Ever had a quick Mex fix at Chipotle in the States? Then you’ll understand our pain – and how infuriating it is to have to live a Chipotle-less life back home in Singapore. Forget the fancy dining places that charge you $20 for a plate of two tacos and some artfully dribbled guac; what we’re hankering after is the quick and easy Subway-style takeaway characteristic of the true Chipotle experience. It came to a point where we just couldn’t stand another day in the absence of a hearty burrito rice bowl; so we took the time to hunt down the best fuss-free, Chipotle-style Mexican joints on the island – worth every glorious calorie.
Guzman y Gomez
Quick Duolingo lesson of the day: ‘Y’ means “and” in Spanish – so we’re guessing Guzman and Gomez are the representative names founder Steven Marks chose to ‘honour old friends and introduce Mexican food and Latin culture to the world’. The New Yorker first started the business when he moved to Australia and became frustrated by the lack of Mexican options; so you can bet that GYG gets it in trying to recreate the Chipotle magic. Serving up build-your-own burritos (starts at $10.90 for regular), burrito bowls ($10.90), and tacos (2 for $8.50), the portions are generous and flavourful – and instant, to boot. Previously a luxury available chiefly to those working in the CBD, GYG’s no-frills, quick service is now accessible to those in the West too (hello Star Vista!) A newly opened outlet in Pasir Panjang means the Easties can get in on the yums too; but really, we’re just excited to see this chain grow.
Address: Asia Square Tower 2 #02-11 | Chevron House #B1-07 | The Star Vista #01-32 | Mapletree Business City
The Star Vista: 10.30am – 9.30pm daily
All other outlets: 10.30am – 8.30pm (Mon to Fri)
More info at gyg.com.sg
Burrrrrr(p)itos, please! Everyone knows Muchachos, especially for their monster-sized burritos that are large enough for sharing. Slide down the “factory line” of carbs, fillings, and sauces; Subway-style for the authentic Mexican fast-food joint experience. For a sure-fire winning meal, load up the soft tortillas with rice, beans, your choice of meat, and salsa. And guacamole, of course! For first-time Mexican diners, don’t let the daunting appearance of the black beans frighten you – they add a surprisingly powerful punch of flavour and texture. Word of caution though: mightier than the regular bean, these do give you gas.
Address: 22 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089129
Opening hours: 12pm – 4pm & 6pm – 10pm (Mon to Thurs), 12pm – 12mn (Fri & Sat)
More info at muchachos.sg
If you’ve got some real time to kill, the dining experience at Baja Fresh is less do-it-yourself and more casual restaurant, which makes it a great after-school/work chilling spot. Located just opposite SMU, the joint offers student discounts for anyone with a valid student ID. Come for the typical Mex fare (tacos, bowls, burritos all priced from $10.95), but stay for the full variety on offer – quesadillas, fajitas, and a fully stocked, free-flow salsa bar. Picking a main might leave you a little frazzled, but dessert is straight to the point, and definitely hits the sweet spot – churros ($4.50) and chocolate sauce ($2); what else?
Address: 9 Bras Basah Road, Rendezvous Gallery #01-03, Singapore 189558
Opening hours: 8.30am – 10pm (Mon to Thurs), 8.30am – 11pm (Fri to Sun)
More info at bajafresh.com.sg
At first glance, Mex Out wins our pick for best ambiance. The décor is sleek and chic, and reminds us surprisingly of Korean style cafes. Spring for a burrito ($9.90 for small, $12.90 for large) if you’re just looking to fill up, or a set of tacos (3 for $12.90) for sharing; we’d recommend the rice bowl that comes intriguingly in a silver mess tin – great for the novelty and photos. Located in the CBD area as well, the restaurant makes a choice hangout for after-work drinks – there’s Corona, and margaritas and sangria are available in both jugs and glasses. Tip: go on Taco Tuesday, for happy hour $3.50 tacos ($3.50 for premium fillings) from 6 to 10pm.
Address: 39 Pekin Street, Far East Square, Singapore 048769
Opening hours: 11.30am – 10pm (Mon to Fri), closed on weekends
More info at mexout.com
Our latest discovery in fast food Mexican joints, Stuff’d is one of those blink-and-miss-it food kiosks regularly found at the basement of shopping malls – for those who are really on the go. That said, keep your eyes peeled for this humble chain; specialising in Mexican and Turkish fare, Stuff’d delivers hefty helpings of burritos and kebabs (to leave you stuffed!) at super wallet-friendly prices. Following the same Subway-style service, you can choose your own meats and ingredients for a burrito, bowl, quesadilla, or kebab – all for under $10, drink and side included. The chain is slowly expanding to more malls; with prices like that, we’re obviously thrilled.
Address: Bugis Junction #B1-K07 | Causeway Point #B1-K17 | City Square Mall #B1-K1 | Paya Lebar Square #01-61 | Tampines Mall B1-K13
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm daily
More info at facebook.com/stuffedsg
Featured image from facebook.com/guzmanygomezsingapore.