12 Budget Eats Near SMU That Will Not Make Your Wallet Cry

By Shayanne Chang, Undergraduate, SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business 

Have you ever had your stomach grumble in the middle of class? For SMU students, it’s hard not to when our entire city campus is surrounded by a plethora of food spots from one end to the other. Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a seasoned campus dweller, we uncover the hidden gems and popular spots where you can indulge in a world of delicious cuisine while sticking to a wallet-friendly budget. (Because there are days when your wallet is an onion; when you open it, you cry!)


1. The Food Place by Food Junction @ Raffles City

In a country filled with culinary variety, what better way to find exactly that than in a food court? Situated in the vicinity of SMU, the well-known Raffles City Shopping Centre houses The Food Place – a food court with over 20 stalls (with halal and vegetarian options) offering different cuisines at different price points.


2. Butter Bean @ Funan

It was at this modern Nanyang coffee concept cafe in Funan Mall where I met my B.F.F. (and no, I don’t mean “Best Friend Forever”). This BreadTalk-owned and halal-certified establishment offers local delights, drinks, and fun sandwich sets – my favourite being the “Battered Fish Fillet”! To top it off, Butter Bean even has a student deal where we can enjoy any sandwich and Iced Milo/Kopi Latte at only $6.20 on Weekdays between 12 pm and 5 pm.


3. The Tree Cafe @ Funan

Image credit: National Heritage Board

The halal-certified Tree Cafe situated on the second floor of Funan Mall serves Western and Asian-fusion-inspired food, drinks and desserts (with vegetarian options) that are sure to satisfy your hunger pangs! Also offering a student deal, students enjoy $2 off all mains here – truly value for money!


4. Supergreen @ SMU Connexion

Image credit: Supergreen via Grab

Located on the ground floor of Connexion, you’ll find a common lunch choice for SMU students at Supergreen (formerly known as “Mixed Greens”). You get to D-I-Y your bowls with healthy options that are delicious and perfect to fill you up before an afternoon of classes. Expect to spend about $5 for a bowl of super good food! Vegetarian options available.


5. Pasta Express @ SMU Connexion

Image credit: @ggrreedy via Eatbook

Right on the same stretch of food stalls at Connexion, we have our go-to pasta place. Pasta Express allows you to pick and choose your sauce, your choice of meat, vegetable and condiment for your pasta – all of which usually cost around $6 to $7! Better yet, add a cup of cool iced lemon tea to your lunch to wash it all down on a hot and sunny day.


6. Food Dynasty Food Court @ Lazada One

Just across SMU’s Campus Green, the bustling Food Dynasty Food Court at Lazada One offers diverse options such as western food and chicken rice (with halal options available). If that’s not enough, there are units on the same floor offering Starbucks, bubble tea, cream puffs and fruits!


7. 1983 A Taste of Nanyang Cafe @ SMU

Students walking through the Li Ka Shing library would be familiar with the savoury scent of a good curry chicken. Whipping up local foods at an affordable price under $7, this is a frequent lunch spot for SMU students and staff alike!


8. Ng Kuan Chilli Pan Mee @ Bencoolen

Image credit: Seth Lui


Just finished CCA and need a late-night supper spot? SMU seniors say there’s no better place than the chilli pan mee stall over at Bencoolen Street. With bowls of flavourful pan mee (with or without chilli), it’s a fantastic place to satisfy your hunger pangs with dishes costing less than $10 each, and have fun conversations with your friends!


9. Waterloo Centre Food Court

Waterloo Street offers an abundance of eateries alongside vibrant art galleries and historic temples. The bustling Waterloo Centre Food Court attracts a lively crowd of diners. On the other side of the building, one can also find the coffee shop, known to many SMU students as the “Waterloo Cai Fan”, which serves up plates of rice and Chinese dishes at below $5 each. This is a must-visit for a delectable experience that’s truly wallet-friendly!


10. The Big Cheese @ Sunshine Plaza


You can never say no to a good mac & cheese, and this quaint eatery at Sunshine Plaza has got you covered! With customisable boxes of cheesy goodness starting from $5.50, it’s perfect for both dine-ins and take-outs! This is a halal-certified establishment, with vegetarian options available.


11. Khoon Coffeehouse @ SMU

Image Credit: Eatbook


Located in our very own School of Economics, we have Khoon Coffeehouse, which serves good toasty buns alongside rice and noodle dishes that warm the heart. They are particularly known for their Yaowarat-style buns, priced between $2.20 and $2.40, with interesting flavours such as Kaya Milk and Lotus Biscoff! Vegetarian options are available.


12. Aladdin’s Castle @ Peace Centre

For more potential supper spots, one can never go wrong with prata! This is a fond favourite of mine, with the servers already knowing my usual order – one egg, one cheese egg prata, butter chicken, and a nice cup of iced milo “gao” (strong cold milo). The perfect meal for under $10! A halal-certified establishment, this place offers vegetarian options as well.