Best Food 2017 Part IV: Best Meals Under $20

The rising cost of living in Singapore makes it difficult to find meals that are below $20 these days. Even at hawker centers, a bowl of lobster noodles may set you back for $30. So these 10 eateries—many of them are set in comfortable air-conditioned spaces—are definitely value-for-money, suitable for lovers, friends, and families.

25 Degrees Burger
200 Middle Road, Hotel G, Singapore 188980
Tel: +65 6809 7990
M-Th 11am-11pm, F & Sat 11am-1am

25 Degrees Burger may be the best burger in Singapore. The gourmet burger joint is started by Tim and Liza Goodell at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in L.A. The Asian outlets (Bangkok and Singapore) are helmed by executive chef Sylvain Royer who also runs Ginett, the restaurant-bar next door. But Chef Sam Chan, who just returned from working in Shanghai, runs the day-to-day operations.

Everything is made in-house. By everything, I mean patties, brioche buns, and the 14 sauces for the burgers. All patties come in 200g, a generous serving.

The menu is simple: all 4 burgers are priced at $14 and are named creatively as No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, and No 4. There is also an unofficial No. 5 known as the Veggie burger (but why does it even exist?!). You can also build your own burger starting from $9.50.

If you come during lunch, the very worth-it and affordable $18 set lunch gives a choice of burger, fries, and a drink (including beer!). [FULL REVIEW]

88 Hong Kong Roast Meat Specialist
153 Tyrwhitt Road Singapore 207566

You may be tempted to order other things as such wanton mee or roast duck but resist. Ignore them and just order the char siew and sio bak.For the char siew, they add malt sugar to pork loin. A strip of fat runs through the middle of the char siew. The surface is charred beautifully with a bittersweet, smokey caramelized flavor. There is a heavy cinnamon taste. The sio bak takes more than 2 hours to braise, dry, and roast. The skin is crispy but not hard. And there is a great taste to the skin, almost carb-like like a very good roasted potato. [FULL REVIEW]

Chalong Singapore
7 Wallich Street, Tanjong Pagar Centre B2-21 Singapore 078884
M-F 11.30am-2pm, 5.30pm-7.30pm, Sat 12pm-3pm

Elin Boh, only 26 years old, is the mastermind behind Chalong, and has two culinary diplomas, one from Le Cordon Bleu (Paris), and the other from Oliver Bajard International School of Patisserie (Perpignan, France).

The takeaway kiosk, with 4 seats by the side, serves charcoal-grilled meat with rice, inspired by Thai flavors. The meats are grilled in a Josper oven and smoked with applewood to give depth. They are also sous vide to give consistency, and a tenderness while maintaining the juices. They use other atas ingredients like Himalayan salt and Denmark butter. [FULL REVIEW]

Chen’s Mapo Tofu
6A Shenton Way, Downtown Gallery #02-29 Singapore 068815
tel: +65 6221 3206
M-F 11am-9.15pm, Sat 11am-3pm, closed Sun

Chen’s Mapo Tofu at Downtown Gallery is the sister outlet of the 2 Michelin-starred Shisen Hanten, which is one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in Singapore. Like Shisen Hanten, Chen’s focuses on Sichuan cuisine, but unlike Shisen, Chen’s food comes as pocket-friendly set meals.

Their set meals (a main and a drink) range from $9.80 to $13.80. You can also order a la carte. Besides the mains, there are soups, sides, and desserts. They have three signatures here, mapo tofudan dan mien, and kaisen katayaki. [FULL REVIEW]

Express by Chatterbox
6A Shenton Way Singapore 068815
tel: +65 6220 0758 / +65 6220 0579
Weekdays 11am-10pm, Sat 11am-3pm, Closed Sun

Express by Chatterbox is the affordable outlet of the Mandarin Orchard’s famous restaurant that sells chicken rice at $27++. But here, they serve a pocket-friendly version at $8. Although it is almost 3 times cheaper than the sister restaurant, they don’t compromise on the service, decor, and quality of the food. [FULL REVIEW]

HJH Maimunah
11-17 Jalan Pisang, Singapore 199078
T: +65 6297 4294
7am-8pm, closed Sun
Other outlet at 20 Joo Chiat Road.

Although HJH lost its Michelin Bib Gourmand this year, it is still fantastic. HJH Maimunah Restaurant at Kampong Glam doesn’t have a long history; it is founded in 1992 by Madam Mahiran Abdul Rahman. The restaurant is named after her mother who bought the shophouse where the restaurant resides. In the beginning, the mother-daughter duo came up with the recipes, and now there are more than 40 dishes available. [FULL REVIEW]

Katsudon Hanakatsu
Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Boulevard #03-10 Eat@Seven, Singapore 038983
tel: +65 6333 4386

After the immense success of Tendon Kohaku, they took over the space next door originally occupied by Tonkatsu Agedoki and started Katsudon Hanakatsu. Hanakatsu serves deep-fried chicken and pork cutlets on rice. There are only 2 options on the menu, original or spicy, both priced at $13.50.  Both come with 6 pieces of chicken and pork.  [FULL REVIEW]

Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice
71 Seng Poh Rd #01-49, Singapore 160071
8am-2.45pm or till sold out, closed every alt Tue
T: +65 6225 3762

Loo’s was established in 1946, and the curry, according to a sign outside the stall, takes days to cook. [FULL REVIEW]

SG Braised Rice 十格捞饭
2 Orchard Turn, Food Opera @ ION Orchard #B4-03, Singapore 238801
Sun-Th 10am-10pm, F-Sat & PH Eve 10am-11pm

The people behind Thai Village Restaurant opened a food stall, SG Braised Rice, in the food court of Ion Orchard, Food Opera. It serves modern ricebowls doused with a fantastic sauce and topped with various premium ingredients. The ricebowls, which range from $6.80 to $18.80, are inspired by a very popular dish, Braised Abalone Rice, from Thai Village. [FULL REVIEW]

Teppanyaki Hamburg Nihonbashi Keisuke Bettei
72 Peck Seah St, Singapore 079329
Tel: +65 6908 4348 (no reservations)
11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10pm daily

They have only two sets: Prime Beef Hamburg Set ($18.80++) and Triple Cheese Prime Beef Hamburg Set ($20.80++). Every customer must order 1 set of hamburg–no sharing–because there is a salad bar buffet and free-flow of eggs. After you order your meal and while waiting for your hamburg to come, go and take from the salad bar stocked with 20 items. [FULL REVIEW]

To recap, these are the 10 best meals we ate that are under $20 this year:

-25 Degrees Burger

-88 Roast Meat


-Chen’s Mapo Tofu

-Express by Chatterbox


-Katsudon Hanakatsu

-Loo’s Hainanese

-SG Braised Rice

-Teppanyaki Hamburg Keisuke

Have you eaten anything affordable and delicious this year? Comment and let us know.

You may also be interested in…
Best Food 2017 Part I: 10 Best Dishes of the Year
Best Food 2017 Part II: 10 Best Desserts of the Year
Best Food 2017 Part III: 5 Best Cafes of the Year
Best Food 2016 Part III: 10 Best Meals Under $20 in Singapore

Written by A. Nathanael Ho.

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