11 Delicious Cheap Eats To Try In Woodlands – Below $10, Tried & Tested!
Text & Photos by Rae Chan & Maureen Ow
I’ve lived in Woodlands for 20 years, but most of my study and work life was spent outside Woodlands. I would usually be at a loss when people asked me about Woodlands. While I was in between jobs, misstamchiak asked me if I wanted to take on the challenge of coming up with a list of 10 things to try in Woodlands, I gamely took up it up! After recommendations from friends and family and some of my personal favourites, here goes the list of good food to try in Woodlands! (I won’t exaggerate to say that you should come from Tampines to eat them. If you are around the area, just know that there are other options other than Causeway Point!)
Ah Keat Pig’s Organ Soup. Kway Chap
Address: Blk 211 Marsiling Crescent Lucky Star Eating House Singapore 730211
Opening Hours: 7am to 9pm (Closed on alternate Wednesdays)
I’ve seen this Kway Chap ($3.50) appear on some list of kway chap to try in Singapore and didn’t think much about it. Then as I was asking for recommendations on what to include in this list, my father suggested this kway chap stall.
For $3.50 a portion, you get big intestines, small intestines, fish cake, pig’s skin, braised egg and pig’s stomach. This is a lot more than what many stalls give nowadays given the amount work needed to prepare all these ingredients to make sure that they are clean and do not taste gamey.
What is important to me is that the organs had to be well braised, clean, fresh and soft to the bite, which in this case, it was! The braising sauce at this kway chap stall was nothing spectecular but it was a delicious bowl of kway chap where the efforts of the owner could be seen in the preparation of the individual ingredients to make it come together harmoniously. What is worthy of mention is that the kway did not become mushy even after I took forever to take photos of the food.
My personal favourite used to be the kway chap at block 93 Toa Payoh Lorong 4 until the taste changed quite dramatically and I’ve since been looking for a new favourite. I will keep this in mind when I have a kway chap craving next time!
Ye Lai Xiang Laksa
Address: Blk 4A Woodlands Centre Road #02-36 Woodlands Food Centre
Opening Hours: 5 am to 1 pm (Closed on Thursdays)
I was at Woodlands Food Centre to try the Yan Ji Seafood Soup for the second time, but unfortunately, we were too early and it wasn’t opened yet. But at the corner, I was attracted to a queue (like all Singaporeans do) for Ye Lai Xiang Laksa. While in the queue, I heard the auntie in front of me commenting that she would have given up queue-ing if not for the fact that her son only eats the laksa from this stall (maybe only this laksa stall in Woodlands lah~).
At first, I ate the laksa without the chilli. It was very lemak (rich in coconut milk). Then I requested for chilli to be added. On my! That added a new dimension to the laksa. The chilli was fragrant and dried shrimps were used to make the chilli. This gave the laksa unami. For $3, the stall was generous with ingredients like fish cake, egg, beansprouts, blood cockles (hum) and tofu puffs (tau pok). Laksa with no hum is a big no no to me.
And no, there’s no typo in the opening hours. 5 A.M.! So if you are night owl or early bird in need of supper or breakfast, laksa sounds like a good change from Macdonalds or prata. They also sell prawn noodles (which I heard a lot of people order as well), fishball noodles and lor mee.
Wei Wei Shi Pin Yan Ji Seafood Soup
Address: Blk 4A Woodlands Centre Road #02-11 Woodlands Food Centre
Opening Hours: 11 am to 4 pm (Closed on Mondays)
Misstamchiak told me that Yan Ji Seafood Soup was a must try to be included in the list (nope, never heard of it until now). I finally managed to try it on my 3rd attempt on a cool rainy afternoon.
For $6, the soup was rich in flavour (from the Hokkaido scallops as stated on the signboard I suppose). The seafood used (prawns and fish) was also fresh and they were also generous with amount of fish and prawns. The seafood soup here comes with minced meat balls. The minced meat balls were flavourful and falls apart as you put them in your mouth. All in all, a comforting meal to have on a rainy day. My only grouse was that they could have been more generous with the soup.
