15 Underrated Food Items From Popular Eateries in Singapore To Try!

15 Underrated Food Items From Singapore’s Popular Eateries That Are Often Overlooked

Time to give credit to the underdogs of these famous establishments.

While some of Singapore’s most popular eateries like IKEA and Din Tai Fung are immediately associated with their #1 food items like Swedish meatballs and Xiao Long Baos respectively, what most people overlook are their underrated food items which, personally, deserve as much credit as their famous counterparts. 

Throughout my years, I’ve scoured Singapore’s popular eateries as any normal Singaporean would, and have found certain underrated food items that deserve as much praise and prevalence as what they’re immediately associated with. If you’re visiting any of these places soon, why not try skipping the usuals, and go for these food options which you might not have thought about ordering before? 

Also read: 6 Exotic Restaurants in Singapore That Let Your Taste Buds Do The Travelling


underrated food singapore

Image credit: IKEA Official Website

Ah, the iconic blue and yellow building. Like many Singaporeans, I enjoy spending my day at IKEA by starting my adventure dining at its restaurant before spending the rest of the afternoon galavanting throughout the labyrinth of showrooms.

Also read: You Can Now Enjoy IKEA’s Famous Meatballs Even While at Home

1. Mushroom soup

underrated food singapore

Image credit: IKEA Official Website

Yes, the Swedish meatballs here are amazing – that undoubtedly goes without saying. However, why not add this underrated appetiser to your meal: The mushroom soup here is both creamy and thick, as the soup is full of mushroom chunks and unlike the more diluted ones you’d find on the market. It’s an earthy and peppery soup full of body and substance, and rest assured that you’ll easily finish the bowl. 

A tip from someone who religiously orders this menu item is to fill the bowl up as much as you can as it’s self-service! 

2. Chocolate Cake with Crunchy Caramel

With a thicc layer of Daim chocolate as the topping and a hazelnut brittle-like cake texture, one bite of this cake will certainly have you craving for more. It’s the satisfying hazelnut bits and the melty chocolateness of the topping and even more hazelnuts in the cake that certainly make one wonder why it’s such an underrated food in Singapore. 

3. KAFFEREP Cream Cake with Almond paste, Almond, or Marzipan Cake

This one makes the list because its texture took me by surprise. Presented as a pink sphere with a chocolate sauce drizzle, I was surprised by its cross section as it’s a layer of raspberry jam sandwiched between a sponge cake and cold raspberry ice cream! Unfortunately, this seasonal item is only available until 30 Apr 2021. The combination of sensations and textures wrapped into one bite was a delight for my taste buds and I couldn’t help but wonder why this wasn’t a permanent menu item. 

For more information, check out their menu.


Tampines outlet: 60 Tampines North Drive 2, Singapore 528764

Alexandra outlet: 317 Alexandra Rd, Singapore 159965

Din Tai Fung

Welcome to dumpling paradise! I’m sure I’m not alone in spending my time waiting in long queues admiring the skilled chefs as they roll out the dough and fill each skin with the same amount of filling. This whole process operates like a factory line, where each dumpling looks identical. I’ve always been amazed in their ability to make this tedious process look as if it’s second nature. 

4. Oriental Salad in Special Vinegar Dressing

If you can relate to the dislike of the conventional vegetable-based salad as your appetiser, why not give this salad at Din Tai Fung a go instead? Consisting of shredded peppers, beancurd, beansprouts, and glass noodles tossed in a vinegar-based sauce, this starter will definitely leave you ready for your next meal. It’s a fresh, palatable starter to what will be a delectable and flavourful meal. 

5. Crispy Golden Prawn Pancake

This menu item cannot be missed: It’s a crispy beancurd-skin fishcake, except that every bite has juicy prawns. Very simply put, it’s a satisfying crunch of flavours that will only leave you wanting more.

6. Noodle with Spicy Sauce

Even though it looks unassuming, don’t be fooled as this noodle dish is a flavour bomb of what I’m guessing contains at least sesame oil, soya sauce, and chilli oil. Though it certainly tastes like a lot more goes into it, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t the case. 

Despite only consisting of noodles tossed with the spicy sauce amalgamation and some spring onions, it doesn’t shy away from being a delicious and scrumptious bite – it’s the perfect accompaniment to other dishes that you might plan on ordering. 

7. Steamed Finely Mashed Red Bean Xiao Long Bao

The sweet, mochi-like texture of red bean bao meets the bite-sized satisfaction of a Xiao Long Bao – and you have what’s exclusive to Din Tai Fung! The Steamed Finely Mashed Red Bean Xiao Long Bao is certainly a bite-sized treat of the classics combined into one flavourful dessert treat. Who said Xiao Long Baos should only be enjoyed as a savoury treat? 

8. Steamed Red Bean Xiao Long Bao with Chocolate Lava

But if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not order the chocolate lava version instead? Since you enjoyed the burst of soup from your Xiao Long Baos, it’s now time to fill your mouth with a burst of chocolate. This item will undeniably be a perfect dessert to end your meal at Din Tai Fung.

For more information, check out their menu.

Address: Islandwide

Tuk Tuk Cha

Image credit: CapitaLand

As we yearn for the days when we can take a short and affordable flight to Thailand to enjoy its local delicacies and shopping districts, the most we can do right now for a taste of this ideal destination is to sample Singapore’s Thai cuisine. 

