What do Singaporeans love the most? Ask anyone and they’d probably give you 1 of 2 answers: food and freebies. Today, we marry the two with an ultimate guide to restaurants that offer free, free-flow food.
And I’m not talking about buffets — of course buffets offer free-flow food lah, who don’t know?! You just have to pay through your nose for it.
9 non-buffet restaurants for free-flow food
Instead, the restaurants on this list offer free food — usually sides and/or salad bar stuff — when you dine there.
|Restaurant||Complimentary free-flow dishes||What you need to order|
|Morton’s the Steakhouse||Free steak sandwiches||With cocktails during happy hour ($15.95)|
|Keisuke Singapore restaurants||Free beansprouts and hard-boiled eggs||With any main course order (from $9.90)|
|Hifumi||Free appetiser buffet||With any main course order (under $20)|
|Aston’s Steak and Salad||Free salad bar||With any main course order (from $22.90)|
|PS. Cafe||Free truffle fries||Only on Truffle Thursdays|
|Just Acia||Free coffee, soft drinks and ice-cream||With any set meal order (from $6.30)|
|Tonkichi||Free rice and cabbage||With any tonkatsu set (from $17.80)|
|Pecori Japanese Egg Restaurant||Free coffee, tea, soup, dessert and salad dishes||With any main course order (under $15)|
|Cedele||Free bread||With daily soup order ($8.80)|
Do note that these are not soup kitchens so you can’t just waltz in and whack all the food. You’ll need to at least order something from the menu.
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1. Morton’s the Steakhouse — free steak sandwiches when you order a $15.95 cocktail
Let’s start with (what I feel is) the best deal on the list: Morton’s the Steakhouse’s Mortini Nights. Happy Hour is 5pm to 7pm from Monday to Saturday, and during this time, Morton’s martini cocktails go for $15.95.
That’s not exactly cheap, but according to food blogger Seth Lui, apparently the drinks have double the booze per glass (3oz instead of the usual 1.5oz shot). If that’s indeed true, that I’d say it’s quite “wu hua” leh.
But that’s not even the best part. During Happy Hour, diners also get to enjoy free-flow Filet Mignon steak sandwiches! Morton’s is known for their quality steaks, so if you can’t afford (or bear to) pay for a main course, this is the next best thing.
Morton’s the Steakhouse address: 5 Raffles Ave, Fourth Storey Mandarin Oriental, Singapore 039 797
2. Keisuke Singapore — free-flow beansprouts & eggs for all diners
The Keisuke chain of Japanese restaurants have some 19 outlets all over Singapore, featuring 16 unique concepts with different specialties like hamburg steaks, gyoza, lobster ramen and more.
The one thing they all have in common is the complimentary (and super freaking delicious) beansprouts and hard-boiled eggs. As long as you order a main course, you can help yourself.
The prices depends on which restaurant you go to and what main course you order. For example, if you go to the ramen places, the cheapest bowl can be as cheap at $9.90. However, at Keisuke Hamburg Steak, the cheapest main is $19.80 (Keisuke Prime Beef Hamburg Steak Set).
That said, the more expensive outlets are the ones with a full salad bar, which is what you’re paying for I guess. The salad bars have 20 to 25 dishes, including soba, daikon, tamago and more.
Keisuke address: Check the official Keisuke Singapore website for information on all 19 outlets.
3. Hifumi — free-flow Japanese side dishes with every main ordered
Like Keisuke, Hifumi is a Japanese restaurant. Hifumi’s concept is a free appetiser buffet with every main course ordered. The spread changes monthly; you can follow their Facebook page for the latest updates.
The free dishes are usually quite impressive: this month (October 2019), there’s deep-fried gyoza, braised streaky pork with gobo and eggs, and sukiyaki meat tofu, among others.
At usual price, most of their mains are under $20. However, Hifumi does have weekday promotions from time to time. Currently, the lunch-time promotion features main courses for just $9.99.
Hifumi Singapore address: 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, #02-106A/106B, Singapore 039 594
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4. Aston’s Steak and Salad — free salad bar with every main ordered
Aston’s is known for their affordable Western fare, but did you know that they have a few premium restaurants too? Aston’s Steak and Salad is one of them, and one of the highlights is the Aston’s Supreme Salad Buffet.
It’s basically a free-flow salad bar with all the sides. If you order if a la carte, it’s a whopping $19.90. However, if you order a main course (any except the burgers), you will entitled to the free dishes too.
I wouldn’t exactly call the salad bar “free” though. The prices at Aston’s Steak and Salad are really jacked up compared to the regular Aston’s. For instance, the Prime Sirloin Steak is $16.90 usually, but $29.90 instead, and the $10.90 grilled chicken mains are $22.90 here.
Aston’s Steak and Salad address: The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road
#03-28/28A Singapore 238 843 and Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard
#03-145/146 Singapore 039 594.
5. PS. Cafe — free truffle fries on Truffle Thursdays
The once-trendy Projectshop may have shut its doors long ago, but PS. Cafe is still going strong as one of the most popular chi-chi restaurants in Singapore.
