Buzzing at all hours, Chinatown is one of the most vibrant stretches of our city. And what lures a lot of people to Chinatown is the eating. There's plenty of great restaurants Mamak, East Ocean and BBQ King should all be on your must-try list but if you're looking for something that's not going to sting your wallet, then it's time to start exploring Chinatown's food courts.
Eating World's most high profile tenant is Gumshara Ramen, the ramen noodle stand opened in 2009 by Mori Higashida. Japanese students and noodle lovers crowd in front of the stand to get their hands on a steaming hot bowl of tonkotsu ramen ramen noodles set in a thick pork broth topped with pork slices. Gumshara also does shoyu, miso and pork rib varieties. Whatever you choose, you're sure to be in noodle heaven.
Singapore Shiok! is another popular stand. It has authentic Singapore dishes like Hainan chicken rice, har mee and char kway teow. Other stalls worth a look include Kimama Kitchen, which offers traditional Japanese favourites such as karage don; Pondok Selera which lures Indonesian students and families with flavoursome fare; and At Thai, where you can get an entire fried fish accompanied by a traditional Thai salad for ten bucks.
Dixon House is located in a basement on the corner of Dixon and Little streets. It is the least flashy of all Chinatown's food courts and has very 1970s d้cor.
Indonesian food is the star at Dixon House. Pondok Selera (which also has a branch in Eating World) does a mean satay chicken, as well as some pretty tasty fish dishes. Pondok Satay 888 is another winner and offers classics like gado gado, beef satay and nasi goreng. Serves are generous and prices are low. You'll find it right up the front as you come in from Dixon Street.
Sizzling & Hotpot Kitchen remains one of the most popular stalls in Dixon House and has a host of terrific Cantonese fare on offer. Sichuan beef is a big seller, as are the BBQ prawn plates. Oriental Dumpling King is the place to go for a taste of northern China. PK Thai does tasty (and very cheap) Thai classics like curries and laksas. Wash down your meal with a sugar cane juice from De Juice. Get a large cup and ensure you've got your sugar intake for the next few months.
A bit flashier than Dixon House and Eating World, Sussex Centre Food Court is located on the upstairs level of Sussex Centre.
Happy Chef is one of the most popular stalls in Sussex Centre and does delicious laksas. Try a seafood, pork or beef variety, or veer from the menu and make your own noodle soup. The line-up for the laksas is often long, but it's worth it.
Yummy Thai is another popular stall and is exactly what it says it is. Despite the fact that there around four million other Thai options close by, Yummy Thai is super cheap and super tasty. Try the whole fish maybe share it with someone otherwise, it's about stir-fries, noodle soups and other Thai standards. Saigon Pho is a Vietnamese stall specialising in that country's national dish. Delicious and rich, the pho is delightful and slurping down a bowl makes for a happy lunch-hour.
Worree BBQ is a Korean stand that pumps out standards such as bibimbap and bulgogi. It's worth a visit if you've got kimchi on your mind. Kitchen OEC does tonkatsu and potato croquettes and attracts many fans. Other stalls of note include Top Choice Sizzling Hotpot, Fried Dumpling King and Nasi House. Cafe de Relax is also worth a mention. It offers some decidedly un-Asian food. Try the hamburgers, steaks or other weird Western/Asian combinations. It's pretty strange. But fortune favours the brave.
Sussex Centre Food Court is open from 10am to 9pm.