The Ultimate Guide to Good Food in NTU (Halls & Cafes Included!)
Whether you’re stepping into Pulau NTU for the first time or returning back to school after summer break, you’ll be surprised by the NEW F&B establishments in school. How does Lu Rou Fan, or Ke Kou Mian sound? We are here to get your tummies ready for the new school term *gulps*.
Dams Western serves up lots of interesting dishes such as Sambal Spaghetti ($4.60), Miso Cream Pasta ($4.60) and Grilled Chicken with Satay Sauce ($5.80). We tried their highly recommended Chicken Katsu Don ($6) with an additional order of shimeiji mushrooms (+$1). The fried chicken cutlet was juicy but the highlight of our meal was, surprisingly, the rice which is topped with miso cream sauce and a flowy poached egg. Other add-ons include Beef Fries ($2.80/$4.80) and Garlic Fried Rice ($1.20/$2). The prices might be a tad steep for a student, but it definitely feels good to #treatyoself.
How can we leave this out from the list? The Ayam Penyet from Canteen 2 is THE hot favourite. Each order of Ayam Penyet ($4.50) comprises a plate of rice drizzled with chilli sauce, a basket of fried chicken with fried tau kwa, and MORE chilli. Beware, the chilli is extremely potent and will leave your lips tingling. We love the crispy bits littered all over the basket, and the well-marinated chicken which is tender and juicy. If you’re trying to eat clean (kinda, but not quite), get the steamed chicken instead of the fried chicken.
Xiao Long Bao
Xiao Long Baos are like little dumplings of joy. 6 pieces go for $4.30 here. We like that there is a good balance of both fatty and lean meat, but would have preferred the skin to be a tad thinner and smoother. This is still great for sharing though!
I’m not the biggest fan of chicken rice, but I would definitely come back for this particular one at Canteen 2. This unexpected gem is right next to the famous Ayam Penyet, with a much shorter queue (thank goodness). We recommend the Lemon Chicken Rice ($3). Mix the rice well with a dollop of their garlicky chilli sauce and savour it with the fried chicken. To get some greens in, you can add some cabbage for just $0.50.
Yong Tau Foo
Staying in hall means no more home-cooked meals, unless you’re willing to slave over the stove in the communal pantry in hall. If you’re looking for some homey food on a bad day, go for the Superior Pork Broth Set Meal ($4 for 8pcs minimum) from Canteen 2. You can even get brown rice (+$0.80) here. The pork broth, which is thicker and sweeter as compared to your run-of-the-mill Yong tau foo soup, is a must-try.
Canteen 2 is known for its waffles, but we decided to give the one at Canteen 10/11 a shot as well. The friendly server recommended the popular Ice-Cream Waffles ($2). Expect a whole waffle with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, drizzled with your choice of sauce (chocolate/strawberry/maple syrup). Honestly, I prefer the waffle here to the one at Canteen 2. I like that it is more fragrant, and slightly more crispy.
Sichuan Fragrant Garden
My friend raves about this Ma La Xiang Guo at Canteen 10/11, because of the huge portion. For just $4.80, you get a heaping bowl of ingredients in a huge bowl. Top up $2 for your choice of meat (chicken/beef/pork). Unlike other stores, the owner does not ask for your preferred level of spice. The default one is not too spicy and was manageable for my dining partner and me. The enormous portion serves 2 comfortably. Apart from this, Sichuan Fragrant Garden serves up an array of other Sichuan dishes, such as Beancurd Shredded Pork ($5.50), Boiled Chicken ($5) and Fried Rice ($2.50, $3.50 with chicken/beef/seafood).
Takashi Menya Japanese
Canteen 12/13 is extremely popular because of Takashi Menya Japanese, which has an extensive menu. Diners can look forward to Japanese tonkatsu ramen and even cha shu donburi bowls! We tried the highly recommended Japanese Tonkatsu Original Curry Rice ($5) which consists of a freshly fried pork cutlet, a mound of rice, and sweet Japanese curry. A few cubes of potato and carrot slices were thrown in the mix as well. We liked that the pork meat was lean, yet juicy, and much preferred it to the chicken version.
Burnz Western Cuisine
Burnz Western Cuisine used to be at Canteen 14 but has moved to Canteen 12/13. Their unique hot grill items are still as popular! We tried the Black Pepper Chicken ($6) which came with a small baked potato and a portion of baked beans, on a sizzling hot plate. The chicken was drenched with black pepper sauce, and topped with a generous portion of onions. Prefer other meats? You can find beef, pork, and lamb, as well.
Big Harvest Noodle (Banmian)
The queue here is crazy during meal times, but the friendly Uncle who cooks the noodles is rather efficient so you won’t have to wait too long. While there are a lot of options here (dumplings, fried fish, sliced fish etc), we recommend the foolproof Dry Banmian ($3). The silky smooth banmian noodles, which are made in-house, have a nice bite. We love how the splash of sweet black sauce binds together with the oozy runny egg and coats each strand of noodle perfectly. Portions run small so if you’re a big eater, add extra noodles.
Freshies rejoice, you don’t have to travel out of Pulau NTU to get your fried chicken fix. This NEW Taiwanese stall at Canteen 14 offers XL fried chicken cutlets that can rival the popular Shilin Fried Chicken. We got the XL Large Chicken Chop Rice ($5) which comes with a braised egg (卤蛋), pickled vegetables and cucumbers. The rice is drizzled with braised sauce. Do ask for more to prevent it from being too dry! We loved the freshly fried juicy chicken cutlet which was extremely crispy and not greasy. If you’re in the mood for something else, we recommend the Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice ($3.80).
