Fill your belly at Maxwell Food Centre
Being an intern is tough, especially when you are surviving on $600 a month. But working in the CBD doesn’t mean you are resigned to expensive poke bowls and $10 sandwiches. In fact, there are plenty of cheap food around the area in places like Amoy Street Food Centre, the temporary Golden Shoe Hawker Centre at Telok Ayer, and of course, Maxwell Food Centre. Here are our picks of things you absolutely must try when you’re at Maxwell Food Centre.
1. Old Nonya
Run by a bubbly uncle, Old Nonya does homey Peranakan dishes. Get your money’s worth and order his rendang chicken ($4.50) rice set, which comes with a huge juicy chicken drumstick that’s well-coated in a rich, coconutty sauce, a side of achar, and fried bean curd skin. While I didn’t get to try it, the uncle was also raving away about his laksa ($3), which he says is creamier and better than the rest in Maxwell.
Unit number: #01-04
Opening hours: Thur-Tue 9am to 9pm
2. Sisaket Thai Food
Image credit: @akithu22
Sisaket Thai Food has always been my go-to stall when I used to work in the CBD. My favourite dish is their creamy green curry with rice ($4.50). But on days I feel like having noodles, their sweet-savoury phad Thai ($4) does the trick. If you wish to dine with your family after work, you will be glad to know they also do Thai-style zi char.
Unit number: #01-85
Opening hours: Daily 9:30am to 9pm
3. Zhen Zhen Porridge
Zhen Zhen Porridge has been commanding queues for over 20 years with its Cantonese-style chok that boasts a thick and creamy consistency. Despite its popularity and long-standing history, prices are still kept low at $3 for a bowl generously topped with ingredients. Go for their sliced fish with shredded chicken and century egg ($3) to have the best of everything.
Unit number: 1 Kadayanallur Street, #01-54, Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore 069184
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 5:30am to 2:30pm
4. Yi Jia Chao Zhou Yu Zhou
Image credit: @minhizzzle
Directly translating to “one house Teochew fish porridge fish soup”, Yi Jia Chou Zhou Yu Zhou constantly has a long queue during lunch hour. Order their Batang Fish ($3) and be treated to a clear, delicate broth boasting chunks of silky smooth fish slices.
Unit number: #01-66
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am to 3:30pm
5. Hainanese Curry Rice
Image credit: @kcl9118
Hainanese Curry Rice may not be as popular as their competitors, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as good. Doused in a rich, creamy curry sauce and topped with your choice of protein and vegetables ($0.70 per portion), this is one hot mess I will definitely order again and again. A must-get is their crispy pork chop ($1.50 per portion) and pork belly ($1.50 per portion) that goes real well with the curry.
Unit number: #01-68
Opening hours: Sat-Mon 11:30am to 7pm
6. Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
Image credit: @kent_ooi
Everyone knows Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, and for good reason too. Their rice is fragrant and chicken succulent. While they are one of the most known chicken rice stall to Singaporeans and tourists, I’m happy their prices are still kept affordable at $3.50 a plate.
Unit number: #01-10/11
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10am to 6pm
7. Maxwell Fu Zhou Oyster Cake
Image credit: @kevinfmlim
Maxwell Fu Zhou Oyster Cake ($2) is one of the few stalls serving this soon-to-be extinct snack. Encased in the golden-brown fried cake are succulent oysters, prawns, and minced meat. Cilantro is also added to cut through any oiliness. The magic of this Fuzhou dish is its batter, which is made of a combination of ground rice and flour, resulting in a an airy and crisp finish.
Unit number: #01-06
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9am to 7pm
8. Green Leaf
Green Leaf does comforting Malay dishes like nasi lemak ($3.50) and lontong ($3). Prices are all kept below $4 here, and it is probably the cheapest Malay food stall in Maxwell Food Centre. Come here for their Soto Ayam ($3), boasting thick cuts of rice cakes, chunks of marinated fried chicken, and a tantalising sweet broth.
Unit number: #01-100
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7am to 9pm
9. Peanut Soup
Peanut Soup only serves three things: red bean soup, peanut soup, and tau suan, all of which are ridiculously priced at $1! Be sure to top up $0.50 for two glutinous rice balls filled with either sesame and/or toasty ground peanut. I highly suggest you go for the latter.
Unit number: #01-57
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am to 2pm
10. Rickshaw Noodles
Selling bowls of noodles for over 70 years, China Street Rickshaw Noodles pushes out noodles starting from $1. For something sinful, order their Economy Noodles ($1/$1.50) that has a nice chewy texture, and is coated in a sweet-savoury sauce. Top it up with other fried goodies like battered prawns ($0.40 each) to complete your meal.
Check out our full review of China Street Rickshaw Noodles!
Unit number: #01-87
Opening hours: Sat-Thur 6:30am to 1:30pm
Pocket-friendly eats in the CBD
So there you have it, cheap eats to give your wallet a break. Then, celebrate your end of internship at these student buffets or jio your friends for an affordable feast at places serving giant seafood dishes.
Address: 1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069184
Nearest MRT stations: Telok Ayer and Chinatown