Budget meal go where, that is the question 

budget meals hawker

Ever wonder where to find a cheap and hearty meal at one of our iconic kopitiams? 

Enter BudgetMealGoWhere, a website listing stalls selling meals for $3.50 or less to help Singaporeans stretch every penny amidst the cost-of-living pressure. Since its launch in May 2023, the number of coffee shops listed on the site has grown from 40 to 250. While promising, there are still plenty of hidden gems selling budget options we do not know about. Therefore, it’s time to get help from a public with an insatiable appetite for food.  

Hence, the launch of a new initiative called the Great Budget Meal Hunt to crowdsource recommendations for budget meals. “Members of the public are submitting and verifying affordable eats that they come across, even at locations that are not part of the official Budget Meal scheme,” said Senior Minister of State (SMS) Sim Ann.  

To date, the site has received more than 1,600 suggestions for budget meals. “This will help more people know about affordable eats near them and encourage vendors to price competitively,” added SMS Sim.  

Also at the launch was Minister of State (MOS) Low Yen Ling, who observed a virtuous cycle of mutual support between residents and heartland shops.  

“Many of the participating heartland shops that accept CDC Vouchers can be found on the Budget Meal Hunt…(and) when residents use their vouchers, they support our local businesses, which, in turn, give back to the community through efforts like offering more affordable options,” said MOS Low.  

And it is here that MOS Low makes an important observation about coffee shops and hawker centres. In many ways, these spaces are much more than a community dining room or a unique culture to attract tourists. They are, in fact, an unofficial form of social security, providing affordable food to Singaporeans from all walks of life. But for the lower-income, budget meals are practically a lifeline that stops them falling into food poverty.  

For this reason, the PAP government is committed to ensuring that Singaporeans have easy access to affordable food options in their neighbourhood. Besides plans to build more hawker centres in the heartlands, all HDB rental coffee shops will offer budget meals by 2026

But for now, let us dive in and start building a repository of cheap eats. After all, good things must share

Photo Source: Low Yen Ling via Facebook/ ST Photo: Alphonsus Chern