The Crowded Bowl
Address: Republic Polytechnic, Level 3, The Lawn Food Court
Opening Hours: 9.30 am to 4.30 pm (Closed on public holidays and weekends)
The Lawn Food Court is pretty well hidden, so you may need to ask around before you can find it. You can sit by the ceiling to floor window, enjoy the air conditioning and the view of the lawn outside the food court. The Crowded Bowl is a vegetarian salad stall, so you will not see the choice of meats to be added to the salad like most salad joints. Instead, they have sides like vegetarian goose, vegetarian meat, vegetarian fish, etc for the protein to be added to the salad. In case you are wondering, some of the vegetarian meats are soy based and not gluten based!
For $3 a regular bowl, you get greens + 2 regular sides + 1 premium side. As for the dressing, you can choose from balsamic vinaigrette, Japanese seasame or orange marmalade. As I visited this place after lunch hours, there were limited choices available. So I chose cherry tomatoes, vegetarian goose and pasta in tomato sauce (premium side) tossed in Japanese seasame. Other premium sides available were pumpkin salad, olive rice, pasta in olive oil. You may wonder if the chinese vegetarian dishes goes well with the salad. Surprisingly it does! The combination was really yummy and the crispy vegetarian goose really provided a nice change and contrast to the usual salad offerings.
Address: Block 20 Marsiling Lane Market & Food Centre #01-17
Opening hours: 6am to 1pm
My father will on some days buy dough fritters (you tiao, $0.70) on his morning walks. I never knew where it came from. All I knew was that even when I woke up (in the afternoon), the dough fritters was still light and airy even though it was cold. It did not become doughy and oily like many.
So I got my father to bring me there one morning to try it piping hot! It did not disappoint me! It was crispy and airy and was not too oily. They also sell other fried dough snacks like hum chee pang, fried sweet potato balls, fried butterfly, etc. They also carry the same trademarks of the you tiao. This stall is also vegetarian.
Al Ameen Eating Corner
Address: Block 35 Marsiling Industrial Estate Road 3 #01-11
Opening hours: 24 hours for prata and drinks, other stalls close around 4pm
I saw rather good reviews of the prata and thought I should go and try it out after my first attempt at visiting Yan Ji Seafood Soup was not successful. This place was previously at Woodgrove and had only just moved to its current location when I visited. Even though the address has the word industrial estate in it, it is really by the road side of Woodlands Ave 5, less than 10 mins walk from Woodlands MRT station. Service was friendly and they even acceded to my request to make the prata fresh instead of giving me the ready made ones.
I ordered the Prata Kosong and Prata with Egg (total $2.40) to try. The prata was crispy and fluffy even after I took forever to take pictures of the food. As the prata and drinks stalls are 24 hours, it is a good alternative for all the Woodlanders! No need to travel all the way to Sembawang or Thomson to satisfy your prata craving!
Soon Long Sin Vegetarian Food
Address: Blk 883 Woodlands Street 82, Woodlands North Plaza, 02-472 Stall 2, North Singapore, Singapore 730883
Opening Hours: 6am to 9pm daily
As the same coffeeshop as the duck rice stall, there is a vegetarian stall which is quite popular. The beehoon here is delightful. It is soft, which makes it a joy to eat with the side dishes. You can pick from a generous selection of dishes such as mock meats, fried beancurd and vegetables. They also have a huge range of other vegetarian options like vegetarian kway chap, vegetarian fish head curry, vegetarian bak kut teh etc.
Hong Ji Claypot Bak Kut Teh
Address: Blk 19 Marsiling Lane #01-329 Singapore 730019
Opening Hours: 8 am to 9.30 pm
Hong Ji Bak Kut Teh adopts the Malaysian style of herbal Bak Kut Teh ($5.50). You can choose whether you want only pork ribs or mixed bak kut teh with pork offals. My family’s preference is for the mixed bak kut teh with pork offals. The taste of the herbs was distinctive in the soup and yet not overpowering. The pork ribs and offals are already cut into bite size pieces for convenience.
