Thursday 4 September 2014

Pocket Friendly Lunches in Singapore CBD Area

Pocket Friendly Lunch Deal
In recent years with the high raising living cost in Singapore, most of the food outlets had increase their food pricing in order to accommodate the overheads and expenses. So at time we do wonder are there still any pocket friendly meals to cater for those working in the Central District area such as Raffles, Marina area or etc. For example: Can you still grab a decent lunch for S$5.00 or you are willing to increase your budget with a few dollars higher and set them in air-conditioned food court, cafe or restaurants?

In this post, let's look at a few budget friendly food centres in the central district area such as the newly revamped Lau Pa Sat, Hong Lim Food Centre and Chinatown Market which I am sure they sounds familiar to those who often patrons these places.

Singapore Central Business District Area (CBD) along Raffles Quay area

[Lau Pa Sat] Located near Raffles MRT Station at 18 Raffles Quay
It had being long since my last visit here and finally after more than six months of renovation and revamping, the iconic 24 hours food centre; "Lau Pa Sat" which located at 18 Raffles Quay has finally reopened in July 2014. Now with lesser stalls (54 stalls as compared to 90 previously) and 14 mini restaurants, it makes dining experience comfortable with better ventilation and more seating capacity that caters for about 2,500 diners.

[Lau Pa Sat] Beverage Stall
Within the food centre itself, there are more than one beverage stall and a few others that sell local dessert, freshly blend fruit juice and etc to cater the crowd preference.

[Lau Pa Sat] Different variety of food stalls
Upon stepping into the food centre you can find see different choices of food ranging from local flavour such as Fried Carrot Cake, Qiu Lan Ban Mian, Huat Kee Fishball Noodles, Chicken Rice and etc. On top of that, Kopitiam also bought in 10 new stalls like Turkish Cuisine (stall 70), Japanese Yakitori (stall 55), Lutong Pincy (stall 54); Filipino food, Little Flower Shop (stall 42); a flower themed cafe and etc.

[Lau Pa Sat] Delicius Cafe And Pasticceria
Delicius Cafe and Pasticceria (stall 25 - 27) which located near the entrance at the right side had caught my attention with their cakes and breads which baked on-site at Lau Pa Sat outlet. The stall offers a wide range of dessert from SG$3.50 per cup of puddings to SG$5.80 per slice of their Chantilly Fruit, Chocolate, Banana Pie, Fruit Tarts.

[Lau Pa Sat] Thunder Tea Rice
After browsing around the new food centre, I was drawn to this Thunder Tea Rice - 擂茶 (stall 31) which crowded with patrons even before lunch time at around 11.30am. So I decided to join in the queue since I am always curious about this Hakka signature dish.

[Lau Pa Sat] Thunder Tea Rice
I order Thunder Tea Rice (SG$5.50) that comes with brown rice, fried tofu, chopped long beans, fried anchovies, peanuts and etc. Beside the rice portion, there was also a bowl of concentrated tea mixture to add into the rice. The tea has an aroma of basil and mint flavour which give it a refreshing taste. You can either choose to pour in the whole bowl of tea mixture or just a few spoonful according to individual liking but for me I would  prefer just to mix in a few spoonful (not use to the herbs taste) and  after which enjoy my meal with a glass of ice-cold Coke instead.

Although you might notice most of the food stalls at Lau Pa Sat are with slightly higher food pricing like S$5.50 onward as compared to other food centres around CBD but they do offer some local delight like Chicken Rice, Pig Organ Soup, Fried Hokkien Mee with pricing as low as SG$4.00 per serving too.

[The Arcade] Near Raffles MRT Station
Beside Lau Pa Sat, there are still many other food outlets near Raffles MRT station and The Arcade is one of my favourite lunch spot during my working days years back when my office was 5 minutes walk from there. I still remember it was one of my formal colleagues; Elaine who recommended me to some of the eateries there.

[The Arcade] Corner Delights
Corner Delights
The Arcade, 11 Collyer Quay,
Singapore 049317

Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday: 08:00 - 18:00
Saturday: 08:00 - 14:00

[The Arcade] Corner Delights' Menu
Corner Delights which located on the first floor near the back of the building at a corner after Han's Cafe (western and local food cafe) is operate by two sisters. The small eatery has a seating capacity for about 20 diners and they serve both breakfast and lunch items such as those mentioned on the menu shown above.

[The Arcade] Corner Delights' Prawn Noodles
For a SG$5.00 lunch deal you can either choose Laska or Prawn Noodles (dry/soup) to go with a cup of coffee / tea which is quite a reasonable price. Beside that their prawn noodles still taste similar to what I last had with generous amount of ingredients but on a down side the soup seems less flavorsome on that day.

[The Arcade] Corner Delights' Local Snacks
Or if you feel like having something light for lunch rather than noodles, perhaps you can go for their local kueh which are popular among patrons too. For example: any combination of 2 orders (4 pieces) like what I had (2 png kueh + 2 soon kueh) cost only SG$3.60 which I am sure it will definitely last you till evening before dinner.

[The Arcade] Pocket Friendly Lunch Deal
Beside the Corner Delights they are still a few other pocket friendly lunch stalls which offers cheap and good deal like Hup Lee Cafeteria Fish Soup (The Arcade; #01-35/36. Must be early as the queue is always super long especially during raining days) or Yi Jia Chun Double-boiled Soup (The Arcade; #01-24).

[Hong Lim Food Centre] Behind Chinatown Point Complex and Chinatown MRT Station
Next we head over to Hong Lim Food Centre which is another of my favourite lunch spot. After its renovation in 2011, this double-story food centre has improved it's ventilation plus seating capacity which now hosts more than 100 cooked food stalls to cater the office crowds during lunch hours.

