facebookCheapest Places To Eat Out in Singapore Based on Your Neighbourhood
130323_ Cheapest Places To Eat Out in Singapore Based on Your Neighbourhood

Cheapest Places To Eat Out in Singapore Based on Your Neighbourhood

profileHui Juan Neo


By now, the issue of Singapore’s cost of living would be familiar to you.

During Budget 2023, the government rolled out several policies to help Singaporeans cope with rising costs, including but not limited to:

We know that these measures help alleviate our situation in their own ways, but let’s not avoid the elephant in the room ā€” food still occupies a significant amount of our daily expenses.

Even if you were to stay home and meal prep, you will still need to do your groceries to whip out the dishes.

I’ll admit it, even if I love staying home, I can’t force myself to cook every meal because it’s tiring. So, what’s the next best option then?

Eating out.

Source: Tenor

An Institute of Policy Studies report found that on average, a person spends $16.89 if he eats all three meals at hawker centres, food courts and kopitiams, and if we’re calculating for 30 days, it’s $506.70!

This is quite a significant amount. Interestingly, the report also found that common local dishes such as Roti prata is the cheapest in the western region of Singapore.

Are you ready to find out where you can find the cheapest places to eat out in Singapore? Let’s go!

TL;DR: Cheapest Places to Eat Out in Singapore: From Hawker, Food Courts to Kopitiam

Click here to jump:

The Cost of Eating Out in Singapore: Ā Findings from theĀ Makan Index 2.0

Titled ‘The Cost of Eating Out: Findings from the Makan Index 2.0‘, the study was conducted by researchers from the Institute of Policy Studies, led by research fellow Teo Kay Key and research assistants Hanniel Lim and Mindy Chong.

The purpose of the study was to investigate food prices in Singapore to gain a better understanding of the cost of living.

The first edition, Makan Index, was published in 2017 and the current Makan Index 2.0 was updated and recordedĀ food and drink prices from 829 food establishments between September and November 2022.

Since the GST hikeĀ this year, the researchers revisited 50 establishments, comprising a total of 263 individual stalls, in January and February 2023 to record any price changes. The aim was to examine if there were any effects of the GST on food prices.

In total, prices were recorded from food establishments across 26 residential neighbourhoods in Singapore, including 92 hawker centres, 101 food courts and 636 kopitiams.

Food Is The Second Most Significant Household Expenses

According to the report, the Department of Statistics’ five-yearly household expenditure survey revealed that food expenses accounted for 20.3% of the average household expenditure in 2017 and 2018. This made it the second most significant expense after housing and related expenditures, which accounted for 28.9%.

Additionally, the study found that slightly more than half of the total food spending was done at places such as hawker centres, coffee shops, food courts, canteens, kiosks, and street vendors.

Across the neighbourhoods studied, the researchers found that breakfast on average cost $4.81, lunch $6.01, dinner $6.20. If cutting back on food expenses is your aim this year, perhaps it’s time to slow down on your bubble tea purchases because it’s the price of one meal.

Source: Tenor

Given the large variety of food available in Singapore, the researchers narrowed down their choices to 18 items that are commonly consumed duringĀ breakfast, lunch or dinner, while taking dietary restrictions into account.

Of those 18 items, the notable ones include your Kopi-o (black coffee), milo, breakfast sets (kaya toast, two soft-boiled eggs and a coffee or tea), mee rebus, sliced fish soup, wanton noodles, economy rice (two vegetables and one meat), and economy beehoon sets.

Prices At Various Food Establishments & Regions

As expected, air-conditioned food courts tend to price their items at higher prices, followed by kopitiams, then hawker centres.

The average increases in prices at 50 revisited stalls did not exceed 30 cents, and did not go above 10 cents for most food items (Kudos to the kindhearted hawkers!).

As most of us would already be aware of, dinner prices are generally more expensive than lunch prices. What the researchers found is that when they were comparing between neighbourhoods in Singapore, the differences in costs for lunches and dinners are statistically significant.

