Best Hawkers For Expats!

  When the conversation of coffee shops come up around expats come up, Newton is ALWAYS mentioned. It’s the one in Crazy Rich Asians, it’s the one where people try sting ray for the first time, but it’s pretty touristy and they jack the prices up. So, I’ve come up with a list of my favourite hawkers across Singapore, and what my favourite food is from those places.


Best Things To Eat: Chicken Rice, Shanghai Dumplings

  This is my favourite hawker in the whole of Singapore; the food is so delicious and very reasonably priced. My top picks for food would be the chicken rice; there’s a lot of famous chicken rice stalls at Maxwell and they’re all so tasty. But my absolute top pick for food here is the Shanghai dumplings; they’re incredibly juicy and soft. And, the beer is cheap!

Bedok Food Centre

Best Things To Eat: Mala Xiang Guo

  I don’t know why people don’t talk more about this hawker- it’s MASSIVE and there are so many amazing and delicious things to try here. It gets very busy on the weekends to make sure to bring some tissues to chope your table! The mala xiang guo is very fresh and yummy and incredibly reasonably priced; I often find mala to be quite expensive if you’re eating for 1, but this only costs $5!

East Coast Park

Best Things To Eat: Satay

 Of course I was going to put this on the list- there are so many fantastic foods to try. I love the stingray, the carrot cake, the fried rice but especially the satay. People say that Lau Pa Sat has the best satay but I disagree- East Coast Park takes the gold. What’s more, the beer is the best here- so cheap!

Yishun Park Hawker Centre

Best Things To Eat: Mee Jiang Kuah

 This is my favourite hawker in the north. It’s near where I used to live so during circuit breaker I would go there once a week just to treat myself and get myself out the house. I would highly recommend the mee jiang kuah; these fluffy pancakes come in many different flavours. I like the charcoal and peanut butter ones.

Satay By The Bay

Best Things To Eat: BBQ Sting Ray and Kang Kong

Even though the satay here is very popular I would also recommend their tze char, especially their stingray and kang kong. This hawker is a great place to go after a cycle around the Marina Bay area. It feels so rewarding chomping down on delicious food after a long day exercising!

Honourable Mentions: Nasi Lemak at Boon Lay Food Centre; Curry Fish Head at Zion; Hokkien Mee at Chom Chom

What are some of your favourite local Singapore delights?

How To Survive The Next Economic Crash!

I think it’s safe to say that no one saw Covid-19 coming. None of us thought that we would be unable to travel, unable to see our family and none of us would have foreseen so many people losing their livelihoods, their jobs, and their lives.

  We may be lucky here in Singapore, but some were not so lucky. Those who lost their jobs have had to rely on their savings or may have even had to borrow money to stay afloat.

  Although we could not have predicted 2020, there are ways that we can prepare for another blip in our financial prosperity. Here is what I suggest.

  1. Manage your Debt

I feel like I’ve mentioned this already in previous articles but I cannot stress how important it is. When things go wrong, like losing a job for example, the monthly bills do not stop. Rent still has to be paid, the water bill will still have to be paid and, if you have debt, the monthly instalments don’t stop. That’s why it is imperative that you try and clear your debt or at least minimise your debt as soon as possible. That way, you can start focusing on other aspects of your financial life and focus on how you can grow money, not just how you can get through month to month.

2. Have an Emergency Fund

I really do sound like a broken record but, imagine if you lost your job and had no savings? You would either have to borrow money, or sell off your assets, neither of which are ideal. So, it is imperative that you are disciplined with keeping an emergency fund of at least 3 months of your salary. This money should be easy to access but not one that you dip into frequently. This fund should be for emergencies only, and used only when very necessary.

3. Have a Market Opportunity Fund

If you really want to take use of a market crash, it’s a good idea to have funds set aside for a market opportunity. This fund could be from extra savings each month from cutting your monthly expenses, or after managing your debt. You can then use this money for investing when markets are low. For example, buying stocks when they are cheap.

4. Be Disciplined With Your Investing

So, you bought some stocks cheap with your Market Opportunity Fund…now what? I would suggest making use of a term called ‘dollar cost averaging’. I have explained this term in my post ‘Investment Terms You Need To Know’. It is best to make your investing almost automatic; the same amount each month or year, so that you can weather the storm of market volatility. It means that you will earn more from your investments in the long run, instead of timing the market.