[Hong Lim Food Centre] Pocket Friendly Lunch Deal
Although this food centre is non air-conditioned but I am sure the waiting time and quality of food is still worth visiting. Beside with an average of SG$3.00 you can easily enjoy a bowl of famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa (#02-67) or Outram Park Fried Kway Tewo Mee (#02-17). Or for a hearty Friday lunch, you might want to indulge with a plate Crayfish And Prawn Hor Fun from Tuck Kee (Ipoh) Sah Ho Fun (#02-41, click link to view our review) at SG$6.00 per plate.

[Hong Lim Food Centre]An Kee Braised Duck Rice
An Kee Braised Duck Rice is one of my "must have" at Hong Lim Food Centre besides the Ipoh Hor Fun (mentioned above), Fan Ji Bittergourd Fish Soup (#02-70), Fragrant Hong Kong Pork Rib Rice (#02-69) and Teochew Porridge (level 1).

The brown sauce rice served at An Kee is cooked using the braised duck sauce till it gets the right texture and flavour which is not too soft or salty instead of the usual white or yam rice. For me I love to top-up my order with extra braised hard-boiled egg and peanut which often comes up to about SG$4.00 a plate which is still a reasonable price for a good lunch deal :p.

An Kee Braised Duck Rice
531A Upper Cross Street
Hong Lim Food Centre
Singapore 051351

A short clip on our visit to Hong Lim Food Centre eating my favourite Braised Duck Rice from An Kee

[Chinatown Food Centre] Pocket Friendly Lunch Deal
Lastly let's hop over to Chinatown Food Centre which has over 200 food stalls and it is also consider as one of the biggest and most popular hawker centres in Singapore among the local and tourists. With it's wide ranges of food choices, sometime I am do feel lost in what to order too so here is a quick guide on some popular recommendation like Xiu Ji (Ikan Bilis) Yong Tau Fu #02-88, Lian He Ben Ji Claypot #02-198, An Ji Famous Fish Head Noodles (#02-194).

[Chinatown Food Centre] Damn Nice Scissor Cut Curry Rice

[Chinatown Food Centre] Damn Nice Scissor Cut Curry Rice
For some home style cooked food that resemble mum's cooking, this scissor cut curry rice stall at level 2 (green zone) could be a hidden gem that you can take into consideration. The stall offers mouthwatering dishes like crispy pork/chicken cutlets, homemade ngor hiang, braised pork belly, chicken curry and etc at a reasonable pricing.

The a la carte lunch set that we had above with pork cutlet, ngor hiang, curry potato and braised hard-boiled egg cost only SG$3.70 which is consider cheap even if another veggie dish of 60 cents is added to it.

Damn Nice Scissors Cut Curry Rice 
Chinatown Complex Food Centre
Block 335, Smith Street
Singapore 050335

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[Chinatown Food Centre] Bangkok Thai Food

[Chinatown Food Centre] Bangkok Thai Food
If you are craving for Thai food such as Phad Thai, Basil Chicken, Tom Yum Soup or Pineapple Rice, you might like to give Bangkok Thai Food (red zone) a try. While waiting for my order, I saw most of the people ordered either rice set or a la crate dishes which seems to be popular among the patrons.

Phad Thai (SG$4.00) taste quite decent with firm beancurd, thin flat rice noodles, prawns, beansprouts that soaked in savoury sauce and serve together with some crashed peanut and lime wedge. On top of that there is also a complimentary bowl of light tom yum soup to go with the rice or noodle dish but then I still prefer to sip on my glass of ice-cold Coke.

Bangkok Thai Food
Chinatown Complex Food Centre
Block 335, Smith Street
Singapore 050335

Operating Hours:
11.00 - 10.00pm (daily)

[Chinatown Food Centre] Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Fu

[Chinatown Food Centre] Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Fu
Xiu Ji is a few stalls away from Damn Nice Curry Rice at green zone area too. And for SG$3.00 you get to order a bowl of dry/soup noodle of your choice with 6 pieces of assorted freshly homemade Yong Tau Fu. We prefer to get their dry version that comes with some crispy fried anchovies and you can also add a slice or two of the fried brinjal or bitter gourd at 50 cents each as well.

Furthermore their homemade chilli sauce is also different from the usual Yong Tau Fu dipping sauce with a more spicy and garlicky taste that is similar to the chicken rice chilli. The stall is always with long queue and the waiting time is about at least 15 - 30 minutes during peak hours or weekend so try to avoid lunch crowds if you are not rushing back to office.

Xiu Ji (Ikan Bilis) Yong Tau Fu
Chinatown Complex Food Centre
Block 335, Smith Street
Singapore 050335

Opening Hours:
5.45am - 3pm (Daily)

Beside those mentioned above, there are still a few other well-known food centres around the CBD area like the Amoy Street Food Centre, Maxwell Market, People's Park Complex Food Center, Tanjong Pagar Food Centre and etc where there are great meals with pocket friendly pricing. And for overseas friends who are keen to read up more about our local food you could refer to another related post on Our Favourite Singapore Local Food too.

*This article is brought to you in partnership with Coca-Cola®. Do follow @cokesg (on twitter) for more related posts on #cokewithfood too!


  1. What a great list with so many of my favorites in this post. Great to have bumped into you at Arcade. You must have been there for your research.

  2. Great list! I love some of the recommendations, though the queue gets a bit long for some. So I go slightly off peak hours.


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