In summary, this is what they found based on the estates:

  • Highest average breakfast cost: Marine Parade ($5.12)
  • Lowest average breakfast cost: Queenstown ($4.33)
  • Highest average lunch cost: Sembawang ($6.35)
  • Lowest average lunch cost: Kallang ($5.64)
  • Highest average dinner cost: Jurong East ($6.71)
  • Lowest average lunch cost: Toa Payoh ($5.89)

When adding up all three meals, Toa Payoh has the lowest cost at $15.98, while Bishan has the highest average meal cost of $18.

Well, it seems like even though a mature estate has many food establishments, prices might not be necessarily low. When you’re working outside, it might be worth checking out the average lunch prices across the entire region:

Central RegionAverage Lunch Prices
(Main food dish + drink)
Bukit Timah$5.28
Toa Payoh$5.67
Bukit Merah$5.97
Marine Parade$6.09
North-East RegionPrice
Ang Mo Kio$5.93
Bukit Batok$5.89
Bukit Panjang$6.03
Jurong West$6.16
Choa Chu Kang$6.17
Jurong East$6.34
Pasir Ris$6.14

Source: Institute of Policy Studies

Do note that the study does have certain limitations as the prices of food items were taken at face value, without adjusting for quantity or quality.

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Where to Find The Cheapest Food in Your Estate

Viola, contrary to what most people think, the central region had the cheapest prices for all drink options (kopi-o, kopi, iced Milo, iced lime juice, canned drink with ice) as well as chicken chop.

The north region had the lowest prices for breakfast sets and fishball noodles, while the western region had the lowest prices for roti prata.

Here are some of the cheapest options available in Singapore:

Food ItemNeighbourhoodAverage Price in NeighbourhoodAverage Price across Singapore
Roti Prata Set (1 plain, 1 egg)Bukit Batok$2.76$2.97
Kaya toast with 2 soft-boiled eggs and a coffee or teaBukit Panjang$2.87$3.27
Chicken RiceBukit Timah$3.63$3.80
Nasi LemakToa Payoh$3.04$3.49
Economic Rice (2 veg, 1 meat)Serangoon$3.11$3.44
Chicken Chop$6.95$7.58
Fishball NoodlesKallang$3.45$3.71
Wanton MeeJurong East$3.69$3.92

Source: Institute of Policy Studies

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Where to Avoid The Priciest Food in Your Estate

When we talk about the cheapest, we have to also mention the priciest so that you can defray some costs.

But, we’d suggest that you take them with a pinch of salt and use it only as a generic guidance if you’re looking to save money. After all, there are many hidden food gems everywhere in Singapore

Food ItemNeighbourhoodAverage Price in NeighbourhoodAverage Price across Singapore
Roti Prata Set (1 plain, 1 egg)Bishan$3.19$2.97
Chicken ChopBukit Panjang$8.28$7.58
KopiChoa Chu Kang$1.30$1.21
Wanton MeeSengkang$4.31$3.92
PunggolNasi Lemak$4.06$3.49
Kaya Toast with 2 soft-boiled eggs and a coffee or teaMarine Parade$3.47$3.27
Economic Rice (2 veg, 1 meat)Marine Parade$4.18$3.44
Fishball NoodlesMarine Parade$4.23$3.71

Source: Institute of Policy Studies

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Use The DBS PayLah! Vouchers every Friday and ShopBack

If you’re unaware, DBS has launched a $5 Million Hawker Meal for users to grab cash rebates of up to $3 when they use PayLah! for payment at participating hawker stalls.

This redemption is however, restricted to the first 100,000 users, and the cap is only limited to 1 meal subsidy per customer each Friday.

So, do use it early before it’s gone. The campaign ends on 19 Jan 2024.

Besides using the DBS PayLah! vouchers, remember you can also use ShopBack when you make digital payments at hawkers, kopitiams or food courts.

A little goes a long way and you’ll realise you’ve saved quite a significant sum when you want to redeem it.

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About Hui Juan Neo
A savvy shopper and foodie at heart, I'm always on a lookout for discounts and deals to snag the best bargains.
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