Budget American Food in Singapore
When most families move locations, there’s a certain period of time where all they want to do is eat out. The dishes aren’t unpacked, and the pet roaches belonging to the previous tenant have not been removed from the kitchen. When a family moves to Singapore from a westernized country like America or Australia, they’ll probably want to act upon the same eat-out impulse. Unfortunately, they’ll soon find that the Canadian Pizza isn’t quite Dominoes, the nearest restaurant probably specializes in fish head curry, and even the Golden Arches isn’t exactly what you’re used to having back home. If you’re on your own, it might be an adventure; but if you’ve got whiny kids in tow, it is an all-out nightmare.
Fortunately, Singapore does have quite a variety of good Western food available. There are, of course, expensive joints such as the Sizzler at Suntec City, and the Outback at Millennium Walk, but you’ll pay almost thirty dollars a plate for these dinners. Fortunately, if you know where to look, Singapore does have some hidden Western food gems with great dinners available for folks on a budget.
Aston’s Specialties can be found in five location’s throughout Singapore. This franchise serves a wide array of steaks and barbecued chicken. Side dishes include fried foods such as onion rings and fries as well as healthier baked potatoes and steamed vegetables. If you’re looking for a pleasant ambiance, try their location at the Cathay theater which is located near Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station; but be prepared for at least a twenty minute wait. If you want a coffee shop atmosphere and food in a hurry, the location near the Sixth Avenue Center provides good American food in a uniquely Singaporean coffee shop atmosphere.
Black pepper chicken with baked beans and onion rings. Total cost = $6.50
The chicken is cut chop style, similar to what might get if your ordered chicken fried chicken at a southern restaurant in the states, but it is barbecued on on the grill. The onion rings are deep fat fried to perfection; the batter sticks on them well enough that the onion won’t slide out as you eat it.
Visit their official website for more information.
The Singlish word for bald is botak. By now you’ve probably guessed it, Botak Jones was started by a bald man; his name is Bernie Utchenik. His mission was to bring tasty Western food to the working class areas of Singapore.
At Botak Jones you won’t find healthy food. You’ll find steak, fried food, and sandwiches all served in humongous portions. Frequently, you can find USDA grade American beef on some of the menu items. (American beef was previously restricted in Singapore after the mad cow scare.)
Nearly all of the stalls are near MRTs so you shouldn’t have any trouble locating these fantastic places to eat. You’ll find them around Bedok, Boon Lay, Sommerset, Toa Payoh, Yishun, and several others. The venue that I’ve visited most often is just a stone’s throw from Clementi MRT.
Christians and concerned parents might want to know that Botak Jones promotional materials frequently use mild expletives.
I like the Cajun chicken sandwich with Mexican rice and spicy fries. Total cost = $8
If you can’t handle the heat, you can get barbecue chicken and other types of fries including cheese fries and traditional fries.
This place also has a catering service. Visit their official website for more information.
Dan Ryan’s Chicago Grill probably shouldn’t be on the list of budget eateries, but this place provides such an American feel that I couldn’t resist. If you sit in Dan Ryan’s comfortable leather seats, watch the ESPN on the TV, and gaze at the peculiar American oddities on the wall for too long, you’ll think you’ve stumbled back to the Midwest.
Dan Ryan’s is also, as far as I know, the only place on the island that serves free flow Dr. Pepper. For those that don’t know, Dr. Pepper is only available in Singapore at upscale supermarkets such as the Cold Storage in Great World City; moreover, restaurant drinks are usually served in single twelve once servings. (It isn’t like the U.S. where most food joints allow you to hook your mouth under the fountain and drink ’till you burst for less than two dollars.)
One of the best reasons to eat here is the free bread that is brought to the table. It is the only place in Asia where I’ve been served authentic corn bread.
If you want to eat on a budget, show up at lunch time or before five in the evening. If you show up after five, you’re guaranteed to pay over twenty dollars a plate.
I usually try to save money so I’ll just order their mushroom and swiss burger. Approximate cost = $15 If I want to spend a little extra money, the potato skins are delicious.)
You’ll find this place in the Tanglin Shopping Center which is located about a ten minute walk away from Orchard MRT. This restaurant also has franchises in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but I’ve never visited these stores.
Visit Dan Ryan’s Official Site
Stewards Riverboat makes the list because of its amazing fajitas. It is one of the few places to find delicious Tex-Mex food in Singapore. Yet Westerners searching for totally authentic food should ask about menu items carefully; there are some odd hybrid fusion foods like squid chimichangas that can be tasty, but might not be quite what you are looking to eat for dinner. Especially for signature dishes, the prices for adults are quite expensive (>$30); but the kids’ menu for those under twelve is an excellent bargain.
The top level of the boat is an ideal place to take large groups for meetings, especially church groups.When it’s not rainy, there is a tranquil view of the surrounding sea. The restaurant owners seek to infuse Christian principles into their operation and have gone so far as to utilize the alpha and omega symbol in their company logo. I believe the upper deck even has a jacuzzi that can be used for baptisms.
However, I would stay away from their enclosed second floor meeting room. The venues is a stationary boat on a sometimes-choppy sea. The last thing that you will want are your guests to suffer bouts of sea-sickness and claustrophobia.
This boat is located in Marina South Pier, a fairly isolated spot in Singapore, and the operating hours can be a little erratic.
Check the website for full information.
Welcome Cowboy Caleb Readers. This website is mostly about Christian education. For something a little more random and entertaining, check out my personal blog: Media Slog