The 50 Cents Fest is back at Chinatown Food Street for its third edition and this year, it’s bigger and better with a 1930s colonial theme. Located along Smith Street, customers will be treated to over 40 stalls and mobile vendors with close to 50 different street eats, drinks, snacks and dessert items that will take them right back to the Singapore of the 1930s.
For as little as 50 cents to no more then $3, guests will be able to enjoy dishes such as satays, Hokkien mee, Kerabu Bee Hoon and even black pepper crab.
The event, which is part of the annual Singapore Food Festival welcomed over 81,500 Singaporeans and tourists over the two days that it was held last year and it expects just as many, if not more, this year too.
One of the first dishes we tried as we entered the packed 50 Cents Fest were the classic satays. We got four sticks of satays ($2) in a cup with satay sauce and cucumbers. The meat was tender and smoky. The sauce was tangy and just spicy enough. Overall, for the price, we felt like we really got our money’s worth with it.
Next up was the Belacan Fried Rice ($0.50) which looked really exciting with huge mounds of fried rice sitting in woks and waiting to be served. Unfortunately, the fried rice was tasteless and bland. It was also rather dry. This was probably because the fried rice was not cooked fresh but was left out for some time before it was served.
However, our taste buds were rewarded when we chanced upon a stall selling Bak Chor Mee Pok ($1). The noodles were served dry and with a hearty serving of minced meat. The chilli added was just the right amount and every mouthful was flavourful and delicious.
Next up was Roti John ($0.50). I’m not a huge fan of Roti John so to me, I felt that there was too much sauce added and that the taste of the Roti John was masked by it. However, my companion, who loves Roti John, throughly enjoyed it and even remarked that it reminded him of his primary school days when he would eat this in the canteen with his friends at recess. Which technically, is the point of this fest.
As we continued to venture further into the festival, we were excited to chance upon a stall selling Char Kway Teow ($0.50). We were handed a cup that was only a quarter filled with the noodles and were disappointed to find that it tasted rather plain and unremarkable. There was also no chili added which made it rather tasteless. Certainly not worth your money.
Next up was Putu Piring ($0.50) which is a childhood favourite of many. We watched fascinated as the stall owners worked almost like machines methodically packing and steaming the treat. The final product was served hot and with a generous helping of coconut shavings. We couldn’t stop raving about how much the taste just reminded us of our childhoods. This is something you shouldn’t miss if you do decide to come down.
As we walked around with our Putu Piring, we decided to do a very typically Singaporean thing by joining the longest queue there was. As it goes, the longest queue usually means the best food and we were rewarded for our time with a full, steaming cup of Hokkien Mee ($1.50). The noodles were served with one large prawn and lots of tiny pieces of squid. You had the option of adding chilli (which we did) and squeezing a lime into it.
The noodles were delicious and practically melted in our mouths. The sauce was just thick enough and coated the noodles beautifully. The serving was also really generous for the price we paid. If nothing else, the Hokkien Mee is the one dish you should come down to try.
To end off, we decided to get some Gelato to keep us cool in the sweltering heat. The Magnolia Raspberry Ripple ($0.50) was served in a mini cone and it was refreshing, sweet and easy to eat while being jostled by crowds of people.
In total, we spent $10 on all the food including three Fanta Oranges ($0.50) which were totally necessary in the heat and to combat the spice of some of the dishes. And yes, we did end up leaving feeling really full and happy.
If you’re hoping to go down to try some of these foods yourself, make sure you go quick because the 50 Cents Fest is over on the 29th of July.
Enjoy the atmosphere and the food and let yourself be transported back to your childhood with this incredible Fest.