The restaurant is best known for “inventing” truffle fries. If you’re a fan of the dish, make sure you go for their Truffle Thursday event, which happens every first Thursday of the month. Which outlet it’s at depends on the month; you can check for updates on PS. Cafe’s events calendar.
There’s not much information on it online and I’ve personally never attended it, but from what I hear, it’s quite a social event. You shouldn’t expect to sit down and order complimentary servings of truffle fries.
Instead, most people order drinks, and pick the free truffle fries off the plates of the waiters walking around.
PS. Cafe address: Multiple outlets. Check their locations and addresses at the PS. Cafe website.
6. Just Acia — free-flow coffees, soft drinks and ice-cream for all set meals
Just Acia is a super affordable restaurant with Asian-fusion food. The set meal prices start at just $6.30, which is insane, especially considering all the free stuff it comes with.
All set meals come with free-flow beverages and ice-cream. It sounds meh, but the free selection is not half bad: it includes drinks like root beer float, as well as 6 flavours of ice-cream.
The food menu is quite extensive, and features rice sets, ramen/udon, and even spaghetti mains. If you just want the cheapest item to “unlock” the free drinks and desserts, that’ll be the gyoza set ($6.30).
Just Acia address: Multiple outlets. Check their locations and addresses at the Just Acia website.
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7. Tonkichi — free-flow rice and cabbage with the tonkatsu pork cutlets
Tonkichi is popular for their deep-fried tonkatsu signature pork cutlets, which come a free flow rice and cabbage. It may sound “meh”, but don’t knock it just because you aren’t a fan of carbs and vegetables.
Tonkichi serves top-grade Akita Komachi rice that’s imported from Iwate, Japan. The cabbage is thinly slice and is meant to be paired with tonkatsu. If you find it too plain, you can add the sesame salad dressing for some added flavour.
The restaurant serves sushi platters and donburi rice bowls too, but the free stuff only comes with the tonkatsu sets, which are $17.80 to $26.80. The cheapest one is the Chicken Katsu set ($17.80).
Tonkichi address: Multiple outlets. Check their locations and addresses at the Tonkichi website.
8. Pecori Japanese Egg Restaurant — free-flow coffee, tea, soup, dessert and salads
As its name suggests, Pecori Japanese Egg Restaurant focuses on egg main dishes. Most of them are omurice, which is rice topped with a gooey omelette. Most mains are under $15, with a few that are even under $10.
It gets better: for every main ordered, diners can enjoy free-flow coffee, tea, soup, dessert (pudding) and a few salad dishes (usually potato salad, bean sprouts, and kimchi).
Pecori’s Facebook page is incredibly outdated — the menus posted are from 2015 — but this is one of Clara’s favourite haunts, and the last time she went (about a month ago), the free-flow drinks and food were still available.
Pecori Japanese Egg Restaurant address: 177 River Valley Road Liang Court Shopping Centre, Singapore 179 030
9. Cedele — free-flow bread with the daily soup ($8.80)
With over 30 outlets in Singapore, Cedele needs little introduction. It’s not exactly the cheapest, but it’s known for its healthy menu and gourmet breads.
Speaking of breads… Cedele offers free-flow bread with their daily soups ($8.80), which is the cheapest “food” on the menu. It’s not a main course, but if you have a small appetite, just the soup and breads will fill you right up.
Cedele is renowned for their gourmet breads, so the best part is that the free bread is actually nice. It’s not like the gross, stale stuff that Cafe Cartel used to have…
Although the complimentary bread is for soup orders, I’ve seen many people help themselves to it. Anyone can go up to the bread bar, and so far, I’ve not seen the staff stop anyone.
Cedele address: Multiple outlets. Check their locations and addresses at the Cedele website.
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Other ways to score free-flow food
Aside from the above, here are some other generic places you can try your luck at:
1. Free-flow soup at bak kut teh restaurants
Almost all bak kut teh restaurants allow soup refills. Usually the waiters will go around and offer a top-up, but if they don’t, don’t be shy to ask. Popular bak kut teh restaurants include Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, Old Street Bak Kut Teh, and my all-time favourite, Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh.
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2. Free-flow banchan at authentic Korean restaurants
At Korean restaurants, the banchan are the free appetisers served before your main course arrives. Depending on the restaurant, you may get 4 to 6 small plates of kimchi, spinach, beansprouts and more.
I am a huge fan of Korean food (and BBQ), and for a very long time, didn’t know you could request for it to be refilled. It was only after one time when I really, really liked the spinach did I ask the waitress, who kindly obliged. I’ve not looked back since…
3. Free-flow curry gravy at Indian prata restaurants
When you order prata at Indian restaurants, it will come served with a plate of curry gravy. If you’ve always just accepted whatever you were served, you’re missing out!
You can actually request for different curry gravies: for example, they usually serve chicken curry, but I prefer fish, so I’ll ask for it. If you’re super “paiseh”, there are some prata places (like Springleaf Prata) that have a counter where you help yourself to the gravy.
Although not a prata place, Mr YouTiao also serves refillable curry with their you tiao set. According to Valerie, who is a huge fan, the gravy usually comes with a lot of “liao” like potatoes too!
Do you have any other lobang for free-flow food? Tell us in the comments!