The braised Tau Kee ($1.50) when braised well is really flavourful and soft. There were a few times when the tau kee was not as well braised as I would have liked it to be. Fen Chang ($5), was chewy and well braised. The portion was generous. It is a good company to rice. For me, I may even add it to plain noodles. The Braised Pork Trotters ($4) was well braised, but I do prefer my meats to be on the softer side. I believe that there are others who would lik their meat braised this way so that they can chew and enjoy the flavours of the meat!
Tze Char at 834 Eating House
Address: Block 834 Woodlands Street 83 #01-89 Singapore 730834
Opening hours: 11 am to 2 pm, 5 pm to 11.30 pm, closed alternate Tuesdays
To reserve: 91474425 / 9692 8284
This is my family’s usual haunt for dinner. It is a very popular place for dinner and the wait for the food to be served on weekends can be up to 45 mins! Their fried dishes and stir fry are really well executed. Now, before you say, “aiya, anything fried sure nice mah”, you must admit that it is a skill to deep fry such that the food retain its crispiness on the outside and yet retains its moisture on the inside and does not taste overly oily.
I like the Golden Sands Prawn ($16) with deep fried mid sized prawns in a mount of pork floss fried with curry leaves, salted egg and other spices. The pork floss is crispy, salty, fragrant, with a little sweetness originally from the pork floss. This is really addictive and is a change from the usual cereal prawns.
The Nonya Fish Head ($22) uses the red snapper and the sauce is sour, sweet and spicy at the same time. More rice please! The stall owner has tweaked the level of spiciness of the sauce so that it is more acceptable to families. There was an instance when we ordered this dish and the aroma of it tempted the next table to order it too!
The Omelette with Garlic ($6) may seem unassuming. This is actually not in the menu and they only make it upon our special request. Our order is always, egg omelette with lots of minced garlic. The trick to making a good omelette is that the thickness of the omelette must be just right so that it’s brown and crispy on the outside with a very distintive wok hei and cooked just right on the inside. The addition of the minced garlic makes it very fragant without the garlicky taste. Not forgetting the fragrant french beans with sambal ($9).
Xin Yang Thai Food
Address: Blk 806, Woodlands St 81
Opening hours: 11 am to 3 pm, 5 pm to 8.30 pm ( Closed on Thursdays)
Tel: 9737 6985
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/xinyangthaifood
This stall has moved to various locations in Woodlands over the years. Yet, there is still a loyal following of customers following its move. Be sure to follow their facebook page to see when they would be closed or travelling! Their popular dishes include their tom yum soup, pineapple rice, pad thai, etc. They are generous with their portions and the ingredients used are fresh.
We ordered the Tom Yum Soup ($5). It was a messy bowl of goodness. The tom yum was sour, (not too) spicy and had prawns, chicken, squid in it. The Basil Minced Meat Rice ($4.50) was generous with the meat and the basil, a little more of the sauce would have made it tastier.
Ah Di Braised Duck Rice. Kway Chap
Address: North Plaza, 883 Woodlands Street 82 #02-472
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 8:30 am – 1:30 pm; 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
We saw an article from an online citizen news portal about a “hidden gem” in Woodlands so we gave it a try. Misstamchiak likes the mild herbal gravy used in duck rice and soup. Even though it was not as tender as we expect, it has attracted diners from across the island.
The kway chap that we tried was another matter altogether. The pig innards were well braised. Chewy to the bite. The kway was smooth and the broth used was light the herbal taste was not too overpowering. This was the second time I had tried their kway chap. Give it a try if you are in the area and let me know if the queue is worth it! I say give their kway chap a try if you are intending to join the queue!
The list above may not be comprehensive, please let me have your recommendations so that I can explore more of Woodlands!