10 Dishes In NTU & NIE Canteens Worth Travelling Across Singapore To Ulu “Pulau” NTU For

Going to university is rather life-changing. You’ll learn how exciting hall life is and how uncaring lecturers can be, but most importantly, how most of the good food in Singapore is tucked away at these campuses.

Alumni coming back to visit may tell you that they miss uni life but really, they came back for the food. If you stay in the West, or happen to study in NTU, this ulu university campus actually has many hidden food gems.

Here’s my list of 10 dishes in NTU and NIE that’s worth travelling for.

—Canteen 1—

1. Japanese Fried Chicken Curry Rice

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At Menya Takashi in Canteen 1, the portions are generous. You don’t even need to ask the aunty to 加多一点汁 (add sauce/gravy) at this stall.

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Just look at the portions of the Japanese Fried Chicken Curry Rice ($5.00)! The curry was fragrant, it wasn’t overly gooey and it had a tinge of sweetness too.

I also liked that the chicken’s skin had a nice crunch and tasted a bit gingery. The meat, however, could be a little moister. For just $5, the serving was bordering on gigantic.

Menya Tenkashi: 21 Nanyang Circle, Hall of Residence 1, Canteen 1, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639778 | Opening Hours: 11am – 4.30pm, 5.30pm – 8.30pm (daily) | Facebook

—Canteen 2—

2. Xiao Long Bao

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Formally situated at Canteen 1, this Xiao Long Bao stall in Canteen 2 now is perpetually plagued by long queues. Their Xiao Long Bao ($4.30 for six) has got people from all over the campus making the trek to get a taste.

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Not only are they cheaper than most places selling xiao long baos, these dumplings are like little flavour bombs. Break the skin and slurp down its light and savoury broth, before popping the whole dumpling into your mouth.

Don’t listen to people telling you those six pieces are for sharing, you sure as hell know you can finish an entire basket or two on your own.

Xiao Long Bao: 35 Students Walk, Canteen 2, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639548 | Opening Hours: 7.00am – 9.00pm (Daily) 

3. Ayam Penyet

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Now, this Ayam Penyet stall is a real show-stopper. Tucked away in a corner of Canteen 2, you’ll notice the stall’s trademark long queue with people clutching their wallets and staring intently at the stall aunty.

They’re all dying to get the stall’s hot favourite: Ayam Penyet ($4.50). 

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The huge chicken thigh made me want to just grip onto it and rip a chunk of meat off like a savage. The chicken skin was crispy and had a nice blend of spices. Although the meat was well-marinated, it was still a little dry.

Also, there were deep-fried crumbs sprinkled generously all over the dish, and I simply couldn’t get enough of them. I do have to warn you: the chilli was incredibly potent.

Ayam Penyet: 35 Students Walk, Canteen 2, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639548 | Opening Hours: 7.00am – 9.00pm (Daily) 

4. Ice Cream Waffles

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If you just want a sweet snack to cool you down on hot days, try the Ice Cream Waffles ($2.50) in Canteen 2. The toasty waffle with three hearty ice cream scoops was more than enough to sate my sweet tooth.

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The size of it is pretty monstrous, so I recommend ditching the spoon. You should tackle the waffles like a champion, one bite at a time.

The waffle was pleasantly chunky and thick enough that it still retained its crispiness, even when the ice cream started melting. There’s really nowhere else you can find portions at these prices in Singapore.

Waffles: 35 Students Walk, Canteen 2, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639548 | Opening Hours: 7.00am – 9.00pm (Daily) 

5. Chicken Rice

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Right beside the Ayam Penyet stall, this contender sells chicken in a different form. Understandably, there aren’t many ways chicken rice could go wrong, but this Chicken Rice ($2.50) managed to get everything right. Even though it looked as though I requested to 加肉 (add meat), this was the usual portion size.

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The chunky slices of chicken were nicely steamed and tender. Also, the fragrant rice wasn’t too oily and had a slight gingery taste. Paired with the sweet sauce that was so generously poured over the entire dish, this might be a good enough reason for me to go back to school.

Chicken Rice: 35 Students Walk, Canteen 2, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639548 | Opening Hours: 7.00am – 9.00pm (Daily) 

6. Yong Tau Foo

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Now I tend to avoid eating yong tau foo whenever I’m looking for a full meal. They are usually pricey, with only morsels of ingredients.