5. Diversify Your Investments

Look at what happened in 2020…the industries that were most affected were airlines, hotels, restaurants, bars and entertainment. People that had stocks in these companies could have lost a lot of money. Therefore, it’s best to diversify your investment portfolio so that you have a mixture of stocks, bonds etc in lots of different industries, to minimise the risk of loss.

6. Have a Side Hustle

My last point is really an optional one, to ensure that you never miss out on making money should another crash happen. Some people, like myself, are not able to have a side hustle (fyi because of my visa I cannot have more than one job). But, if you have a different skill or something that can be sold from home, it may be good to explore it further and monetise on it. For example, you may be very good at Photoshop or good at website design. These are services that you can sell and do whilst you are at home.

  Follow these steps and not only survive but thrive in the next market crash!

How I Planned My Finances

People often ask me how I became so financially literate and what I did to make myself financially stable. So, I thought I would share with you how I planned my finances in Singapore. First of all, I will say, I’m very lucky to have parents who taught me from a young age how to save and be frugal. But, moving to Singapore I realised I needed to do more than just save. So here’s how I did it.

Step One: Have an Emergency Fund

This first step was crucial, as you will see in my story later why. I saved 6 months’ salary in my bank account, as a buffer should anything happen. This meant that rent was never an issue, even with putting a deposit on a new rental and moving apartments. It also meant that I had less buyer’s remorse and I knew how much I could afford to spend on my days off.

Step Two: Spend Wisely

 Pre-covid, I travelled a lot. A lot of people, particularly those back home, would often ask me how I did it. It was really quite simple; I often travelled to countries where the Singapore dollar went far. I booked cheap accommodation and ate local food. This kept my budget quite low.

  Also, in Singapore I don’t tend to buy a lot of things. I mostly spend on going out for meals or activities with friends, which I find easier to manage, especially if the restaurants are cheap!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Step Three: Get Covered

Remember earlier I mentioned why an emergency fund is so important? Here’s why. In 2019 I found out I had to have an operation- it wasn’t a particularly big surgery, but it was a crucial one. My doctor had found a growth and was unsure if it was cancerous. It was causing me a lot of discomfort and affected my personal life greatly. I was told that the estimated bill would be roughly $19,000. Thankfully, I had health insurance. Even though foreigners have to pay the cost upfront, I managed to get every penny back through my hospital plan, even the doctor’s appointments leading up to the surgery. It was a massive relief. Luckily, I had the money upfront to pay, but can you imagine if I never got that back? Expats often see insurance as unimportant, maybe because healthcare is free back at home, but it’s a fact that Singapore is not a welfare state, so don’t treat it like one.

Step Four: Don’t Leave it Too Late

I went on to purchase critical illness coverage, as I knew deep down in the back of my head that having an operation at 25 (especially one where the C word comes up) is not normal. (I’m fine by the way, it wasn’t cancer.) So, I felt that it was best to be fully covered for critical illnesses. Hospital plans are not sufficient. Imagine if I were diagnosed with Cervical Cancer, and just had a hospital plan? It wouldn’t cover my change in lifestyle; having to take taxis everywhere; maybe hiring at home help; having to maybe order personalised meals. Not to mention the fact that I wouldn’t be able to work if I was going through chemo. A hospital plan definitely wouldn’t cover all of that.

Photo by Pixabay on

Step Five: Invest

Ok so I had an emergency fund, I was protected and covered insurance-wise. Now what? How did I make my money grow quicker than leaving it in the bank? My current DBS account has an interest rate of 0.005%…. I’m not being funny but that’s rubbish. So, I took a portion of my savings and invested it in unit trusts. I purchased investment policies that contained a mixture of sub-funds that are managed by portfolio managers. I’m not one to sit and watch stocks and manage that by myself, so I’m very happy to let a professional do that for me. This will help me achieve my long-term goals of purchasing a property and having a very comfortable retirement.

I pride myself on not living paycheque to paycheque; I actually can’t remember the last time I did live like that! I always reflect on these five things and review how on-track I am with my financial goals. I hope this helps those who are confused on where to start. How do you plan your finances? If you feel that you have any questions or need any help, please do get in touch.