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What Are The Cheapest And Most Expensive Foods To Buy At A Coffeeshop

Where to get $0.50 Kopi O.

Nasi lemak, chicken rice, mee rebus, lor mee, wanton noodles and fishball noodles.

Singaporeans can most likely rattle off a list of the must try local dishes. With affordable hawker food widely accessible in Singapore, the food nation is particularly sensitive when the price of a bowl of fishball noodles increases by 50 cents.

That’s because they can walk to another block or the next stall for an alternative meal in order to beat the price increase.

But with inflation climbing higher, is it getting tougher to combat the increase in food prices?

The Institute of Policy Studies from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore went the extra mile to find out about the food price trends in Singapore.

To find out the true cost of eating out in Singapore, the school and its researchers painstakingly went on a food quest to record the pricing of the various food dishes and our favourite local coffeeshop drinks.

So are you curious to find out what are the cheapest and most expensive foods to buy at a coffeeshop in 2023?

Read Also: Real Estate Assets to Watch Out For During High Inflation

Cheapest Drink: Kopi O (From $0.50)

There is no added milk in the drink, making it cheaper than if milk is added. With an average price of $1.09, it is slightly lower than national average prices found by the Department of Statistics.

There is a 30 cents difference depending on where you get your cuppa of beans too. At hawker centres, a cup will cost $0.99 on average and at a food court you will have to pay around $1.26.

Among the stalls surveyed, there are stalls selling Kopi O at the cheapest prices of $0.50 to $0.60, found in selected hawker centres, food courts and kopitiams located at Sembawang, Woodlands, Geylang, and Seng Kang.

Kopi O prices:

Most hawker centres – $1.00 per cup
Most food courts – $1.10 per cup
Most kopitiams – $1.20 per cup

The place with the most expensive Kopi O:

A food court in Novena – $2.40 per cup

The place with the cheapest Kopi O:
Some stalls in Sembawang, Woodlands, and Seng Kang – $0.50 per cup

Most Expensive Drink: Iced Milo (Maximum price of $3.50)

The average cost for a cup of iced milo is $1.81. The cheapest cup can be found in hawker centres and the priciest in food courts.

There is a 50 cents difference on average depending on where you buy your iced milo. At hawker centres, a cup will cost $1.66 on average, while a food court prices a cup at $2.13 on average.

In general, a cup of iced milo costs below $2.50. The cheapest iced milo is found to be sold in selected stalls at $1.00, at Jurong West and Bukit Merah.

Iced milo prices:

Most hawker centres – $1.50 per cup
Most food courts – $1.90 or $2.40 per cup
Most kopitiams – $1.80 per cup

The place with the most expensive iced milo:

A stall in Jurong West – $3.50 per cup

The place with the cheapest iced milo:

Some stalls at Jurong West and Bukit Merah – $1.00 per cup

Cheapest Food: 1 Plain Prata + 1 Egg Prata (From $2.20)

Among other main dishes, a prata combination of one plain prata and one egg prata (prata set) was most affordable at an average price of $2.97, with the cheapest priced at $2.20. (Vegetarian beehoon set is the second cheapest main dish, at $3.18, followed by the breakfast set at $3.27.)

Hawker centres sell prata sets at the lowest price, and in general a set will cost less than $4, in a survey of 298 stalls.

Interestingly, the cost of a prata set differs in different parts of Singapore. The prices were significantly lower in the West compared to the Central region. The North and the Central reported the largest range in prices – the lowest price in both regions was $2.20 and the highest price was $4.40.

1 plain and 1 egg prata (prata set) prices:

Most hawker centres – $3.00
Most food courts – $2.90 or $3.00
Most kopitiams – $3.00

The place with the most expensive prata set:

Some stalls in Woodlands and Toa Payoh – $4.40

The place with the cheapest prata set:

Some stalls in Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, Sembawang, and Geylang – $2.20

Read Also: How Budget 2023 Helps Singaporean Households Deal With Inflationary Pressures And The GST Rate Increase

Most Expensive Food: Chicken Chop ($7.58 On Average)

The costliest dish is chicken chop ($7.58), followed by chicken briyani ($6.44), and sliced fish soup with rice ($5.54).

The highest recorded price of chicken chop is $11.90. In hawker centres, the dish cost on average $6.90. Prices of chicken chop are found to be significantly lower in the central region compared to the west.

The cheapest chicken chop is sold in Yishun, at $4.00.

Chicken chop prices:

Most hawker centres – $7.00
Most food courts – $7.90 or $8.90
Most kopitiams – $7.50

The place with the most expensive chicken chop:

Two stalls at Bedok and Tampines – $11.90

The place with the cheapest chicken chop:

A stall in Yishun – $4.00

Where To Eat The Cheapest Priced Foods – Hawker Centres

These trends clearly indicate that while food establishments like hawker centres, food courts, and kopitiams are viewed as more affordable options, there is still variation in the prices of food and drinks sold in these establishments, depending on the content.

But in general, hawker centres price their offerings at lower prices, followed by kopitiams, then food courts.

Food items that are the least consistent in pricing: iced milo, breakfast set, economic rice, and economic bee hoon set

  • There are more variations for these foods and drinks, as observed by the study.

It was also observed that the pains of having to deal with the inflation of both rental and ingredient prices were felt not only by stall owners who had to close their businesses, but also by stall owners whose businesses were still in operation.

Overall prices of popular drinks in Singapore:

Food Item Overall Hawker Centre Food Court Kopitiam
Kopi O $1.09 $0.99 $1.26 $1.13
Kopi $1.21 $1.10 $1.40 $1.25
Iced Milo $1.81 $1.66 $2.13 $1.86
Iced Lime Juice $1.68 $1.54 $1.96 $1.71
Canned Drink with Ice $1.54 $1.42 $1.64 $1.61


Overall prices of popular food dishes in Singapore:

Food Item Overall Hawker Centre Food Court Kopitiam
Breakfast Set $3.27 $3.17 $3.30 $3.30
Chicken Rice $3.80 $3.72 $4.64 $3.68
Economic Rice $3.44 $3.36 $4.17 $3.32
Wanton Noodles $3.92 $3.72 $4.90 $3.85
Fishball Noodles $3.72 $3.46 $4.51 $3.71
Sliced Fish Soup with Rice $5.54 $5.32 $6.14 $5.48
Economic Bee Hoon Set $3.48 $3.20 $4.50 $3.49
Vegetarian Bee Hoon Set $3.18 $2.85 $3.24 $3.41
Nasi Lemak $3.49 $3.29 $4.49 $3.50
Chicken Briyani $6.44 $5.94 $7.29 $6.52
Mee Rebus $3.58 $3.41 $4.02 $3.61
Prata (1 Plain and 1 Egg) $2.97 $2.88 $3.16 $2.97
Chicken Chop $7.58 $6.90 $8.03 $7.65

The Cheapest Food Combination Goes To…

In a nutshell, here’s how you can combine your drink and food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you want to save the most money.

The best option is to go for Kopi O + economic rice or Kopi O and a prata set.

Read Also: How Do We Invest To Protect Our Money Against Inflation?

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