Canteen 16 is known for its ramen. For $5 a bowl, this is a real steal! The Tonkatsu Ramen ($5) is highly recommended by the store owner, but they have lighter options such as the Shio Ramen ($5) as well. The broth of the ramen is thick and rich, but can be slightly on the salty side. It comes with 3 slices of lean pork meat, bamboo shoots, and black fungus.
Yong Tau Foo
I was DEVASTATED when the Quad Cafe (at SBS) closed down, because I love the yong tau foo there. Thankfully, we can still enjoy the stir-fried yong tau foo at Pioneer/Crescent Canteen as they have moved over earlier this year. The Yong Tau Foo here is probably not what you’re expecting. Instead of the usual yong tau foo which comprises a bowl of hot soup with ingredients, the yong tau foo here is served dry! Remember to pick the maggi mee, along with your choice of ingredients. After that, just tell the aunty “炒的” which means (fried one). A short wait gets you a freshly stir-fried plate of noodles. We love the generous eggy bits that come with your noodles, and the savoury-sweet black sauce. This is a good option if you’re craving a “level-up” cup noodles.
Canteen A (North Spine)
Mini Wok sees longer waiting times as compared to other stalls at canteen A. Their extensive menu includes dishes such as Kung Bao Chicken Rice ($3.50), Beef Hor Fun ($4.50), and Sambal Fish Fillet Rice ($4). We ordered the Black Pepper Chicken Rice ($4), and waited for about 10 minutes before our meal came in a literal mini wok. While the black pepper sauce was flavourful, it was more sweet than spicy. The chicken was extremely tender and lean, and the gravy came complete with sliced onions which added an extra sweetness and crunch. The dish is completed with a sunny-side up.
Canteen B (KouFu)
Ke Kou Mian
This NEW stall at Koufu sells Ke Kou Mian, sorta like jazzed up Maggi Mee. The Special ($3.50) comes with vegetables, tomato, minced pork and a sous vide egg. The Normal ($2.50) is a more affordable option, but does not include the sous vide egg and the tomatoes. A spicy version ($3.70) is also available.
Fluffy fu yong dan meets fried chicken – what’s not to love? The Hotplate Chicken Fuyong ($3.60) shows up at $4.30 on the signboard but actually costs $3.60. With at least 4-5 slices of fried chicken, and refillable miso soup, this dish will leave you full and satisifed. The fluffy omelette is doused in a savoury and slightly starchy sauce that goes well with rice. Pair it with a generous sprinkle of chilli flakes for a kick. Remember to eat the omelette quick, as it will get slightly charred at the bottom if it is left on the hotplate for too long. If you’re not that into chicken, they have shrimp and oyster versions as well.
Hive Co-Op Cafe
The queue might be a turn-off but the food is sure a turn-ON. The co-op cafe at the HIVE is suitable for our Muslim friends, as they are halal-certified. We tried the Carbonara ($5.50), which features chicken ham and mushrooms tossed together with penne in a creamy sauce. My 2 friends are not fans of carbonara, as it can be too heavy on the palate, but they couldn’t stop themselves from polishing off the whole portion of pasta. The creamy sauce is not too thick and coats each piece of pasta perfectly. Note that an order of carbonara comes with Penne, automatically, as it is able to pick up the sauce better. On Wednesdays, every main course ordered comes with a complimentary apple.
Sukho Thai (Outside Wee Kim Wee)
This NEW cafe right beside EEE and WKW took over Spruce over the Summer break. We tried the Green Curry Chicken Rice ($5.50) which the service staff recommended. The dish boasts a generous portion of lean chicken, but the bubbling “curry” had too watery a consistency. I look forward to revisiting when they iron out the kinks.
The Sandwich Guys
Sometimes I find myself rushing to lectures, despite my best efforts to wake up early. If you’re in a rush, grab a sandwich from The Sandwich Guys. I love that their sandwiches are made to order. Think fillings such as Philly cheesesteak ($4.50), or Cajun Grilled Chicken ($4) sandwiched between warm comforting pillows. We recommend the BBQ Pulled Pork ($4) which features thin strips of pork marinated with BBQ sauce! You can add on $1.80 for a drink and a side of mashed potato or buttered corn.
If you craving something fancier, or celebrating a friend’s birthday, Pen&Inc is the place for you. While most of their mains are rather pricey for a student, they have DIY salads for less than $10. We tried the premium Tajima Wagyu Burger ($24++) which comprises a beef patty, a sesame brioche bun, Japanese Nato, Roma Tomato, pickled cucumber, 2 crispy onion rings, and a side of fries. The patty is of premium quality, and we love the extremely fresh vegetables and heavily-buttered brioche buns.
Ba Chor Mee
The longest queue in NIE ALWAYS stems from the Minced Meat Noodle Store. A bowl of Ba Chor Mee goes for just $2.50/$3.30! However, they run out of minced meat rather quickly so its best to arrive early. We were there at 1pm and they had already run out of minced meat, so we tried their fishball noodles ($2.50) instead. 3 bouncy and springy fishballs, a few slices of fish cake, and cabbage come in a bowl of soup. Dry mee pok noodles are served separately. The noodles do not get clumpy, and the chilli is sumptuous. (P.S. Ask for more!)
There’s definitely more food that we’ve missed out, like the Zhup Cai Beng from Canteen 10/11 and the DIY Salad from Koufu that sees endless queues during lunch hours. But we hope that this list is comprehensive enough for you to start your first few weeks of school right! If you have more good food to recommend, leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to check it out.
MissTamChiak.com made an anonymous visit and paid for its own meals at the stalls featured here.
Let’s build a food community that helps to update the food news in Singapore! Simply comment below if there’s any changes or additional info to the stalls listed above. We will verify and update from our side. Thanks in advance!