At this Yong Tau Foo stall in canteen 2, you’ll have to order a minimum of six ingredients for your bowl of Yong Tau Foo ($4.00). Aside from some tofu, I picked a couple of greens and a fishball.

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It took some willpower to stop slurping down the milky pork soup, which was smooth with a prominent taste of Cai Po (Preserved Turnips). I would have gone back a dozen times over if the stall had free refills. I liked how the noodles were springy and firm. The broccoli was also soft, and the fishball actually tasted like it was made from real fish paste.

If you’re feeling a little down in the dumps with looming school projects and assignments, grab a hearty bowl for the perfect pick-me-up meal.

Yong Tau Foo: 35 Students Walk, Canteen 2, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639548 | Opening Hours: 7.00am – 9.00pm (Daily) 

—NIE Canteen—

7. Prawn Noodles

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If Yong Tau Foo was a pick-me-up meal, then this bowl of Prawn Noodles ($2.50) is fuel food. I went over to the Noodle stall in NIE after the lunch crowd to get this bowl of absolute goodness.

For $2.50, the portion is pretty generous. It came with five half slices of prawns and a good helping of beansprouts, in a bowl almost filled to the brim with noodles.

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The soup was what really got me hooked. It wasn’t overly briny and the well-balanced flavour was enhanced by the fragrance from the fried shallots. Though I felt that the prawns were a tad small, this was still an addictive bowl of prawn noodles.

Noodles: 1 Nanyang Walk, NIE Canteen, National Institute of Education, Singapore 637616 | Opening Hours: 7am – 6pm (Mon – Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun

8. Mushroom Minced Meat Noodles

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The same Noodle stall that serves up the excellent Prawn Noodles also sells amazing Mushroom Minced Meat Noodles ($2.50). It may not have won any official awards, but it sure has won a place in my heart.

This is the epitome of cheap and good food. My cousin actually once told me that this dish was the sole reason she studied hard to get into NIE.

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The ingredients covered the entire bowl, and the serving of minced meat was as generous as it was tasty. However, I feel that the noodles could use more vinegar as it lacked a tangy kick, but that can be easily remedied simply by asking for more vinegar.

Noodles: 1 Nanyang Walk, NIE Canteen, National Institute of Education, Singapore 637616 | Opening Hours: 7am – 6pm (Mon – Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun

—Canteen 14—

9. Bee Hoon Kway

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There’s really nothing quite like a nice steaming bowl of ban mian on a cold rainy day. Almost as though the heavens shared the same sentiments, it started to drizzle when I sat down with a bowl of Bee Hoon Kway ($2.80) from Big Harvest Noodle.

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Initially, I was afraid the noodles might be starchy like some ban mian I’ve tasted, but they were delightfully smooth and light. I enjoyed the peppery soup along with the noodles. The minced meat wasn’t overly salted and held quite a bit of flavour on its own.

Overall, the dish had a good balance of flavours, which made it a great comfort food.

Ban Mian Fish Stall: 34 Nanyang Crescent, NTU Hall 14, Canteen 14, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637634 | Opening Hours: 7am – 9.30pm (Daily)

—Canteen 16—

10. Tonkatsu Ramen

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It’s a real shame for such good food to be so far away from the general public. Tucked away in Canteen 16, this holy grail of a food stall serves up good and affordable ramen. The aroma from the pork broth made my mouth water even before I ordered a bowl.

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The Tonkatsu Ramen ($5.80) is deserving of high praises not only because of its taste, but also its sizeable portions. For $6, you’ll get four thick bamboo shoot slices and three to four slices of char shu pork belly, and an ajitama.

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The broth was rich with umami goodness, which went well with the al dente noodles. However, I felt that the ramen could use more broth, because I had to ration out how much I drank with every slurp.

Ramen: 50 Nanyang Walk, Hall of Residence 16, Canteen 16, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639929 | Opening Hours: 7am – 9pm (Daily)

“Eat, sleep, study, repeat” is a mantra that resonates well with most university students. Well, if you happen to study at NTU, the “eating” part of this cycle sure as hell makes uni life a little better.

Just know that even if your GPA starts to take a plunge, you can run to the waffle stall and aunty will serve you a fat slab of ice cream waffle with a smile to make your day better.

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