Singapore’s one of the most expensive cities in the world, but that doesn’t mean you have to burn a hole in your wallet each time you eat out. Sure, we’ve got fine-dining establishments, celebrity chef restaurants, and Michelin-starred names where an evening of culinary satisfaction may cost you a good chunk of your montly salary – but we also have plenty of great hawkers and affordable food courts at every corner of the island.
As for those with insatiable appetites, cheap buffets exist, too – you just gotta know where to look. At these bargain free-flow spreads below $30, you can basically stuff your face with unlimited portions of prata, BBQ meats and seafood, sushi and sashimi, pasta and even ice cream with waffles. All you need is a bottomless stomach, a pair of loose trousers, and the iron will to keep going even when you’re beyond full.
For suggestions on your next all-you-can-eat excursion, check out our list of budget buffets below.
This 24-hour eatery’s prata buffet offers 16 varieties of crisp, made-to-order pratas – from the tried and tested (egg and onion, cheese, etc) to the weird and wonderful (pepper, honey or banana prata, anyone?). At $7.90, this may very well be the cheapest buffet in Singapore (although, if you think about it, that’s kinda steep for prata).
Unless you’ve got an iron stomach and can chow down on 16 servings of the fried flatbread all by yourself, bring a few buddies along so you can taste all the different flavors. Or perhaps just skip the usual plain and egg options and make a beeline for more experimental creations like masala, ikan bilis, strawberry, chocolate and pineapple.
459 Changi Rd. 24 hours. $7.90.
The no pork, no lard barbecue at ORTO invites you to pile on servings of slipper lobster, flower crab, prawn, salmon, squid, and loads more. Besides feasting on seafood, you can also fill up on otah fish cakes, sweet corn, and shiitake mushrooms.
If you turn up on weekdays, it’s $29.90 – otherwise, there’s an additional $3 for weekend visits. But be aware of the 90-minute time limit and the potential for you to emerge all sweaty and stinky (from the open flame heat and BBQ fumes).
#01-05 ORTO, 81 Lorong Chencharu. Tues-Thurs 5pm-midnight, Fri 5pm-1am, Sat noon-1am, Sun noon-midnight. $29.90.
When those dim sum cravings hit, take a trip to HarbourFront Centre for a wallet-friendly lunch buffet. With over 30 items to choose from, the menu includes all your favorite delicacies like deep-fried bean curd skin, BBQ pork buns, xiao long bao, pan-fried carrot cake with Chinese sausage, and salted egg yolk bun.
There’s also a self-service station for fried rice and porridge (if you’d like to fill up on carbs), as well as soups, ice cream and beverages. But take note that the order form insists on charging you $1 for every piece of dim sum you don’t consume, so… stay on the safe side and don’t go too crazy. Pace yourself, young Padawans.
#04-01 HarbourFront Centre, 1 Maritime Square. Lunch 11.30am-2.30pm. Mon-Fri $19.80, Sat & Sun $22.80.
If you’re cool with travelling a little out of the way for a reasonably-priced buffet, feast on a medley of Peranakan dishes at this cozy eatery, where traditional fare like chap chye (mixed vegetable stew), ayam buah keluak (braised chicken), and beef rendang are served up in a charming, old-school setting, complete with pretty floral plates, colorful batik tablecloths, and lovely Peranakan outfits in display cases.
In addition to snacks like spring rolls and chwee kueh, the restaurant offers four DIY stations where you can ensemble all the customized bowls of laksa, rojak, mee siam and kueh pie tee that you can handle. When you’re ready for dessert, make your own chendol with freshly shaven ice, or take a bite out of cakes like kueh ko swee, fruit cake and kueh lopes.
#06-21, 29 Heng Mui Keng Terrace. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11.15am-3pm, Sat & Sun 11.15am-2.30pm; Dinner: Fri-Sun 6-9.30pm. Weekday lunch and dinner $18.80, weekend lunch and dinner $21.90.
The popular Korean BBQ restaurant at SOTA dips its prices pretty low for weekday buffet lunches, so if you have time to spare during office hours, round up a few colleagues for a low-carb meal of grilled meats. Otherwise, a weekend visit will set you back an additional $10 for the spread of seafood, veggies, and meats.
#01-04/05/06/07 School of The Arts, 1 Zubir Said Dr. Daily 11.30am-3.30pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm. Lunch: $14.80-$24.80, dinner $24.80-$25.80.
With two outlets in Singapore, this Korean BBQ place offers a value-for-money buffet on weekday lunches, with an array of meats, veggies, and soups, as well as cooked food like Korean pancakes, kimchi-fried rice and spicy rice cakes. So pile up your plates with marinated meats and leafy greens, and get a kick out of listening to the sizzle on the grill.
FYI, the Orchard Central branch provides mostly alfresco tables, while the air-conditioned Westgate outlet offers Korean BBQ and steamboat.
Two outlets, including #07-01 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Rd. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11.30am-3pm; Dinner: Mon-Thurs 5.30pm-10pm, Fri 5pm-10pm, Sat & Sun 11.30am-10pm. Weekday lunch $19.90, weekday dinner & weekend lunch $29.90.
Self-proclaimed as a “mega Japanese buffet at mini” prices, the spread here is rather comprehensive, with more than 200 items including everything from sushi, sashimi and yakitori skewers to teppanyaki meats, hot pot foods and deep fried treats.
