You know how it is when we have a movie to catch at night and we need to have dinner first? Or you just want to have something fuss-free for lunch before your next meeting?

I often hear “No time to eat!”, while hurrying and gobbling through your meals is not the healthiest option.

The trick is to grab something easy to eat and to make that quick meal just as enjoyable. Some quick tips for Express Eats are:
1) Pick the shops with no queue
2) Look for shops with high ‘turnover’ – they can clear customers fast.
3) Order foods that are easy to take away and quick to eat such as sandwiches, bagels or smoothies.
4) Be decisive about what you want to order. The onus is on you.
5) Have a drink ready to help clear the palate and digest the food.

Be it for your lunch break or meeting a friend for a quick casual meal, here are 10 easy, reasonably-priced and tasty (of course) options to enjoy.

Chicken Rice & Noodle Houses
Whenever my colleagues need a quick meal, it will be chicken rice. When we need to ‘ta-bao’ (takeaway) many packets for the family, it will be chicken rice. Cheap, fast and good. There are also noodle houses such as the Chiew Kee and Chew Kee at Upper Cross Street serve delicious Cantonese style soya sauce chicken rice and noodles in lighting speed.

Average time taken: 15 minutes
Likelihood to be late: No. As long as you do not mind sharing tables.

Canteen Style Restaurants
Canteen style restaurant such as IKEA allows you to have a full meal or quick snack after shopping. The food does not take too long to arrive – it’s kind of prepared. During weekends and peak hours, the queue can go snakingly long, but they are efficient. Items to have: Swedish meatballs, salmon with lemon & dill sauce, curry chicken with rice, baked chicken legs with herbs, and of course the signature chicken wings – goes well with a can of Coke.

Average time taken: 20 minutes
Likelihood to be late: Maybe, especially only during off peak. Good luck with the queuing.

Ramen Shops
Ramen are known to be fast and convenient for the busy executives, which is why the Japanese are can slurp their noodles quickly. If you are dining alone, get a counter seat, and you can get a bowl of hot rich tonkotsu ramen with ajitamta egg in no-time. In a no-queue situation, and if you are decisive about your orders, you can almost enter, order and leave the shop in 15 minutes.

Average time taken: 15 minutes
Likelihood to be late: No, especially if you are dining alone, unless you spot a queue.

Conveyor Belt Sushi Restaurants
No need to read the menu, no need to speak to a waiter, no need to wait (assumption there is no queue), no even need for the food to be cooked. Yes, the beauty of the sushi-go-round conveyor belt sushi. You just need to pick your selection from the stream of sushi moving along, and billed via the number of coloured plates.

Average time taken: 20 minutes
Likelihood to be late: No, unless you are indecisive.

Hong Kong Cha Chaan Teng
The type of restaurant only marginally slower than a Japanese sushi bar is the Hong Kong Cha Chaan Teng, which can serve hundred to thousand different combinations of items, and still churn them out fast.

Average time taken: 25 minutes
Likelihood to be late: Perhaps not, that’s if you can get the attention of the wait staff.

Hawker Centres
Choose the stall with no queue, go to the nearest table, and you are likely to be done in 10 minutes. I usually like going to Zion Road Food Centre as there are usually short lines, airy spaces and abundance of good food like the prawn noodles. You even have time to have a can of ice-cold Coke and take a breather from the hot weather.

Average time taken: 20 minutes
Likelihood to be late: No. Unless the person in front of you is buying more than 10 packets.

My theory is, dining in kopitiam is generally faster than in a hawker centre because sometimes stall owners can send the food to you, and servers from the drink stall can take orders from your table. Sometimes. Western stalls in coffeeshops such as Char Grill Bar are known to have a motto of “fast, high end productivity and management” to cook up a fare of American, Italian and French styles western cuisines.

Average time taken: 15 minutes
Likelihood to be late: No.

Zhi Char Stalls
A ‘zhi char’ stall is known to be a all-rounder Chinese food stall serving a wide variety of a la carte dishes usually with white steamed rice and soups, and they usually have the highest sales turnover within an eating house. Order the standard dishes, avoid claypot foods, and you can make it in time.

Average time taken: 25 minutes
Likelihood to be late: Yes, if you order more than 3 dishes. No, if you order the standard fried rice or horfun.

Sandwich Shops
Sandwich shops offer quick fixes loaded with ingredients, and you can always choose to takeaway for something on the go. For the health conscious, do you know that Subway offers Fresh Fit Subs with only 6 grams of fat or less? Have a Coke light or Coke zero to go along.

Average time taken: 15 minutes
Likelihood to be late: No, chances are low.

If you are indeed in a hurry, and if all else fails, go to the trusty kiosks (usually in the basement of shopping malls) for a wholesome filling (and sometimes sinful) curry puff.

Average time taken: 5 minutes
Likelihood to be late: No, you have no excuses.

What are some of your favourite “Express Eats”? Let me know.

*Brought to you in partnership with Coca-Cola®. Follow @cokesg on twitter to get more cool information on similar articles.



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