Good Food in Unexpected Places
A simple Google search will yield many results for delicious food in Bras Basah.Bugis but chances are, they’re also the same few names occupying the top spots of Burpple’s list.
Now, where’s the fun in that? Isn’t it more exciting to take a walk and discover hidden gems nestled away in some back alley, a narrow street or an inconspicuous building?
That’s exactly what we did one afternoon. In spite of the sweltering heat, we visited somelesser-known favorites which provide good and affordable food. Here are four finds for good food in unexpected places.
Fried Fish Bee Hoon Soup. Credit: Instagram (@singaporeliciouz)
1. Xin Yuan Ji
If the usual restaurants in Bugis Junction and Bugis+ are too mainstream, or perhaps you’re looking for something a tad friendlier to your wallet, crossing the road to Tan Quee Lan Street will bring you to this gem.
At $5.80, the fish soup is slightly more expensive than your regular food court stall servings, but the broth is much richer in taste and the portion size is comparable.
While famous for their fish soup, charcoal fish head steamboat and fish head bee hoon soup, you can also order a variety of à la carte dishes to complement your meal. A personal favorite of mine is the marmite chicken, because how can you go wrong with marmite? Really.
If you intend to check the place out during dinner, be prepared to wait between 15 to 30 minutes as the restaurant attracts a loyal following.
Opening hours: 11.30am - 11pm daily.
Where: 31 Tan Quee Lan Street, #01-01, Singapore 188117
Lifestyle store Kapok that Tanuki Raw shares a place with. (Taken by Tactic for BBB)
Chamomile Yuzu Chicken. (Taken by Tactic for BBB)
2. Tanuki Raw at Kapok
Okay, so I cheated a little. Tanuki Raw isn’t that unknown since it also has a loyal following at their location in Orchard Central. However, their outlet at the National Design Centre is interesting enough to warrant a mention, as it shares a space with lifestyle store Kapok.
For the uninitiated, Tanuki Raw serves modern Japanese-inspired rice bowls. At an additional $2, you can enjoy a lunch set that comes with miso soup, a mixed green salad and a green tea.
With its generous portions, prices are pretty affordable at between $12 and $14.80. For those looking for a touch of luxury, there is also the more extravagant Foie Gras Truffle Yakiniku Don for $19.
After you’ve had your fill, you’ll be tempted to take another 10 minutes to browse through Kapok’s selection of lifestyle items, including fragrances, clothes and bags. Some of the bags are gorgeous, though they do come with a rather heavy price tag too.
Opening hours: 10am - 10pm daily. Food from 11.30am - 9.30pm. Lunch set available from 11.30am - 3pm. Happy Hour from 5pm - 8pm.
Where: 111 Middle Road, National Design Centre, #01-05, Singapore 188969
(Taken by Tactic for BBB)
Minced pork rice. Credit: Facebook / Jo Tay
3. Thai Gold Food
Just a couple of streets down from the National Design Centre, you’ll come across Sunshine Plaza. At first glance, the building looks like a nondescript office building but its ground floor is home to many exciting food options.
Thai Gold Food is a small restaurant situated just round the corner from the entrance. Serving the usual sumptuous Thai fare like pad thai, green curry and minced pork with basil, the food is reasonably priced at $10 or less though some main courses go for around $12.
Those of you grabbing a bite during lunch will be pleased to know there are lunchtime specials that are priced cheaper.
It’s no Bali Thai, but frankly, for an authentic Thai restaurant located downtown, the food is good and cheap. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a refreshing cup of Thai milk tea!
Opening hours: 11.30am - 4pm, 5pm - 11pm daily.
Where: 91 Bencoolen Street, Sunshine Plaza, #01-14, Singapore 189652
(Taken by Tactic for BBB)
Golden Mushroom Tempura Don set. Credit: Facebook / Teng Bespoke Vegetarian Restaurant
4. Teng Bespoke Vegetarian Restaurant
Located within Sunshine Plaza itself, this restaurant was highly recommended by a friend for their refreshing take on Japanese cuisine.
As the name suggests, they serve vegetarian reinterpretations of Japanese food, using quality ingredients that would impress even the most fervent meat lovers. Items like the Golden Mushroom Tempura Don and Strawberry Mango Maki give you an idea of how imaginative their menu is.
While Fortune Centre nearby is also another haven for vegetarians, this cosy sit-down restaurant is perfect if you’re looking for a quieter ambience. Be prepared to pay a little more for the privacy though, as the bill can come up to anywhere between $20 and $30 per person.
Opening hours: 11.30am - 3pm, 5.30pm - 10pm daily.
Where: 91 Bencoolen Street, Sunshine Plaza, #01-50, Singapore 189652
By no means exhaustive, this list serves as an introduction to some unconventional food choices around Bras Basah.Bugis. So the next time you find yourself scrolling through Burpple for suggestions, consider any of the above instead. After all, the road less travelled often yields surprises.