Come hungry to chow down on Chilean black mussels, half-shell scallops, tempura ebi maki, and salmon belly, as well as sweets like mochi, tofu cheesecake and chocolate fondue with fruits. Oh, and if you want the under-$30 option, make a lunch reservation – then be prepared to eat till your stomach cries for mercy. But know that when the food coma descends, you only have yourself to blame.
#08-01/02/03 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Rd. Daily 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-10pm. Lunch $21.80-$29.80.
If you’re feeling rather starved at lunchtime, here’s a
kcrazy idea: Plop yourself down for a salad bar buffet. But before you scoff at the thought of gorging on unlimited greens, hear us out.
The eatery doesn’t just offer a selection of rabbit food; it goes above and beyond to whip up soups, pastas, juices and even desserts. So really, you’re not technically eating that healthy. And for a few extra dollars, you can get mains like fish and chips, BBQ chicken chop, or black pepper steak – these all come with the permission for you to hit up the salad buffet and hydrate with free-flow juice drinks.
#02-516 Blk 190 Toa Payoh Lorong 6. Daily 11am-4pm, except PH and eve of PH. $17.90-$20.90.
Cook your own cuts of chicken, beef and pork at this Thai barbecue restaurant, with sides like vegetables, sauces that range from sweet to spicy to garlicky, seafood items (only available for dinner) such as salmon, scallops and mussels, as well as a cooked food array of chicken nuggets, fries and fried wantons.
After the meats have sizzled on the grill and you’re done sweating it out, cool down with free-flow scoops of ice cream in flavors like chocolate chip, green tea, corn, taro, and pandan.
Two outlets, including #02-53 Bugis Junction, 200 Victoria St. Daily 11.30am-10pm (no buffet dinner from Fri-Sun). Lunch: Mon-Fri $21.90, Sat & Sun $25.90; Dinner: Mon-Thurs $25.90.
Dessert junkies, rock up to Scoopz and stuff your face with the melting goodness of ice cream and waffles combined. All kinds of flavors are available – seriously, your ice cream cravings will be satiated for the next year – from signature ones like chocolate mint, strawberry cheesecake and Thai milk tea to fruity ones like durian, watermelon and coconut.
All you have to do is make a reservation, take a seat, and scoop copious amounts of ice cream into your mouth until you build up an intolerance to dairy (or until your 120 mins are up – whichever comes first).
#01-456, Blk 163 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4. Tue-Thurs & Sun 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11pm. $18.
We can’t count the number of times we visited Swensen’s back in the day, when a sweet treat meant a sole sundae shared among siblings. But those days of savoring every last spoonful of ice cream as quickly as possible are over, thanks to the long-lasting restaurant’s all-you-can-eat dessert spread at its ION Orchard outlet.
Take your pick from more than 50 ice cream flavors and finish off each scoop with one of the 40 toppings, then head back to the buffet table for more pastries, waffles, cakes and a dip in the chocolate fondue fountain. The best part of it all? “No sharing of buffet is allowed”.
#B1-31 ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn. Daily 10.30am-10.30pm. Weekdays $19.90, weekends $20.90.
Unlimited portions of steak may sound too good to be true, but we assure you, it’s not. This is real life, people. So if you love your protein, abandon those powdered shakes for good old hunks of ribeye, striploin and hanger steak at South Beach Quarter.
The gloriously meaty chunks are first cooked sous vide then charcoal-grilled and served up with sauces like black pepper, blue cheese, hot mustard and red wine jus. For a side of carbs, you’ve got options like mashed potatoes, carbonara pasta and sourdough breads to choose from. Oh, and there’s a time limit of 90 minutes to order and two hours to feast – just in case you were planning to unleash your carnivorous side all night long.
36 Beach Rd. Sat & Sun from 7pm. $29.90.
Get your steamboat fix for under $20 at the Bugis eatery, where you can choose from six different bases, including tom yum, hot and spicy, and herbal broths. Once your soup has simmered to a nice boil, throw in slices of pork, chicken and beef, as well as crabs, prawns, fish and more. The place may not be the fanciest, but hey, at least the food isn’t loaded with MSG (or so it claims).
7 Tan Quee Lan St. Daily 11am-midnight. $17.90.
Authentic Indonesian cuisine makes up the extensive menu at this Orchard spot, where lunch serves up 15 dishes, while dinner offers 20. You won’t even have to place an order, ’cause the servers will lay out a spread of every single dish in tasting portion sizes so you can sample everything before you ask for more of your favorites.
Just ensure you arrive with an empty stomach that’s ready and willing to polish off plates of rendang daging (beef rendang), sayur lodeh (veggie curry), ikan goreng (fried fish), ayam panggang (grilled chicken), soto ayam (spicy chicken soup) and tahu telor (tofu omelette).
#02-09/10 International Building, 360 Orchard Rd. Noon-3pm, 6pm-10pm. Lunch $18.95, dinner $29.55.
Load up on protein in the Tanjong Katong ’hood, where the grill house dishes up meat platters every weekend during lunchtime for $29.80 net. You basically have 90 minutes to wolf down all the steak, ribs, chicken, fish and veggies your heart desires (although, if you’re at a meat buffet, there’s no reason to waste stomach space on veg. #justsayin).
The menu features Aussie 100-day grass-fed ribeye with black pepper, red wine, wholegrain mustard or creamy mushroom sauce, St Louis Balinese pork ribs, grilled chicken, dory fish, and sides like truffle fries, mac and cheese, onion rings and grilled pencil asparagus.
306 Tanjong Katong Rd. Sat & Sun 11am-2.30pm. $29.80, reservation only.
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