While popular go-tos for Thai cuisine include Bali Thai, Nakhon, and our neighbourhood Soi Thai restaurants, we would be remiss to ignore the authentic Thai food Tuk Tuk Cha has to offer!

9. Main dishes

When I dropped by  the Tuk Tuk Cha near my house for a usual pre-lunch Thai Milk Tea beverage, I saw that the shop offers affordable lunch/combo meals – all under $12 – and I decided to give it a go! I ordered my favourite Thai dish (which unsurprisingly, many would say is Thailand’s national dish), Pad Thai. 

To my surprise, I was treated to a delectable and, dare I say, authentic tasting plate of noodles filled with tofu, seafood, all stir fried together with a yummy char, or wok hei. This dish took me back to the streets of Bangkok where I wouldn’t spend any more than $2 for the same thing! 

On another occasion when I returned to “splurge” on the combo meal, I opted for a basil minced pork rice, and the meat was stir fried to perfection with just the right amount of spice, basil, and gravy to coat the rice. It even came along with a fried egg with its yolk still runny and golden! Yummy. 

10. Butterfly pea beverages

Another tip would be to skip the normal Thai Milk Tea-based drinks and go for the butterfly pea-based drinks: Regardless of what you order, they’re all light and refreshing. A sip of this very underrated beverage will be a relief against our country’s perpetual heat.

11. Desserts

What other way to end a meal than with dessert? Their plethora of golden toast and Shibuya toast options will leave you wanting to order one of everything (I certainly had the desire to) as they all sound equally delicious yet sinful. With options ranging from condensed milk and milo/chocolate to mango, you’re certain to be left full but nothing short of satiated. 

For more information, check out their menu.

Address: Islandwide

Carl’s Jr.

Image credit: Choo Yut Shing

The go-to for thick, juicy burgers with a slightly higher price tag, Carl’s Jr. has always been the place to enjoy a burger with drool-inducing toppings like guacamole, onion rings, and sautéed onions. As someone who also enjoys crisscut fries, I get pulled by this restaurant every time. 

12. Beef Chili Cheese Fries

underrated food singapore

Image credit: Hafifa Haider

However, there are times when I’d go to Carl’s Jr. just for their signature beef chili cheese fries. All you need to know about this very underrated food item is that the cheesiness and beefiness of this is indescribable. Do yourself a favour and order this the next time you pass by a Carl’s Jr. 

For more information, check out their menu.

Address: Islandwide

J.CO Donuts & Coffee

Home to a variety of donut options and sizes, J.CO is the place for you if you’ve got a sweet tooth and need to satisfy your cravings. One of my favourite memories of this place is when I was in Johor Bahru’s malls resting at KSL’s J.CO. I would tap on their outlet’s WiFi and catch up on all the hullabaloo on social media. It’s a reliable place to get some decent connectivity. 

13. Frappuccinos, or J.COFFEE

This is where I discovered J.COFFEEs, or J.CO’s very own frappuccinos! While known for its donuts, the J.COFFEEs at J.CO deserve as much credit: They’re nothing short of impressive as they come in a myriad of flavours and are absolutely rich and thick! As someone who appreciates a good chocolate and mint combo, my personal favourite is the Choco Mint Frappe – it’s a cup of decadent chocolatey goodness. 

Similar in consistency and taste to what you’d find at Starbucks or Coffee Bean, J.CO’s frappuccino is a must-try.  Besides, this underrated beverage is certainly a much more wallet-friendly option. 

For more information, check out their menu.

Address: Islandwide

Burger King

14. Hershey’s Sundae Pie

It is a chocolatey, brownie-like thicc crust combined with a cold, chocolate ice cream cake, and the hardened layer of chocolate ganache drizzle on top. Need I say more? This dessert item is every chocolate lover’s dream. This dessert is so underrated in Singapore, I’m genuinely surprised that more people aren’t aware of it. 

For more information, check out their menu.

Address: Islandwide

NamNam Noodle Bar

If you’re thinking of spending your weekend hanging out in Singapore’s quintessential shopping district, NamNam would be the perfect place if you’re craving some Vietnamese cuisine. NamNam offers the typical options you’d find at any Vietnamese restaurant, like pho, banh mi, and Vietnamese coffee. 

15. Crispy Fried Banana with Coconut Sauce

Why not add this dessert after your main course? The crispy and sweet bananas combined with the warm and melty coconut sauce topped with crunchy peanuts is a delightful blend of textures, making this a pleasingly mouth-watering dessert for lovers of goreng pisang. I really enjoyed this delicious treat as it was the perfect ending to an already spectacular bowl of pho. Definitely don’t skip this underrated dessert the next time you plan on visiting Nam Nam. 

For more information, check out their menu.

Address: Islandwide

Also read: 10 Best Bakeries in Singapore That Everyone Should Try in Their Lifetime

Food treasures like these should not be kept secret. Instead, they should be widely known among as many people as possible. What else should be the point of food if it isn’t to share good finds (especially if they’re not as well known)? Be sure to add these underrated Singapore food items to your must-order list the next time you visit any of these places. Who knows, you might find a new favourite! 

About Author

Cassandra Nerva
Cassandra Nerva

Cassandra seeks comfort in warm blankets, period dramas, and all things hazelnut. If she's not getting carried away with a wartime novel or decorating her house with plants & fairy lights, she's uncovering hidden gems around her as she continues to embrace her keen sense of adventure.


Related Posts