebrity posters and a soundtrack made up of Cantonese oldies, it’s clear that a lot of thought went into the creating an ambience. As most of the popular street food such as egg noodles and specialty toasts are priced affordably, you can easily dine for less than $10.
Address: Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, #02-30, S(238896)
21. Greenview Cafe
In different shapes and sizes, the Mee Hoon Kueh Dry ($4.50) at Greenview Cafe is handmade, unlike the identical machine-cut squares sold at food courts. The thicker slices may not be for everyone, but I personally loved the Q-ness. The prawns (with an alternative of minced pork) were fresh and crisp while the sauce was the right amounts of sweet and salty, making this a favorite comfort food accessible in town.
Address: Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, #04-96, S(228213)
22. Gyoza no Ohsho
Ohsho is a Japanese casual dining joint located in Cuppage Plaza, within walking distance of Somerset MRT. In spite of its small size, the menu is quite extensive. Ramen here starts from $11, but for less than $10, you’d be able to get Yakiudon or Yakisoba, and a selection of rice dishes. For more value, look out for the set meals they offer!
Address: #01-10 Cuppage Plaza, 5 Koek Road, S(228796)
Bonus: Espuma Lab
Here’s something extra for those who’re willing to walk for cheap food. Which should mean everyone.
Espuma Lab in PoMo features Michelin-style culinary methods like Espuma (foam) and Sous Vide (thermal circulator). Those are interesting techniques to pay attention to if you aren’t distracted by the prices yet.
Main courses are unbelievably priced at - get this - $6.80! Top-ups for a drink and a bowl of soup cost only $2. If you’re an all-day breakfast fanatic, this place also makes poached eggs with a side of Norwegian Salmon or Sauteed Mushrooms for less than $5!
Address: 1 Selegie Road, #01-20/21, PoMo, S(188306)
Busting the Myth
There are many different ways people spend $10 in town these days. Some buy a Venti beverage because Starbucks’ Christmas Drinks can take all their money, while others join a froyo queue so long a security guard is stationed to manage it.
If you can no longer enjoy the privilege of flashing your student card, it’s unlikely that $10 will get you much in today’s economy. We hope this article has helped you discover more choices in every nook and cranny of Orchard Road!
In fact, if you’re savvy enough, you may even have money left for dessert: Source